How to Be an Innovator: Discover James Cameron’s 5 Innovation Tips

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    After years of many revolutions, especially those related to technology, it is common for people to wonder if it is still possible to be innovative these days. About 20 years ago, it would have been impossible for us to work from home during a pandemic or even make a video call to a distant friend. However, we are only at the beginning; there are always many ways to go and innovation must be constant.

    This was the main topic of the session with James Cameron, filmmaker and screenwriter of several successful films, such as Titanic, Avatar and Terminator, at Oracle Fest 2022, a festival of technology and innovation that brought together thousands of people virtually.

    During the conversation, James passed on 5 valuable tips on how to be more innovative in our lives and in our careers, which are detailed below:

    1 Be prepared for opportunities

    James Cameron mentions the importance of self-knowledge and being prepared to take advantage of the many opportunities that life will give you. He believes that if you are not prepared, you will certainly hesitate when the opportunity comes.

    He argues that in order to take advantage of new opportunities, you need to balance being careful and not being afraid at all. You need to analyze the situation well and, as soon as you see the problem, fix it. It would not be right to keep thinking about everything that could go wrong forever, but it is also not fair to you if you jump into something you do not know very well, in the director’s opinion.

    James explains that, applied to the corporate area, people will not always be willing to listen calmly to a new idea, for that, it is necessary to balance between being patient and impatient. Be patient to respect the timing of things, but always be ready to fix the problem and move on.

    2 If it is easy, that is because you are not innovating

    Problems are common and necessary. There is no way to predict all the problems that will come in any situation, especially in technology. The filmmaker defends the idea that if you have the answer to everything, or if it is easy, it is because you are not innovating. From the moment you find yourself without an answer and having trouble moving forward; that is, when you are sure that you are going to a place that no one has gone before.

    “We had a problem that no one knew how to solve in the middle of a production day on Avatar. I asked everyone to sit down and told them that this was proof that we were doing something great, so they would not give up and discredit the project. It is in the difficulties that we realize that we are going too far, since no one has encountered this problem before and there will be no manual to guide us where no one has ever gone, to give us the answer. He said the answer would occur to them that day, not later. And that’s exactly what happened,” he explained.

    3 Do not wait for everything to be ready to start; fill in the missing spaces

    James explains that in making his films, he never had all the answers to start the project. For example, the movie Avatar required a lot of innovation, but the technologies that existed were not enough to produce the complete idea. It was 10 years before James could see the tools that could be used to make this movie a success. But, the secret was that he did not wait until he had all the tools ready to start; he waited until he had enough to build the rest, with the project underway. And with a small team, challenging them to cross the threshold of what was already discovered, that is how he managed to innovate and create this global blockbuster. For him, when you want to innovate, you do not have to invent a wheel each time, but take projects that are already advancing and go further.

    4 Use technologies to your advantage

    As it is a complex and innovative project, mainly in the creation of creatures and humanoids using the performance of real people, James says that he let technology guide his creative process to develop Avatar, but that does not usually happen, since he always creates his projects in a cycle, in which imagination feeds technology and vice versa.

    5 People are the main instrument for innovation and technology

    Technology is nothing without people, since it has to be just a tool for everyone to interact. For this reason, knowing how to communicate and manage the good and the small is the principle for generating good ideas; that is, bringing together good people to think of the same goal. For example, we are facing global warming, which is not something isolated. That is not going to be solved alone, or in a single country; it is necessary to work together, create connections and overcome distances.
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