Edison and Innovation Blog

Learning Innovation from Thomas A. Edison
November 18, 2015

Do you need to bring music to your innovation?

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

One of the ways we help people to become more innovative is to help them become more creative. Creativity is not just a talent, it is also a skill that can be taught, worked on and improved. Just like a muscle, creativity grows by exercising creativity. Some of the ways that we have encouraged innovators to work their creative muscles is to do things like write creatively, draw and participate in art, and listen to music.

The following TED video not only validates what we have talked about, but also introduces a new way to exercise your creativity, playing an instrument. It also explains that the muscle we are exercising is our brain and we can help make it stronger and more effective. So, watch the video and exercise your brain and your creativity. It may be the workout you need to help you strengthen your innovation.

The blog was originally published November 12, 2014.

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November 13, 2015

Preparation Reduces Risk

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

Risk is inherent in innovation and in many other aspects of business and life. How do we deal with it? Some people avoid risk. If you don’t take many chances, then you won’t have many failures. Few people claim to take this approach, but in business it is easy to take the safe road and stay with the status quo.  Others take many risks and are over confident in their approach. Sometimes you see them succeed, but often they get even more confident, and then take unnecessary chances. For them failure is not an option, it is inevitable.

Where do we find the balance? An example occurred recently when two people with jet packs attempted to fly in formation with an Airbus A380. This appeared to be very risky with lots of moving parts that could go wrong. The flyers have wings strapped to their backs with small jet engines attached. The plane is one of the largest in existence. How many of us would jump out of a helicopter and try to fly around a plane at that speed?

At first I thought, “This is crazy, why would anyone take the risk?” Then as I watched the video, one of the solo pilots gave an interesting insight. Yves Rossy, known as Jetman, stated “to reduce these risks, there is a lot of preparation.”

We cannot eliminate risk, but there are things we can do to control, or mitigate it. Do we have the willingness to take the time to prepare and be ready, and reduce the risk to a manageable level? Here are several ideas to help to manage your risk with your innovation.

1. Recognize the Risk – You don’t have to dwell on the potential pitfalls, but you do need to know that they exist. If you look for them and acknowledge them, then you can take steps to avoid them.

2. Reduce the Risk – Once you see the potential risks, take the necessary steps to avoid them. If you just say, “Don’t worry that won’t happen to us,” you may find yourself in a lot of trouble when it does. Take steps to avoid potential problems, and be ready for them if they occur.

3. Prepare – If you are prepared, you do not have to fear risk. Have your innovation or project as ready as possible. Don’t take unnecessary shortcuts. If you have done all that you can to prepare, then the risk may just be worth it.

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November 6, 2015

Go over, around, or through obstacles to get to your innovation

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

I came across an interesting video about a potential innovation that would be a solution to traffic congestion. A picture is worth a thousand words.  Take a look and you will see that this technology creates a train or tram that goes over the top of traffic movement in a modern city.

I’m not sure about the practical or engineering issues that may be associated with this approach, but I really liked what they did to find a possible solution. Someone looked up in traffic and thought, “There is space above my car why don’t we do something with that space.” Then, they designed a system that used that unrealized resource, the area above your vehicle.  Because it is fairly simple in approach, it could be potentially cheaper and less disruptive than other approaches.

Where will you find your innovation or solution to a problem to improve your innovation? Pause, take a breath, and look around. The answer may be just a few feet over your head.

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