It took a man just 150 helium balloons and lawn chair to become an instant sensation. The man I’m speaking about is Kent Couch, who pulled together the makeshift airship in an attempt to go from Bend, Oregon to Idaho.
(AP Photo/Jeff Barnard)
On the surface, this may seem like hardly the right imagery to describe using social media for innovation, but in a way its not.
Couch is an adventurer, and willing to suspend conventional thought to try something a bit off the wall. At its essence, those are the qualities that get us all looking at the world with less routine and dreaming big.
Now, this may sound crazy, but think of Couch’s idea and how there may be parallels to your business – its marketing initiatives or product development. What did Couch do to get his balloon-lawn-chair to take off?
Well, we can speculate that he had the desire to do something different, and thought up the idea to travel by balloon in his lawn chair. Next, he probably evaluated how many balloons it would take to get him airborne, based on his weight and the weight of the chair, etc. After that, he figured out what was realistic in terms of how far he should expect to go with the craft he built. Finally, he set out to build, test, and launch his idea.
All in all, a pretty familiar process to many of us, right?
In fact, Couch is said to be equipped with a BB gun and a blowgun to pop balloons should his altitude get too high and 15 barrels of cherry Kool-Aid to release if he gets too low to the ground. So, for fun, we can round off this example and say that both those things, the BB gun and the Kool-Aid, represent customer response – designed to bring him down to earth when things get out of hand and to give him a boost of steam upward with ideas fueling innovation and growth.
When it comes to developing innovative uses of social media, we all need to think a little bit differently to solve conventional challenges. Social media is all about connection and communication with other people. The growth of social networks, interactive platforms, and technology that links people together has been phenomenal, and continues to move at a fast pace. This means there are no bad ideas, or unworthy experiments, because what seemed to be impractical or impossible one day could be the opposite tomorrow.