Updated: Jul 18, 2020
You must do the following:
Put yourself down from the pedestal.
Go into the industry, go into the market, and see people and consumers. Understand their REAL concerns, not your imagined ones.
Stop believing that being clever gives you a leg up in startup.
Knowledge is how things work. KNOWHOW is how to build things. Your knowledge is not worth anything - only knowhow is IP only knowhow is secrets. Knowhow has a price and can be bought and sold. The price of knowledge is at best hourly consulting or lecture fees, typically teacher's salary or second hand book price. On the internet such as wikipedia and youtube, they are free.
Academic world is far far removed from real impact. It is not the center of the world. It is the fringe.
Academic focus on open creative exploration of random ideas that sounds important. Like microfluidics or quantum computing. Real knowledge is in focused industry problems. You are just always "too early", "too bookie".
The world is made of "earthy" people - business people and less educated civilians. If you want impact, change THEIR lives. You must understand them, and you must be accepted by them.
People must create impact through products and real objects. If you don't build, you influence no one's lives. If you don't know how to build something yourself, you don't matter. You just matter in your own head.
People like professors and senior engineers must understand their weaknesses. This is never told because people "respect" you. Technical people has a strange set of logic that prevent them from moving ahead:
they think they have knowledge, and they are good.
they think the world would "welcome" something new, at least wouldn't mind it.
What they should know, is the following set of facts:
Knowledge is only what is needed to create knowhow.
Innovation is a business concept, not a scholar's game. It involves business concepts and technical elements.
Impact is made through products. Products are made in companies.
You can not "have an idea" and then "ask people for funding'.
There is no vacuum on earth and no vacuum in business. Never think you found an oasis by outsmarting people - an oasis is in a desert. You must convince people to build a road.
Everything costs - products, factory, quality, talent, profit are all very costly.
Every idea is good. Many of "other peoples' ideas" are even better.
"Solving a problem" that does not exist does not win a medal, and "solve a problem but no one cares about solving it" is more likely the case every time.
People don't want problems solved, they want needs met, and you must talk the language of value.
When people say "knowledge is power", they really don't know what they are talking about. What is considered Intellectual Property (IP) is know-how, not knowledge. A professor may know a lot of things in a shallow way, and a company CTO may know very little things but very very deep.
Knowledge is used to make knowhow - i.e. how to make and manufacture something of quality.
Technical knowledge is not building skill. Know-how is ideas baked in products, not knowledge or skills. A product is far from a merchandise. A merchandise may not be accepted. A company may not have profit, and a successful founder may not get rich.
People don't need anything. Extremely utility is value, and value is defined to a specific receiver, in a relationship already existing. So professors, innovation is business, and business is value and relations. Not technology and "things", whether gadgets or widgets or novel items.
Tech people are all the same. They think they are smart. They think they are better educated. They think if something they don't know, it must not exist.
New is often what you don't know already exist.
You don't know things that exist in other people's heads. You don't know what has failed before. You don't know what has not grown before. You don't know a company started three years ago and is now struggling to market what exactly you are thinking now.
Technology invention is not the only driving force for society. PESTEL is the driving force. Society and history has its own internal clock.
To impact society, you can not LEAD people, you must be accepted by people.
Brain and knowledge is only used to make know-how. Isolated, knowledge is common, low cost and hobby/curiosity. Unless what you know is embedded in products and amplified by PESTEL, you have no impact.
Technology is not the center of the world and the driving force of society. The society drives itself. Technologist merely responds ... whoever responds fast is credited as the 'inventor".
The right perspectives for engineers are:
the world is divided into many silos called industry and markets. Each 1 inch wide and 1 mile deep. There are many.
If you want to solve a problem, you need to gain the confidence and approval of the audience first. If you don't know who, then no one cares.
If you want people to buy something from you instead of looking, they need to get enjoyment or growth potentials from it.
Knowledge from books and early advances are low-value - high value knowledge is know-how and things no one will teach you. Lower yourself from pedestal.
The world does not need anything new.
An object or product is far from business. You need to provide utility, to the right group, access them, provide value and low price, and provide for yourself, and fend competitors.
No one buys anything easily. You must have quality, relation, trust. You must be able to provide scaling and specialization, and discounts.
Business is to make end customers and business both happy. Business is to prove your idea, with no one helping you (refer to point 3 above).
Investment will come after you spend money to show you can make money.