Edison and Innovation Blog

Learning Innovation from Thomas A. Edison
December 18, 2012

Christmas with Thomas Edison

Author: Don Mangum, Jr. - Categories: Thomas Edison - Tags:

You probably did not realize this, but in addition to all of his other inventions, Thomas Edison also innovated the way we celebrate Christmas. Three particular Edison innovations enhanced the holiday.

During the Christmas season of 1880, a year after he invented the light bulb, Edison hung the first Christmas lights. Visitors to the laboratory that year were treated to the light display. Two years later Edison’s colleague, Edward H. Johnson, put the first red and green lights on a Christmas tree. It would be another forty years until outside lighting would become popular.

This time of year you cannot go anywhere without hearing Christmas music. We hear the familiar sounds of Christmas music in stores, in our cars, when we’re on hold for a phone call, and in our homes and churches. Not only did Edison invent the phonograph but he recorded and sold Christmas music. (To listen to some of these original Edison recordings click here)

Christmas movies have become a staple of the holiday and Edison created some of the earliest. Some of Edison’s early silent movies were made for the holidays including “The Night Before Christmas” and “A Christmas Carol.”

Below is Edison’s production of “A Christmas Carol.” It has been restored this year with sound to be just as it would have been if viewed in 1908. The special effects are really quite amazing for its time. Enjoy and have a Happy Holidays from Norwell Consulting.

This blog was originally posted December 14, 2010 and was one of our most popular of the year.

December 5, 2012

Innovation in the Cloud

Author: Don Mangum, Jr. - Categories: Become More Innovative - Tags:

Cloud computing is the next big thing, and it is here.  Recently, I have had the chance to use three different cloud-based, file-sharing programs:  Googledocs, Microsoft’s Skydrive and Dropbox.  The question for today is, which of these products, or any of the other competitors is the most innovative?

Why did I start using these products?  In each case I was working on a project with someone who already had an account.  We needed to share files quickly and easily.  Each of the products have a different type of interface and look a little different.  Each worked well, and I have no complaints.  I don’t even have a preference among the three.  So, which one will turn out to be the most innovative?  The program that allows me to have one program I use for file sharing, not three.  The one that dominates the market.

The road to innovation is littered with creative and ingenious products that failed to complete the innovation process and find a place in the market.   Even with two of Thomas Edison’s greatest inventions, the light bulb and the phonograph, Edison’s technology was supplanted by new innovative products that were able to capture the market.  So, in every step of your innovation, take the time to think about how this will find a place in the market.  It may make the difference between success and being just another cool product left along the side of the road.