Edison and Innovation Blog

Learning Innovation from Thomas A. Edison
May 28, 2014

Don’t give up

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

Today’s blog is simple.  Don’t give up.  Keep going.  Don’t quit.  If you are thinking about quitting,  see the video below.

Success is often achieved by understanding the principle stated by Edison, “Many of life’s failures are experienced by people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”  So keep going.  You are closer to reaching your goals than you think.

May 16, 2014

Is your Smartphone stopping your innovation?

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

The Smartphone is a remarkable tool. It is a communication device that allows you to make calls, send texts or emails and instantly connect you with people around the world. Also, much of the world’s knowledge is in the palm of your hand. But, is this device helping you be more innovative or is it a hindrance to innovation?

Recently, I was in a meeting when an issue came up that a few years ago would have been a difficult question. The discussion would have been tabled until someone completed the research. But in this meeting, someone did a quick search on a phone, the question was answered, and the discussion continued. This rapid access to information can be critical to innovation.

However, our phones and and being plugged into them can become a big distraction. For example, how many of us are compulsive about checking our phones. If there is a quiet moment, do we reach down, grab our phone, and check to see if someone has been trying to reach us or if there is a new post we might have missed? As I work with companies and individuals, there is a very common problem among the people we meet. Frequently, a person who is trying become more innovative, is struggling with finding the time to be creative. The conclusion they often reach is that they need to be unplugged more. Either at home or in the office, they struggle to remove the distractions that would allow them to carve out more quiet time. They are sure that if they could do this it would help them be more creative.

So, while your phone is a great tool, examine how you use it. Does it distract you from being creative and innovative? If it does, turn it off for a while and leave it in another room. This quiet time alone might be just what you need to create and complete your innovation. We can consider our phone an important tool without letting it control our priorities.

This blog was originally posted April 2, 2013

May 9, 2014

Beware of the New and Exciting

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

I want to introduce you to an awesome, new product.  It takes known technology and applies it in a fun and exciting way.  What was once done manually can now be done automatically. What was once a difficult task, is now ridiculously easy. The product is a chainsaw.  You say chain saws have been around for a while, but you have never seen one like this.  Now, you can use your chain saw to open a bottle top.

This may seem a little over the top, but we are raising a generation that has never seen bottles that need an opener. (I realized this a week ago when we brought home some soda without a screw off top.  Our children had no idea what to do.)  The young generation wants to do things in a new ways, and use technology.  And, this application for a chain saw is amazing.  Just watch the video below.  It will blow you away.

While this may be an extreme example, many of the products pitched to us today are not really innovative.  They are possibly a new application.  They may be fun and really cool to use, but not innovative.  Also, they may be new and exciting, but not practical and will never be adopted by the market.  So, take a look at your innovation and make sure that it is not just new, but also something others will use.  This focus will help you make something that is truly innovative and practical, and not something that is simply really cool.

May 1, 2014

The Innovation of Time

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

Time is a gift.  Each of us gets 24 hours a day of our gift that we can use any way we wish.  Sometimes we make good use of this gift, other times we waste it.  But what if I told you that you could get more of it, a little more time each day.

GPS Phones and TimeI have spent time this week thinking about an innovation, really the combination of three other innovations, that has given me more time.  That innovation is the directions in real time on my phone.  Each day, as I leave the office on the way to my car,  I check my phone for directions home.  It gives me one of at least five different routes based on the traffic at that time.  On a rare occasion it takes me through a residential neighborhood that I did not even know existed until a few months ago.  I decided to try and measure this benefit.  I learned that I save on average at least 6 minutes a day going home .  That makes 30 minutes a week, which is at least a day a year.  Hard to believe that my phone company has given me at least a day a year to use however I want.

This innovation is really the combination of three innovations, GPS, smartphones and real time traffic data.  Real time traffic data has been around for a long time.  At least 15 years ago I would sometimes check a website that would show red, yellow and green on the local freeways letting me know which were running well and which had a slowdown.  It is helpful, but today combining that with the directions of GPS and then putting it on an app on my phone results in an innovation that gives me time.

There are two things to take away from today’s blog.  First, look around you and see if there are any other innovations that can save you time.  What a gift in your life if you find a day or more a year that you can use anyway you want.  Second, some of life’s great innovations came from combining two different innovations.  What pieces do you have that can help you create something amazing?   Use your time wisely and it make all the difference.