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Innovation is a road, not a shortcut

I spent the entire last week at WebSummit, probably one of the largest (if not the largest) innovation events in the world, which landed outside of Europe for the first time. The event took place at the Riocentro, the same venue as the Rio de Janeiro Book Fairs. I was immersed for 3 days in an environment where the future was discussed, where we're headed, AI, ChatGPT, and so on... but where innovation and everything surrounding that topic were also heavily discussed.

A few things were very interesting, like Airbnb stating that building community and humanizing hosts are becoming increasingly important, or the discussion with the Editor-in-Chief of Wired asking ChatGPT live if it would end journalism (according to him, it won't).

But what caught and continues to catch my attention in these innovation and startup events is that in my mind, there are two clear groups of people and professionals: those who think they're running a 100-meter sprint and those who understand they're in a marathon. Let me explain!

I believe that for my generation, almost 40 years old, startups and their star-studded CEOs are our rock stars. Silicon Valley was our utopia for many years, and founding a startup that becomes a unicorn was and still is the dream of many of my contemporaries. So, in my view, there's a group that, inspired by a few million (or billion) dollar startup success stories, sees this path as a 100-meter sprint, a shortcut to becoming a millionaire, celebrated, and the new "entrepreneurial guru CEO founder" in the market. I see no problem with ambition, but I think innovation isn't that... to me, it seems like a mistaken perception of what technology serves as a bridge. I'd love that "lottery-winning" shortcut, but I don't believe it exists for 99% of startups. I don't see that path.

On the other hand, the second group includes people with whom I identify the most – those who believe that innovation is a journey, a marathon, almost a worldview. It's something that requires consistency, direction, and focus. You don't build a solid and recognizably innovative company (with very rare exceptions) without dedicating time and energy.

What does this have to do with content? Everything.

Firstly, because content today is an almost inexhaustible source of references for what to do and what not to do (which is sometimes even more useful).

Secondly, because when we work with content and want to incorporate innovation, we're talking about a journey of trial and error, experimentation, and reassessment. Innovating in content means testing formats, testing models, testing stories. It's far from something that happens overnight and changes everything!

Innovation isn't a spark of creativity that appears out of nowhere... innovation is consistency, it's a repertoire, it's about continuously executing and proving oneself. If you want your business, your content, and your stories to be seen as innovative, this must be lived day by day, as a permanent state of mind.

Innovating in content is running a marathon, because only with consistency and time can you build stories that last forever.


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