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Chris Griffiths is the Wales-based founder and CEO of OpenGenius, the company behind the iMindMap and DropTask brands, and one of the most popular speakers at Digital Tuesday.
Having started his first business at 16, sold his first company at 25 and with more than 28 years of experience in setting up and leading successful Welsh businesses, we asked him to share his tips for generating creative ideas and launching them in to the market.

 

Create the right environment for continuous innovation

You can’t simply have one breakthrough idea and ride on it for the rest of your career. Human nature is the most innovative thing in this world – it’s always changing, and therefore it’s the companies that can successfully reinvent themselves regularly that will stick around. For innovation to happen constantly, it’s important to set up the right environment for it to foster. For example my most recent project, Tec Marina, a creative tech hub that houses my companies, OpenGenius and Think Productivity, was created to provide a space where companies can daydream and allow their ideas to incubate.

Don’t be afraid to fail

I failed my computer science exam at school. However, I always loved computers, so I went on to start my own computer software business. According to the educational system, I couldn’t do it, but I went on and developed a computer game that sold numerous copies. This still happens today – children are being told that they shouldn’t make mistakes and that wrong answers are bad. My advice is, ignore the doubters. If you love something, stick at it, and if you fail then so be it. You will learn more from your failures than you ever will your successes.

Always take risks

It’s common for businesses to make decisions based on past events, because it’s easier to look backwards and analyse things than to look into the unknown. The issue is, if you’re always looking backwards you’re bound to hit something hard eventually. A previous company of mine suffered a decline over a seven year period. We needed something new for it to have any chance of surviving. I approached the company’s board members with a risky, bold idea that was immediately shot down. I realised that the company couldn’t improve its situation if that’s how it continued to operate, which solidified my decision to leave.

Don’t worry about being a first mover

It’s a popular misconception that to establish ourselves as a leader in a particular field, we must be the first to enter that field. Many successful companies have proven that this concept may be more myth than reality. Did you know that the first online search engines were established by Alta Vista, Overture and Yahoo? However, they have all been dramatically eclipsed by the omnipresent Google. Like Google and many others have shown, the product can already be out there. It’s much more effective to look at what already exists, adapt it and make it better.

Chris will speak on a number of subjects at Digital 2015 at The Celtic Manor on June 8 and 9. To secure your free tickets, please visit www.digital2015.co.uk.