There is an old saying in the acting world: "There are no small parts, only small players." The same could be said for people who want to be inventors and innovators. Many can only think about big scale ideas that completely upend the status quo and cannot be bothered to consider the little inventions and ideas that actually are the workhorse of modern technology. Allow me to cite a perfect example of a big innovator seeing a small part and making a difference.
Several years ago - long before Apple TV, Hulu or the Amazon Fire Stick - a friend of mine was experimenting with the various first generation programs for watching television through his computer. He traveled a lot for work and wanted to be able to have some of the comforts of home even if he was halfway around the world. He found one program that worked the best, and mostly enjoyed it, but saw a couple of ways that he thought it could be improved in the future. So he sat down and wrote an email to the president of the company explaining what they were.
Now, it helps obviously that in this case, my friend worked in the computer industry and through three or four degrees of separation, knew the president of the company. Still, he was not counting on that or any recognition, but six weeks later, he got an awfully nice check in the mail and credit when the next version of the software was released. He could have just overlooked his perceived faults of this system and kept focusing on other things, but he saw a way to make something good just a little bit better.
No matter how many profiles people like on Linkedin, most of us are not going to have that kind of connection to someone who can help take an innovation to the next level. Most people will create their invention and try what they can to help get people aware of it. Just because they do not have that connection, however, does not mean that nobody else does. The perfect solution for every young start-up is a start-up company designed to bring together the people with the ideas and the people with the means.
Those companies and individuals who work successfully in the world of technology know that many of the greatest innovations have two major things in common. The first is that they seem small, and most people outside the industry would not recognize the potential. The second is that they are coming from people outside the traditional avenues of previous generations. Inventors are and can be anywhere. A teenager in Texas, a mom in Milwaukee, a retiree in Raleigh... they may have the next big thing, even if it is something small.
Jack Terry writes about trending technological developments in the 21st century while still trying to wire his Atari 2600 into his smart TV. http://www.thejumpstarters.com