Last week we addressed some of the barriers that exist in innovation. Some of them we create for ourselves. But what about the barriers we create for others? Do we inspire innovation in others, or do we quash innovative thoughts and ideas?

Edison was a master at inspiring others to pursue their dreams and create new innovations. One of the best examples of this is Henry Ford. Ford worked for one of Edison’s companies in Detroit, Michigan. On a trip back to a convention in New York, Ford was introduced to Edison and explained his idea for a gasoline powered car. At this time Edison was working on an electric automobile. Ford drew out what he had in mind.  Edison was very interested.  He encouraged Ford, saying, “Keep at it.” Henry Ford went back to Detroit and told his wife that she would not see much of him for the next year. What happen with Ford over the next few years changed history and created the automobile industry as we know it.

I ran into a report this week on CNN on a new type of car that can drive itself. I thought it was a crazy idea; nobody is ever going to give control of a vehicle to a computer. Then I thought, what would I say if someone brought this idea to me? Would I tell them this is a crazy idea and I wouldn’t ever buy one?  I hope not. I hope that I would tell them that the idea has merit but it needs work, “Keep at it.”