Edison and Innovation Blog

Learning Innovation from Thomas A. Edison
May 27, 2015

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.

The blog was originally posted May 1, 2014

May 22, 2015

Innovation is not always pretty

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

Innovative ideas are often shot down in their infancy. The ideas behind successful organizations such as FedEx, Amazon, Dyson vacuums and countless others were received with skepticism and sometimes contempt. Why are good ideas shot down? Why do otherwise great leaders not see that the solution to the problem is right in front of them? Why can’t some people even see or understand the problem?

It is difficult to understand completely how opportunities are missed, but one of the key ingredients is the ability to have a vision of the future. Successful innovators have an ability to almost see into the future and are able to map out a rough outline from beginning to end. They recognize that the concept they start will be refined, polished, changed and possibly even reborn into a new idea before it reaches the finished product. They can see beyond the ugly stage of doubt in the product or idea, beyond the hard work necessary to take the idea to completion and beyond the fear of failure. This vision of the future motivates them through the difficulties and inspires others to join the trip to successful innovation.

If your innovation has stalled out, take a look at your vision. Can you see the better future that your idea will provide? If not, spend some time in your imagination and find what can be, and then head for that destination. It could make all the difference. (See the video below for a little inspiration)

May 13, 2015

Innovation in the Stone Age

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

There are many barriers to creative ideas and innovations. Often, we may not see that the process we are using may be the cause of our own failure. In a world with almost limitless data and opinions, we may not be getting information that is helpful.   We may actually be getting information that is incomplete or just plain wrong.

The important task is to find the barriers to the best information and remove them. These barriers may be in places you don’t expect, but they stand in the way of moving your idea forward. Such obstacles are not new.  The video below shows that such obstacles may have been around since the stone age.  Take a look.  With a little imagination, you may find ways to remove significant barriers to your innovation.

May 9, 2015

What motivates your innovation?

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

Edison was motivated to innovate for a number of reasons. He stated one of his most noble reasons as, “My desire is to do everything within my power to free people from drudgery and create the largest measure of happiness and prosperity.” Today, I would like to introduce you to an innovation that fulfils this reason for innovation.

Imagine that you have been in an accident and you have become paralyzed. Your life will go on, and if you push yourself you will continue to strive, but you have lost something. You have lost a level of mobility and wonder if you will ever be able to get it back. The following video shows what the power of innovation can do in people’s lives and should help you in your desire to innovate.


This Blog was originally posted March 27, 2013

May 1, 2015

Can Creativity and Innovation be defined?

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

When we talk and teach about innovation, we often start with a discussion on the definition of innovation. We bring up several different definitions to help spur the discussion. The value is in the back and forth discussion. When people discuss creativity and innovation good things happen to the individual and the organization. The final definition is not nearly as important as the journey.

Below is a short animated discussion on creativity and innovation that is worth thinking about. What do you think about these definitions? Are they too simple? Do they convey all of the meaning of the words? What would you add or subtract to the definition? As you watch all the way to the end, you will notice in the final few seconds, in smaller print, something that may be the most important part of the message. So, spend some time today thinking about creativity and innovation and see what good things can happen.