Cooking shows have become very popular. Several cable cooking networks only broadcast programs about cooking. People are shown making, demonstrating and competing while creating elaborate meals and other food products. Often these master chefs follow highly detailed plans on how to make these creative and innovative dishes.

Edison may not have been a master chef but he was a master innovator. He had a plan or what he called a recipe for success.

He stated, “If you want a recipe for how to succeed as an inventor I can give it to you in a very few words, and it will do for any other business in which you might wish to engage. First, find out if there is a real need for the thing which you want to invent. Then start in thinking about it. Get up at six o’clock the first morning and work until two o’clock the next morning. Keep on doing this until something in your line develops itself. If it doesn’t do so pretty soon, you had better shorten your sleeping hours and work a little harder while you are awake. If you follow that rule, you can succeed as an inventor, or as anything else, for that matter. It was the following of just such a rule that led to the invention of the electric light, the phonograph and the kinetoscope.” (From At Work with Thomas Edison, by Blaine McCormick, 2001)

We can summarize Edison’s Recipe in these steps:
1. Look for a need-Then look for a solution
2. Start to think about it-Dream about the solution
3. Get up early the next day-Start working on it
4. Don’t get discouraged-If you do not find success, work harder

These steps are fairly simple and yet profound. So now that you have his recipe, let’s go out and see what we can cook up.

The blog was originally posted December 7, 2010.