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I spend a lot of time on a sailboat so I’ve seen my share of sunsets. Glorious sunsets. Average sunsets. Lots of sunsets. It occurred to me recently that innovation is a lot like a sunset.

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1. Sunsets can surprise you.
You know the sunset is coming but you never know how it will appear until it happens. You have to always be on the lookout for innovation.

2. Sunsets appear and then they are gone.
If you aren’t paying attention, you’ll miss the insight that leads to innovation.

3. Sunsets can be average. They can be spectacular.
Innovation is not always earth shattering. Small innovations can be valuable, too.

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4. No two sunsets are alike.
Save all your innovation ideas. Compare and contrast them. Build upon them.

5. Sometimes the best view is behind you.

Often the view 180 degrees away from the sunset is even better than the sunset itself. Look for innovation in non-traditional places. Be prepared to be surprised.

6. Sometimes a sunset can distract and take you off course.
A flashy idea can sometimes obscure an even better idea or solution. Don’t let a pretty or easy idea distract you from your primary problem.

7. Sunsets are a lot like sunrises. Just different.
Sunsets mark the end of the day. Sunrises mark the beginning. Some innovations solve problems. Some cause problems. Make sure your innovation fits your overall vision and mission and adds value to your offering.

Innovation opportunities exist in every business, in every product or service. If you look for it, you will find it and you’ll have something to market that will really matter to your customers. When you market innovation, it’s like a beautiful sunset. Everyone that sees it likes it and wants more of it.

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