Edison and Innovation Blog

Learning Innovation from Thomas A. Edison
April 22, 2015

Samples of Edison’s Practical Philosophy

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

Recently, I’ve been reading quotations from others who made life discoveries similar to the ones developed by Thomas Edison and those around him. Today, I’ve included a few for your consideration.

As you know, Edison employed hundreds at his laboratory in West Orange. Not all of these made great discoveries, but many spoke of the feeling of being part of something exciting. Helen Keller spoke of such achievements in this way.

Helen Keller with President Eisenhower

“I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble. The world is moved not only by the mighty shoves of heroes, but also by the aggregated duty of each honest worker.” Helen Keller

In the midst of adversity and challenge, when he seemed close to failure, Edison stayed the course and, as a result, very often achieved great success. One 18th century British writer observed:

“Times of general calamity and confusion have ever been productive of the greatest minds. The purest ore is produced from the hottest furnace, and the brightest thunderbolt is elicited from the darkest storm.” Charles C. Colton

Dogged persistence in the midst of harsh criticism is a practice that Edison developed well. It is apparent that Emerson also knew of such experiences when he wrote,

“Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to the end requires . . . courage.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Perseverance when faced with failure after failure helped make Edison a legendary figure during his lifetime. Charles Kettering was a contemporary of Edison and a successful inventor in his own right. He also shared the conclusion with Edison that failure, properly managed, often leads to success.

“Virtually nothing comes out right the first time. Failures, repeated failures, are the finger posts on the road to achievement. The only time you don’t want to fail is the last time you try something . . . One fails forward toward success.” Charles F. Kettering

This blog was originally posted July 9, 2010

April 16, 2015

The Word on the Street

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

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 will work for kids of all ages, including you.

This blog was originally posted April 2, 2014

April 8, 2015

Will you cooperate with Innovation?

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

One of the problems that comes with innovation is people’s resistance to change. Change is venturing into the unknown. Often change is painful as we have to stretch and grow. New products and processes may seem confusing at first as we have to adjust to what eventually will be a better way or a better product.

One example of this is the new technologies relating to manufacturing. Advances in manufacturing have been going on for hundreds of years and often these advances make the task easier for humans. This reduces the need for labor and can cost people their jobs. The question is, do we embrace the change or do we get run over by it? Are we going to cooperate with innovation or fight against it? Below is an example of working with innovation. As you work with your innovation look for those who may fight against the change and help them embrace it. It may be what you need to make your innovation a success.

April 1, 2015

Are You Going to Lead Innovation?

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

Innovators are out in front of everyone else. They can’t help it. By looking toward the future, they lead industries, companies, organizations and teams. I have always liked the phrase, “Lead, follow, or get out of the way.” This is the way it is in innovation, you must lead, follow an innovative leader, or get run over by someone who will.

Here are some thoughts on leadership and innovation. You may find a thought that, if you take it to heart, will help you lead your innovation to success.

I have always been driven to buck the system, to innovate, to take things beyond where they’ve been. – Sam Walton

Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to high sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations. – Peter Drucker

The secret of all victory lies in the organization of the non-obvious. – Marcus Aurelius

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. – John Quincy Adams

Steve JobsInnovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It’s not about money. It’s about the people you have, how you’re led, and how much you get it. – Steve Jobs


This blog was originally posted February 26, 2014.