Setting Your Sights On The Impossible13 February, 2015 / Articles
Don’t tell Elliot Kotek something is impossible. The content chief and co-founder of Not Impossible Now has made a career out of making the word “impossible” obsolete. Not Impossible has bundled the talent of cutting-edge makers — those technologically savvy creatives and engineers known for their DIY innovations — with the power of corporate marketing dollars to create products that not long ago lived only in people’s imaginations, including a 3D printer that produces prosthetic arms for children in Sudan and a contraption that allows people with ALS to draw using only their minds.
“The whole concept of possibility and impossibility is, we think, artificial,” said Kotek. “Something is only impossible now. For example, home Internet access — let alone mobile access — would have been considered impossible 25 years ago. Time and innovation changed everything.”
Kotek and his team specialize in the impossible because they have a passion for it — and because pulling off the impossible to make the world a better place is a compelling narrative for brands to associate with. Intel, for example, was a sponsor of the prosthetic arms project; in exchange for the chip giant’s support, Not Impossible created video content about Intel’s INTC -0.53% involvement.
Dreaming big—or dreaming the impossible— is the name of the game in business. Being successful often means pushing the envelope further than anyone imagined it could go.
Kotek and his partner started working on achieving the impossible because they were compelled to do good in the world, but the quest became their for-profit business (in addition to operating a non-profit arm of Not Impossible). This has brought a variety of rewards, including five Cannes Lions awards and prizes from the Association of Independent Commercial Producers. Further, marketers started calling, wanting in on the company’s projects. That’s because being associated with pulling off the impossible is simply good for business — which is good for Not Impossible.
Enabling the Impossible
Whether it’s funding a life-saving project or reaching seemingly unreachable internal business goals, Kotek says, achieving the impossible begins with a refusal to believe in the concept of impossibility. For example, someone at one point in time decided that the 4-minute-mile record could be broken, and that Mt. Everest could be climbed.
“It’s just a mental stigma for the moment,” he says. “Oftentimes we’ll see that once one person breaks a record, everybody breaks it. It’s like people were waiting to see that it was possible.”
Indeed, where there’s a will, there’s a way—a pathway that today’s technology is making smoother.
“You just need the will to innovate,” Kotek says. No longer are the tools needed to do great things limited to huge corporations. Technology allows anyone to have greater access to innovation, he adds.
In addition to believing an impossible goal is possible and having the desire to innovate, Kotek and the Not Impossible team have found that being open-minded to new ideas and saying yes to projects they were unsure of opened up possibilities and helped their company and projects to grow.
Following Not Impossible’s example, businesses can learn to achieve things they might never have believed were possible. Knowing that pulling off what seems impossible can benefit business—and that doing it begins with a mindset change, a willingness to innovate and open-mindedness—doing the impossible doesn’t sound so improbable anymore.