Sunday, June 24, 2007

Curious about Innovation: How Do We Achieve, Use and Benefit from It? How Important Is It to You?

The five essential entrepreneurial skills for success are concentration, discrimination, organization, innovation and communication.” - Michael Faraday, English scientist

Business has only two functions - marketing and innovation.” - Milan Kundera, Czechoslovakian writer

I can honestly state that every book, article and recording I have read and/or heard has suggested that to become successful, we must innovate. And then, we must take action on our innovation and innovative ideas.

This was all brought to the forefront this past week when I watched a super video presentation by Guy Kawasaki, called “The Art of Innovation.” Given at the 2007 Event Marketing Conference, the presentation covered ten important and necessary qualities for innovation to succeed. You can view the video at and read Kawasaki’s thoughts on his blog, which you will find here.

Of course, I was interested to find out what other experts have to say about innovation, and know you will be interested too:
  • Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” - Steve Jobs, American businessman“
  • An innovation is one of those things that society looks at and says, if we make this part of the way we live and work, it will change the way we live and work.” - Dean Kamen, American inventor“
  • Microsoft is not about greed. It's about innovation and fairness.” - Bill Gates, American businessman
  • But an innovation, to grow organically from within, has to be based on an intact tradition, so our idea is to bring together musicians who represent all these traditions, in workshops, festivals, and concerts, to see how we can connect with each other in music.” - Yo-Yo Ma, American musician
  • Innovation is the central issue in economic prosperity.” - Michael Porter, American educator
  • Innovation is the specific instrument of entrepreneurship. The act that endows resources with a new capacity to create wealth.” - Peter Drucker, American businessman

But, then there are some other considerations about innovation and its adoption:

  • Innovation is this amazing intersection between someone's imagination and the reality in which they live. The problem is, many companies don't have great imagination, but their view of reality tells them that it's impossible to do what they imagine.” - Ron Johnson, Canadian politician
  • Modern science is fast-moving, and no laboratory can exist for long with a program based on old facilities. Innovation and renewal are required to keep a laboratory on the frontiers of science.” - Burton Richter, American scientist
  • Nothing is more dangerous than a dogmatic worldview - nothing more constraining, more blinding to innovation, more destructive of openness to novelty.” - Stephen Jay Gould, American scientist
  • So many cartoonists draw the same year after year. When they find a style, they stick with it. They don't mess with innovation, and they become boring.” - Pat Oliphant, Australian cartoonist
  • Mindless habitual behavior is the enemy of innovation.” - Rosabeth Moss Kanter, American businesswoman

Do you innovate? How about acting upon those compelling innovative ideas? I can’t begin to tell you about all of the examples I have accumulated of people getting great ideas, putting them on the back burner, and then later seeing their ideas being used and sold. I know that I have done the same thing, too.

So here are some quotations for you to think on and act upon this coming week:

  • You have all the reason in the world to achieve your grandest dreams. Imagination plus innovation equals realization.” - Denis Waitley, American writer
  • We can believe that we know where the world should go. But unless we're in touch with our customers, our model of the world can diverge from reality. There's no substitute for innovation, of course, but innovation is no substitute for being in touch, either.” - Steve Ballmer, American businessman
  • Without tradition, art is a flock of sheep without a shepherd. Without innovation, it is a corpse.” - Winston Churchill, English statesman

Have a productively innovative week. And, do let me know how it goes.