Edison and Innovation Blog

Learning Innovation from Thomas A. Edison
April 29, 2016

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.

This Blog was originally posted March 8, 2015.

April 22, 2016

Six Years of Blogging about Innovation

Author: Don Mangum, Jr. - Categories: Become More Innovative, Innovation Quotes, Thomas Edison - Tags: , ,

Edison Working on InnovationSix years ago this week we began blogging about innovation.  I was not even sure at the time if we would write six posts, but six years later we are going strong.  I reflected this week on what I have learned from working on the blog over the past six years.

  1. People want to learn about goals and be more like Edison.  Our most visited post is a blog titled “Edison: Goals and Resolutions.”  This post was posted December 28, 2010, but lives on in Google searches.  Most often people are looking for a combination of “Edison” and “goals.”  It is almost always our second most visited post in any given week, after our most current post.  Goals are essential in innovation and often a driving force in all success.
  2. I may learn learn more from writing the blog than others get out of it.  I often find new concepts that I use as I try to innovate, or as I teach others about innovation.  This fits in with Edison’s quote, “In regard to things I have never seen before, I would rather examine something myself for even a brief moment rather than listen to somebody tell me about it for two hours.”  That being said reading about innovation helps us keep it in our minds so we can be innovative when the opportunity arises.
  3. Innovation requires patience.  In our world that requires instant gratification and showing results in a quarterly report, being patient is a difficult concept to apply, but it can make all the difference.   When I try to write a blog or do another creative endeavor I often have a deadline, but this deadline may hinder my own creative abilities.  I have learned that I need to be patient and allow the creative process to take its course. See the blog “Creative Patience.”
  4. Innovation is fun. In studying innovators and working with innovators they all enjoy what they are doing.  This enjoyment helps fuel the passion necessary for success.  The saying is true do what you love and you will never work a day in your life, or as Edison put it, “I never did a day’s work in my life, it was all fun.”

We appreciate that people take the time to read and apply the ideas that we put in the blog.  Please feel free to continue to let us know if you like what you see and any ideas that you have for improvement.  Keep working on innovation and see what a difference you can make.  We will continue to give ideas to help you be successful in your endeavors.

April 14, 2016

Teaching Innovation

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

Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant ManagementA few weeks ago we were asked to do a presentation at the University of Houston Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management. The college is consistently ranked among the top hospitality programs in the world, with an actual functioning hotel located in the center of a large college campus run by students. We discussed innovation with a group a senior level and graduate students in a course titled, ‘Innovation and “Unconventional Marketing.” As a presenter I learned from the experience and I hope that the students in attendance were also able to gain from the discussion.

First, I loved the title of the course. Think how much we would all benefit if we attended a class with the concepts, “innovation” and “unconventional.” This would include ideas on creativity and being able to do new things in new and different ways. So much of what we learn in school, is by necessity, more of an exercise in memorizing, getting information in your head and then being able to get it back out in a coherent and timely matter. This is an important skill, but we also need to work on the skills of creating, dreaming and stretching ourselves.

Teaching Innovation

Second, it was great to see a school that was also a working laboratory in hospitality. Where you don’t just learn a concept, but you then have to apply it and see how it works in the real world. When we work with individuals about innovation, or anything else, we try to teach in the same approach. Edison put it this way, “I would rather examine something myself for even a brief moment  than listen to somebody tell me about it for two hours.” We need to take the time to do, feel, and touch if we really want to understand and improve.

Lastly, students still have a sense of wonder and an expectation that they can make a difference. For various reasons we often lose that as we progress in our careers. In order to be successful at innovation, we must rekindle these feelings and then act upon them. As we do this, we may find what we need to successfully complete our innovations.

April 5, 2016

Can a Taco be Innovative?

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

What is innovation? What is creativity? What is just a new idea? In our blog and our other activities we do not define these terms as much as explore them. But words do have meanings and innovation is used a lot, especially in commercials. It has become a synonym for new and exciting. While innovations are often new and exciting, redoing old things in a new package is not innovation. Sometimes it is not even very creative.

Taco Bell and InnovationRecently, I ran across an article that caused me to think about the word innovation. It contained an entire section on food innovation. It was titled, Taco Bell to Add Breakfast Biscuits in Bid for Morning Sales. As I first read this, I thought this is not a proper use of the word innovation. But then I reconsidered. Some of the ideas in the article were very creative and did result in new products. While they may not be revolutionary, they were creative and possibly innovations. But the real question in this area may not be are they innovative, but rather, “How do they taste?” If they are delicious then they may have success, if they are not they will probably be failures. They do not have to be innovative to be successful.

So as you work toward innovation, be creative, be new and be resourceful. Keep an eye out for new ideas and innovations that inspire you. Who knows you may even find one at lunch.

This Blog was originally posted March 26, 2015