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How to Tap Into Innovation, the Most Essential Part of Your Entrepreneurial Journey As entrepreneurs, we have a vital role in the future of the world. Without innovation, humanity won't evolve.

By Donald Owens Edited by Amanda Breen

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

To be a successful entrepreneur, you have to be skilled in many different areas. You have to be a forward thinker, a problem solver and a strong leader. If I ask you to list all the different skills that make up a thriving entrepreneur, would a skilled innovator be at the top of your list?

I consider myself an accidental innovator. I never set out to discover the solution to climate change. I was simply wanting to find a way to help my car get better gas mileage. When I set out to solve a small problem, I had no idea that it was going to grow and change into something that would benefit all of humanity. Once I started down the path of discovering the solution to climate change, innovations continued to take shape. By that one simple step, I have established a company that is now attracting investors, shareholders and growing more than I could have ever imagined.

To truly understand the pivotal role that innovation plays, it's vital to define what innovation is to an entrepreneur. Innovation is the creation or the development of an idea that is useful for humanity, but it can sometimes come out of nowhere. In fact, many innovations happened because people were in the right place, at the right time, and they refused to give up when they were faced with obstacles. Isaac Newton developed his theory of gravity by watching an apple fall. Thomas Edison tested thousands of prototypes of the lightbulb before he discovered one that would work the way he desired. What Newton and Edison have in common with entrepreneurs like you and myself is the unfailing desire to reach a solution that will better humanity as a whole.

Related: The Power of Innovation

So how do you innovate?

Set yourself apart

The way that we build our business and our brands is by setting ourselves apart from the masses. Innovation is simply deciding that you're going to do something different and that you're willing to be flexible throughout the process. You want to build a business that is thriving, attracting investors and attention. You have to find your niche. Do something that no one else is doing. Be willing to go to the edge, where others have given up, and then keep going.

Innovation is a journey

Start with an objective, but be prepared when it begins to change directions. You simply cannot dream of where your business and your vision will take you in the next five, 10 or 20 years. Things will change. Values will change. You will have periods of immense growth and times that are slow. The key in all of this is to expect the unexpected. When something unexpected happens, reevaluate, reinvent, change directions and look for new opportunities. There will be unexpected twists and turns in your journey. More than likely, you will end up somewhere you didn't envision from the start, but it will be so much better than what you could have imagined.

Embrace the growth

Your innovation is an ongoing, dynamic process. It's constantly growing and expanding. You are looking for ways to improve upon the original ideal while also leaving room for what will come from that. Any innovation that you have will create new innovations. And those innovations will bring new opportunities to you. This could be a new business model, new investors to work with or even the opportunity to become a leading expert in your field.

Related: Starting a Business? Here's How Innovation Will Take You Ahead

Don't go it alone

You cannot succeed alone. Innovation attracts like-minded people who are there to help bring your innovation to life. There are geniuses in the same field all around you, and they will be attracted to your vision. When you start telling people about what you are working on, they will have ways to improve and expand upon it. Sometimes these people need your vision to complete a challenging puzzle they have been working on themselves. It is vital that you utilize the people that are put in your path to help your innovation grow into what it's meant to be.

You will attract what you need

Innovation (and the universe) is built around the laws of attraction. The way that the sun corresponds with the planets and the galaxies are all based around the idea of attraction. As an entrepreneur, you're on your own journey and, in essence, you are the center of your own universe. When you're committed to serving humanity, your industry and the earth itself, you will find that you're attracting the right things at exactly the right time. You will find the people that you need to complete your vision, and most of the time, the universe hands them to you on a silver platter. You just have to recognize them when they show up. This is where innovation is born.

As entrepreneurs, we have a vital role in the future of the world. If entrepreneurs don't innovate, then humanity won't evolve. If the lightbulb hadn't come about, we would still be in the dark. If I hadn't gone on a quest for better gas mileage, I would have never known that there could be a solution to climate change. Every single innovation, project and business that we start is moving humanity forward. You are helping us make strides in technology, systems and software that will literally change the world as we know it. The innovating entrepreneurs that have gone before us have created so many wonderful things that have made our lives so much more effective and efficient. Now it is up to us to continue on our individual journeys. There is nothing more significant we could be doing than improving humanity and the earth for all of mankind.

Related: 4 Ways Market Leaders Use Innovation to Foster Business Growth

Donald Owens

author of Burn Fuel Better

Don Owens, founder and CEO of HNO Green Fuels, has dedicated the last decade to creating a customized, scalable solution that cuts black-carbon-particulate-matter creation by half within existing fossil-fuel-burning engines.

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