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A superpower combines what you love to do and what you are good at or even unique at. If it also involves something you get paid for and what the world needs, we call it Ikigai. But why is superpower so important, especially in the context of innovation?

Not invented here

In the world of startups, scaleups, and even larger companies, there’s a common trend-the desire to develop everything in-house. Imagine a scenario where a brilliant, technically sound idea has been validated by potential customers. The journey of development begins! Let’s consider the example of a robot designed for greenhouse farming.

This robot must perform the action it was made for, let’s say, picking tomatoes. This requires a gripper, and the robot must be able to recognize ripe tomatoes. You can break That last skill into part vision technology (cameras) and AI models. But then, you’re not there yet! The system also needs to go into the greenhouse on a moving chassis. You also need to collect data; a cloud platform can be easily created. Of course, you also want to present the whole thing neatly to the customer, so a dashboard with a sleek user interface is indispensable.

Before you know it, you’re not working on one product or service but a dozen or so. The focus disappears, and the money flies out faster than it comes in. Alright, back to that superpower. In a business context, this is about something you will always do yourself and never outsource. It is this knowledge or skill that makes you unique as a company.


It is essential to focus on what makes you unique: your “superpower.”


Take Steve Jobs of Apple or Elon Musk of Tesla, for example. Both excelled by not only having their vision clear but, more importantly, by their unwavering focus to focus at the outset on a small number of breakthrough innovations that made a real difference. This focus enabled them to create products that were not only new but also wholly transformed markets.

On the other hand, we see companies trying to be everything to everyone. This often leads to mediocrity because they dilute their core expertise. A broad approach may spread the risk but also reduce the opportunity to excel at something. Focusing on your superpower means daring to let go of everything else and rely on others for the aspects outside your expertise. This is more efficient and makes you a stronger and more competitive player in your field.

What are you good at?

Specialization is a powerful driver of innovation. By diving deep into a specific area, professionals and companies develop a depth of knowledge that sets them apart from competitors. The concept of “going deep rather than wide” allows one to come up with unique, unattainable solutions. Deep expertise allows one to unravel complex problems and develop solutions that add value to a product or service. Technological solutions are becoming increasingly complex, and for the best end product, you need multiple specialists instead of companies that just add everything themselves.

Take the Dutch company Lely, which specializes in the development of milking robots. Lely has focused entirely on automating daily processes on dairy farms. Their focus was originally on the Astronaut, a robot that can independently milk cows without human intervention. This specialization has allowed Lely to integrate advanced technologies, such as sensor technology that monitors cow health during milking. This has not only increased efficiency on the farm but also improved animal welfare.

This focus on a specific niche within the agricultural sector has given Lely a leading position in the market. With this, they have achieved a control point position worldwide. Their in-depth knowledge of robotics has enabled them to continuously innovate and further develop their products; in recent years, they have also further down the chain, such as autonomous mowing of grass brought directly to the cows in the barn.


When you are not doing everything yourself, it is important to work on building good collaboration. When you focus on your superpowers and collaborate with others with complementary skills, you can achieve a much more powerful result. For example, in our scenario with the greenhouse robot, the company may partner with AI and machine learning specialists to develop the most efficient algorithms for recognizing ripe tomatoes and focus primarily on the mechatronics or autonomous platform.

Such a partnership can accelerate innovation, improve the quality of the final product, and save costs and development time. This highlights the importance of focusing on your core competencies and relying on outside expertise for other aspects.


Finding and nurturing your superpower can be the key to success in innovation and your personal life. By focusing on what you are really good at, you create value and set yourself apart from the crowd. This focus, combined with the power of specialization and strategic collaboration with others, enables you to achieve remarkable results and sustainable success in your career or business.

So, what is your superpower as a company or person?