Innovation does not occur in a vacuum. Lots of people have worked on lots of projects and come close to innovation, but have not succeeded. Innovators build on the work of others, and a great example of this is Alexander Graham Bell.
Bell is credited with the invention of the telephone, but many people were working on a phone at that time. A decade prior to Bell’s phone, inventors were having success transmitting some sound by wire. Some were very close to success. Bell borrowed from others and built on their ideas. He was able to take the initial idea, create a new invention and take his invention all the way to a useful commercial innovation.
Edison understood the idea of building on the work of others when he said, “I start where the last man left off.” So, look around. The next great innovation may be close to being done, but just needs you to finish the idea. Innovation may come from building on the ideas of others and not stopping until you reach success.
This blog was originally posted March 19, 2013
If you saw this short, subtitled video and it was not related to this blog, you probably wouldn’t think it had anything to do with innovation. But, once you watch it through the lens of trying to improve innovation, you will see that it has many powerful messages. Desires drive innovation. We cannot create something new without first dreaming about it. Dreams are fueled by our desires.
Most successful innovators are driven by wanting to make the world a better place. They want to use their skills to improve the world around them. Edison’s desires were brought to life when he said, “My desire is to do everything within my power to free people from drudgery and create the largest measure of happiness and prosperity.”
So what do you desire most? Your desire may be the key to your innovation.
We live in a world where innovation is not just a want, it is a necessity. Our economy grows based on innovation. We are able to feed large populations because of innovation. Our life span has been extended because of innovation. The traits of innovation need to become part of us, our team and society.
In order to do this, we need only to start today and keep working on being more creative and innovative. Often, we just need to begin with the basics. Maybe we could start with having innovation be the word of the day. It has worked for kids of all ages, including adults.