Edison and Innovation Blog

Learning Innovation from Thomas A. Edison
February 19, 2016

Do you use your creativity?

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

Everyone cannot be Thomas Edison. Edison was able to innovate in different disciplines and fields in ways that few others have even been able to come close to. But to improve our innovation skills we don’t need to be Edison, we just need to be able to learn some of the traits and skills he mastered.

One of these skills is creativity. Many people say, “I can’t do that, I’m not creative” or “I can’t do that, I don’t have the talent.” Other people may have more talent, or more experience in being creative, but that misses the point. Every person has seeds of creativity inside of them. Every person can become more creative. Where you are is often not as important as where you are going and the steps you are taking to get there.

The following video is about how to have better creative thinking. If you watch, understand and apply what it talks about, you can be more creative tomorrow and then more the next day. Becoming a little better each day may be all you need to succeed in your innovation.

This blog was originally posted February 3, 2015.

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December 3, 2015

Concentrate on Your Innovation

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

ConcentrateThe modern world is full of distractions and it has become more difficult to find time to concentrate on important tasks. The phone rings, we get an email or text, someone just has a quick question, and we are distracted for only a few moments. Studies have shown that just a brief, 2-3 second interruption can substantially impair concentration and increase errors. (See WSJ Article, The Biggest Office Interruptions)

Distractions can even be dangerous. Hospitals have even found that patients can receive the wrong medications or other incorrect treatments when nurses and others are distracted while preparing medications or during other critical medical activities. These distractions can cause serious harm and even death. Being distracted while working on an innovation might not have such serious consequences, but this dicussion does suggest that possible problems can be created by a lack of concentration, even with an innovation.

What can be done do avoid distractions? Kaiser Hospitals  set up special processes relating to medication administration including putting on a vest that lets people know that you should not be disturbed; they also identified specially marked areas where you can go and nobody will disturb you. Think about that for a minute, a signal to let others know not to disturb you and a place to go where you won’t be disturbed. This may be what you need to help you with your innovation. Find a time and a place where you can really concentrate on your innovation.

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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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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)

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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.

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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

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February 3, 2015

Do you use your creativity?

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

Everyone cannot be Thomas Edison. Edison was able to innovate in different disciplines and fields in ways that few others have even been able to come close to. But to improve our innovation skills we don’t need to be Edison, we just need to be able to learn some of the traits and skills he mastered.

One of these skills is creativity. Many people say, “I can’t do that, I’m not creative” or “I can’t do that, I don’t have the talent.” Other people may have more talent, or more experience in being creative, but that misses the point. Every person has seeds of creativity inside of them. Every person can become more creative. Where you are is often not as important as where you are going and the steps you are taking to get there.

The following video is about how to have better creative thinking. If you watch, understand and apply what it talks about, you can be more creative tomorrow and then more the next day. Becoming a little better each day may be all you need to succeed in your innovation.

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January 28, 2015

Busy versus Innovation

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

Almost everyone you meet says they are busy. Have you ever been in a meeting and heard someone say, “I am not very busy. I could take another assignment.” If you have, they probably only said it once. In today’s world being busy has become a way of life, a badge of honor, and unfortunately, a roadblock to innovation.

Being busy and getting things done can give you a rush as you complete your tasks and quickly move to the next one. There are two things that you must make time for to succeed at innovation. You may not feel busy while doing them, but they may be the best use of your time in your quest for innovation.

1. Take time to create. When we work with people, we help them evaluate what they lack to become more innovative. Taking time to be creative is one of the most important things they are missing. We suggest that you take time to become involved in creative activities and take time to be creative with your innovation.

2. Take time to fail. Edison and other great innovators had more failures than successes. What made the difference was they knew that the road to success is paved with the bricks of failure. Make sure to take the time to make mistakes. Learn from them and keep moving forward.

So, fight the need to be busy and find the time to be what is really important. It may be just what you need to find success with your innovation.

This blog was originally posted January 10, 2014.

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November 19, 2014

Creativity Requires Time

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

I found this video recently that helps illustrate an issue that often occurs in innovation. People want to rush innovation, but often you can’t. Innovation is a process and it takes time to get from the beginning to the end. If you rush or try to skip part of the process you will become frustrated and probably will not find success.

One part of innovation that most often takes time is the creativity. It can’t be rushed, hurried or done in the midst of distractions. To be successful you must find the time and place to be creative. If you do you will be able to make something truly amazing.

This Blog was originally published October 24, 2013

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November 12, 2014

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.

Share