I have a profound appreciation for the great innovators past and present. And I love to learn and hear stories of innovation all the time. To me, innovation is about progress and progress is the act of being ushered into a bright future full of hope and potential. It is an inspiring process and one that leads to new frontiers in human thought, productivity and capability. An innovator is someone who solves the problems of today in order to unlock the possibilities of tomorrow. While famous innovators such as Thomas Edison, Steve Jobs and Elon Musk get a lot of the attention when it comes to innovation, the truth is that there are many more innovators in the background and from a certain point of view, everyone in the human family is an innovator simply when we solve a challenging problem. For today I wanted to share with you some of the most inspiring, useful or intriguing quotes on innovation that I have come across. Some are from those who have passed on and some are from those who are still innovating each and every day whether as actual marketers, researchers and engineers or as thought leaders who provide clarity to the often messy and occasionally random work of innovation. Enjoy!
1. Anthony Ulwick on Jobs to Be Done
In the outcome-driven paradigm the focus is not on the customer, it is on the job: the job is the unit of analysis. When companies focus on helping the customer get a job done faster, more conveniently, and less expensively than before, they are more likely to create products and services that the customer wants. Only after a company chooses to focus on the job, not the customer, are they capable of reliably creating customer value
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2. Clayton Christensen on The Innovator’s Dilemma
First, disruptive products are simpler and cheaper; they generally promise lower margins, not greater profits. Second, disruptive technologies typically are first commercialized in emerging or insignificant markets. And third, leading firms’ most profitable customers generally don’t want, and indeed initially can’t use, products based on disruptive technologies
3. Steve Jobs on Creativity
Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people.
4. Steve Jobs on Beginners Mind
There’s a phrase in Buddhism, ‘Beginner’s mind.’ It’s wonderful to have a beginner’s mind.
5. Steve Jobs on Exploring Things
When a good idea comes, part of my job is to move it around, just see what different people think, get people talking about it, argue with people about it, get ideas moving…get different people together to explore different aspects of it quietly, and, you know – just explore things.
6. Steve Jobs on Putting A Dent in the Universe
We’re here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise why else even be here?
7. Scott Berkun on Exploration
The dirty little secret—the fact often denied—is that unlike the mythical epiphany, real creation is sloppy. Discovery is messy; exploration is dangerous. No one knows what he’s going to get when he’s being creative. Filmmakers, painters, inventors, and entrepreneurs describe their work as a search: they explore the unknown hoping to find new things worth bringing to the world. And just like with other kinds of explorers, their search for ideas demands risk: much of what’s found won’t be satisfactory. Therefore, creative work cannot fit neatly into plans, budgets, and schedules. Magellan, Lewis and Clark, and Captain Kirk were all sent on missions into the unknown with clear understanding that they even return at all.
8. Charles Willie on “Go and do likewise”
By idolizing those whom we honor, we do a disservice both to them and to ourselves…we fail to recognize that we could go and do likewise.
9. Charles Darwin on Adapting to Change
It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.
10. Isaac Asimov on “That’s funny.”
The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds the most discoveries, is not ‘Eureka! I found it!’ but ‘that’s funny’.
11. Nicollo Machiavelli on Reformers
There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. For the reformer has enemies in all those who profit by the old order, and only lukewarm defenders in all those who would profit by the new order, this lukewarmness arising partly from fear of their adversaries…and partly from the incredulity of mankind, who do not truly believe in anything new until they have had actual experience of it.
12. Eric Ries on Learning Fast
The only way to win is to learn faster than anyone else.
13. Ben Thompson on “Obsoletive”
An even cursory examination of tech history makes it clear that “obsoletion” – where a cheaper, single-purpose product is replaced by a more expensive, general purpose product – is just as common as “disruption” – even more so, in fact.
14. Braden Kelley on Creativity and Innovation
Creativity is an input to innovation and change is the output from innovation.
15. Phil Mckinney on Execution
When it comes to innovation, an ounce of execution is worth more than a ton of theory.
16. Ash Maurya on Building
Life’s too short to build something nobody wants.
17. Stephen Shapiro on Expertise
Expertise is the enemy of innovation.
18. Paul Williams on Why and How
To help make an idea great, it has got to have a “why” attached to it (the justification) and a “how” to make it possible (the logistics).
19. Gabor George Burt on Meaningful Innovation
Meaningful innovation does not need to be based on outright invention. Rather, there is an exhilarating shortcut. It is based on bold, new combinations of already existing components that simultaneously unlock heightened levels of consumer value and reduce costs.
20. Mitch Ditkoff on Assumptions
One of the biggest obstacles to creativity is the assumption-making part of our brain — the part that is forever drawing lines in the sand — the part that is ruled by the past. Most people are not aware of the assumptions they have — in the same way that most drivers are not aware of the blind spot in their mirror.
21. Peter Drucker on Doing Something New
If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old
22. Peter Drucker on Creating Wealth
Innovation is the specific instrument of entrepreneurship…the act that endows resources with a new capacity to create wealth.
23. Thomas Edison on Genius
Genius is one percent inspiration, and ninety-nine percent perspiration.
24. Theodore Levitt on Doing New Things
Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is doing new things.
25. Thomas Watson on Failure Rate
The way to succeed is to double your failure rate.