A couple of weeks ago we looked at Edison’s encouragement of Henry Ford. We can learn a lot from Ford. He was an innovator, but he was very different than Edison.

Edison invented new products like the light bulb and the phonograph. Edison built several companies, but his focus was on the inventions and how to make them more effective.

Ford was not an inventor but he was an innovator. He did not invent the internal combustion engine, or the automobile but he did make improvements. Edison was speaking about some of these improvements when he told Ford to “keep at it.” Henry Ford did not invent the assembly line, but he created it on a scale that had not been seen before. He did not just focus on his product, but on the entire process of creating a vehicle and taking it to the mass market. He did not invent any of these steps, but he clearly innovated them.

Like Edison, Ford was also widely quoted and they were both celebrities of their day. They left us some gems of insight. A few of my favorite Henry Ford quotes:

“Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason so few engage in it.”

“A business absolutely devoted to service will have only one worry about profits. They will be embarrassingly large.”

“It is not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It is the customer who pays the wages.”

“I am looking for a lot of men who have an infinite capacity to not know what can’t be done.”

“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”

If you would like to learn more about Henry Ford, here is a primer on what he did with the Model-T. It is truly innovative.

This blog was originlly posted January 25, 2011