Great inventors engage in divergent or “wrong” thinking, which allows them to explore the full realm of possibilities for a solution - no matter how silly or far-fetched. They’re not necessarily concerned with the most logical solution, and certainly not with one that draws on “conventional wisdom.” As modern-day inventor Sir James Dyson puts it:
We’re taught to do things the right way. But if you want to discover something that other people haven’t, you need to do things the wrong way… When I was doing my vacuum cleaner, I started out trying a conventionally shaped cyclone, the kind you see in textbooks. But we couldn’t separate the carpet fluff and dog hairs and strands of cotton in those cyclones. It formed a ball inside the cleaner or shot out the exit and got into the motor. I tried all sorts of shapes. Nothing worked. So then I thought I’d try the wrong shape, the opposite of conical. And it worked.
“Innovation inbreeding is when innovation efforts are consistently led by the same group of people who have lived their life within the company.”—Over at the Harvard Business Review, they’re explaining how innovation can suffer from the same problems as — wait for it! — elephant breeding. (via nasdaq)
“Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It’s not about money. It’s about the people you have, how you’re led, and how much you get it.”—Steve Jobs (1955 - 2011)
"What makes a person brave—or deluded—enough to think he or she can change the world? We’ll show you in new video episodes debuting every Tuesday on Co.Exist that follow the men and women at the Colorado social entrepreneurship incubator as they tackle the biggest challenges of their lives."
“Innovation doesn’t just happen at your desk. It happens in the weirdest places and times. You get ideas through watching the world, and through relationships. You get ideas from looking down the road. You have to be available to adapt on the fly. In real innovation, being comfortable isn’t good. I don’t want to be comfortable. I always want to be on edge, because that edge gives you energy and excitement. What’s new? What’s next? That’s how you stay ahead.”—
Terry Tietzen, founder and C.E.O. of Edatanetworks
“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying ‘no’ to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying ‘no’ to 1000 things.”—
Worth the click-through: The BBC takes a look at how Japanese technology companies are innovating in response to last year’s earthquake and tsunami. Smartphone covers are doing double-duty as radiation detectors, and personal wind turbines are hitting the market — all with the goal of helping individuals respond quicker to future disasters.