Edison and Innovation Blog

Learning Innovation from Thomas A. Edison
October 26, 2015

Innovation is Not Just for Techies

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

For several generations, possibly always, people have thought that their world is the most modern of all time. They see the changes around them and think the world the live in is better than what came before them.

In our day, we see technological innovation as the driving force of progress, but there are many other areas where important innovations takes place. Today I want to introduce you to one, baby soap. Soap is about as far away from tech as I could think of, but still can be a very innovative area. Innovation happens at Apple or Google and changes our lives for the better. But, significant improvements also occur far from the electronics industries.

When we talk to people about being innovative, they often say they want to make an app or work with the engineering or IT departments. While these are often excellent ideas, sometimes we can find innovation closer to home, like maybe better soap.

Take a look at this commercial about soap and see how what appears to be a simple non-technical innovation can be very powerful in the life of an individual. Plus, it is an interesting “old” commercial that would have seemed very modern at the time. So keep looking for inspiration for innovation, it could be anywhere, even when you do your wash.

This blog was originally posted October 23, 2014.

October 14, 2015

Lego your innovation

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

How do you tell the world about your wonderful innovation? How do you explain it so others will want to support the idea  and help you in your quest to make the innovation a reality? The ability to effectively communicate your idea is essential to success. Convincing others of the beauty of an idea that may seem farfetched or risky takes thought and planning.

Edison had to communicate his new ideas and innovations. It may have been to a city council as he tried to convince them to allow him to lay electrical wires underground. Or, to potential backers to give financial support to his new ideas. In cases such as these and others, he had to influence people that did not have the technical back ground in the area. He had to be persuasive, and he had to keep it simple.

Lego your innovationRecently I came across a situation that taught me about simple communication. My son, who is just learning to read, received a small Lego set. I assumed that I, or his older brother, would need to help him put it together. To my surprise, he put it together all by himself. I wondered how he could do that.  Then I remembered that the Lego instructions were all pictures. It showed him in a simple step by step approach how to take a bunch of pieces and turn them into a new toy.

Lego took communication to its simplest form. I am sure that they could have written it out in some multipage book.  But if they did this, a child would not have been able to understand it and a parent would have been frustrated, like trying to program old T.V. remotes. This is a key to communication in the environment of innovation. So, before you share your innovation, “Lego your innovation.” Take your complex idea and express it in a simple form. It may just be what you need to influence others to support your innovation.