In this blog, we are going to address the productive side of innovation. When people discuss innovation they often focus on the creative side. It is where the fun is. It is the spark that ignites the innovation process. But many a very creative idea has failed because of problems on the productive side.

Edison put it this way, “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.” You have to have the spark of the 1% but without continuous work and follow through there will be no innovation. As long as you are going to need to work and perspire, you might as well be productive.

Recently, I read an article on the website titled, “9 Habits of Productive People.” It has some interesting thoughts on how to be productive. Two of the ideas really hit home with me.

1. Take More Breaks – In our working with companies, this idea has proven to be a great key to innovation. Edison worked hard and took breaks. He took a little time away to refocus and then was more productive when he returned.

2. Stop Multitasking – People think when they are doing a lot of different things at once they are getting a lot done. In reality, they are often getting a lot of things done poorly.

We studied the lives and practices of more than 130 innovators. Most were very successful at not only being creative, but also at being productive. Those that were very creative, but who struggled with productivity, found others to help them and take care of some of the vital, but more mundane tasks. So, while turning your inspiration into innovation, take time to make sure your perspiration is productive. It may be your key to genius.

This blog was originally posted August 21, 2013