As we spend time studying the great innovators, we learn that they have a great passion for what they innovate. This passion comes from enjoying what they do. Some may enjoy the industry or the product.  Edison enjoyed creating and inventing. He observed that, “The exercise I get is from standing and walking all day from one laboratory table to another. I derive more benefit and entertainment from this than some of my friends and competitors get from playing games like golf.” Some people like to golf for enjoyment, Edison invented for recreation.

Edison also provided an enjoyable work environment. Even though his muckers* worked long hours, they had an organ for singing and even at one time a pet bear.  (I suppose the modern equivalent would be employers like Google that provide ping pong tables or other entertaining diversions for their employees.)

How does this apply to innovation? Simple, we need to take steps to make sure we enjoy what we are doing and that our team enjoys what they are doing. This does not mean that there is not stress; most innovators worked under tremendous stress and faced difficult obstacles.  May I suggest three ways we can improve the enjoyment of our work and, as a result, increase our successes:

  1. Remove Unnecessary Processes and Burdensome Bureaucracy.  Many people enjoy what they are doing, but when do you hear, “I really enjoy the paperwork.”
  2. Focus on the Change. Innovators enjoy improving products or processes. If we focus on doing work we enjoy, good results will happen.
  3. Take a Break, as an individual or as a team. When Edison and his team would take a break, they sang songs or had other diversions.

There are many ways to find more enjoyment as we work and innovate. If we spend a little time on this we will be happier and create more success. As Walt Disney imagined, Snow White said that things will go better if you “Whistle While You Work.”

*mucker: a term of endearment Thomas Edison called some of his workers.

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