Edison and Innovation Blog

Learning Innovation from Thomas A. Edison
June 3, 2017

Vacation from Innovation

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

As summer begins, people are planning their vacations.  “What are you going to do?” or “Where are you going to go?” are common questions around the water cooler.  We have a suggestion. The next time you are asked, “what you are going to do this summer?”  reply, “Take a vacation from innovation.”

Edison enjoyed his work.  In some ways his work was play.  He once said, “Most of the exercise I get is from standing and walking all day from one laboratory table to another.  I derive more benefit and entertainment from this than some of my friends and competitors get from playing games like golf.”  While this was true he also took breaks.

(Ford, Edison and Firestone on a camping trip)

Edison had a winter home in Florida, a long way from his laboratory.  He would also take trips with other titans of his day such as Ford or Firestone.  He would come back from these trips refreshed, often with new ideas and approaches to his experiments and problems.  So the next time you need to improve your innovation, the best thing you can do may be to take a vacation.

This blog was originally posted May 30, 2012.

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March 24, 2017

Three Titans of Innovation

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

Have you ever wondered what advice Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone would give to people today that want to be innovative and make a difference? Today, we are going to watch and listen to their advice to us. Are you willing to do what they suggest? It might make all the difference in your innovation.

The blog was first posted January 21, 2015

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January 21, 2015

Three Titans of Innovation

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

Have you ever wondered what advice Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone would give to people today that want to be innovative and make a difference? Today, we are going to watch and listen to their advice to us. Are you willing to do what they suggest? It might make all the difference in your innovation.

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May 30, 2012

Vacation from Innovation

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

As summer begins, people are planning their vacations.  “What are you going to do?” or “Where are you going to go?” are common questions around the water cooler.  We have a suggestion. The next time you are asked, “what you are going to do this summer?”  reply, “Take a vacation from innovation.”

Edison enjoyed his work.  In some ways his work was play.  He once said, “Most of the exercise I get is from standing and walking all day from one laboratory table to another.  I derive more benefit and entertainment from this than some of my friends and competitors get from playing games like golf.”  While this was true he also took breaks.

(Ford, Edison and Firestone on a camping trip)

Edison had a winter home in Florida, a long way from his laboratory.  He would also take trips with other titans of his day such as Ford or Firestone.  He would come back from these trips refreshed, often with new ideas and approaches to his experiments and problems.  So the next time you need to improve your innovation, the best thing you can do may be to take a vacation.

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November 8, 2011

What can we learn about Innovation from Henry Ford?

Author: Don Mangum, Jr. - Categories: Henry Ford - Tags:

A couple of weeks ago we looked at Edison’s encouragement of Henry Ford. We can learn a lot from Ford. He was an innovator, but he was very different than Edison.

Edison invented new products like the light bulb and the phonograph. Edison built several companies, but his focus was on the inventions and how to make them more effective.

Ford was not an inventor but he was an innovator. He did not invent the internal combustion engine, or the automobile but he did make improvements. Edison was speaking about some of these improvements when he told Ford to “keep at it.” Henry Ford did not invent the assembly line, but he created it on a scale that had not been seen before. He did not just focus on his product, but on the entire process of creating a vehicle and taking it to the mass market. He did not invent any of these steps, but he clearly innovated them.

Like Edison, Ford was also widely quoted and they were both celebrities of their day. They left us some gems of insight. A few of my favorite Henry Ford quotes:

“Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason so few engage in it.”

“A business absolutely devoted to service will have only one worry about profits. They will be embarrassingly large.”

“It is not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It is the customer who pays the wages.”

“I am looking for a lot of men who have an infinite capacity to not know what can’t be done.”

“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”

If you would like to learn more about Henry Ford, here is a primer on what he did with the Model-T. It is truly innovative.

This blog was originlly posted January 25, 2011

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January 25, 2011

What can we learn about Innovation from Henry Ford?

Author: Don Mangum, Jr. - Categories: Henry Ford, Innovation Quotes - Tags:

A couple of weeks ago we looked at Edison’s encouragement of Henry Ford.   We can learn a lot from Ford.  He was an innovator, but he was very different than Edison.

Edison invented new products like the light bulb and the phonograph.  Edison built several companies, but his focus was on the inventions and how to make them more effective.

Ford was not an inventor but he was an innovator.  He did not invent the internal combustion engine, or the automobile but he did make improvements.  Edison was speaking about some of these improvements when he told Ford to “keep at it.”  Henry Ford did not invent the assembly line, but he created it on a scale that had not been seen before.  He did not just focus on his product, but on the entire process of creating a vehicle and taking it to the mass market.  He did not invent any of these steps, but he clearly innovated them.

Like Edison, Ford was also widely quoted and they were both celebrities of their day.  They left us some gems of insight.  A few of my favorite Henry Ford quotes:

“Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason so few engage in it.”

“A business absolutely devoted to service will have only one worry about profits. They will be embarrassingly large.”

“It is not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It is the customer who pays the wages.”

“I am looking for a lot of men who have an infinite capacity to not know what can’t be done.”

“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”

If you would like to learn more about Henry Ford, here is a primer on what he did with the Model-T.  It is truly innovative.

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January 12, 2011

Encouraging Innovation

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

Last week we addressed some of the barriers that exist in innovation. Some of them we create for ourselves. But what about the barriers we create for others? Do we inspire innovation in others, or do we quash innovative thoughts and ideas?

Edison was a master at inspiring others to pursue their dreams and create new innovations. One of the best examples of this is Henry Ford. Ford worked for one of Edison’s companies in Detroit, Michigan. On a trip back to a convention in New York, Ford was introduced to Edison and explained his idea for a gasoline powered car. At this time Edison was working on an electric automobile. Ford drew out what he had in mind.  Edison was very interested.  He encouraged Ford, saying, “Keep at it.” Henry Ford went back to Detroit and told his wife that she would not see much of him for the next year. What happen with Ford over the next few years changed history and created the automobile industry as we know it.

I ran into a report this week on CNN on a new type of car that can drive itself. I thought it was a crazy idea; nobody is ever going to give control of a vehicle to a computer. Then I thought, what would I say if someone brought this idea to me? Would I tell them this is a crazy idea and I wouldn’t ever buy one?  I hope not. I hope that I would tell them that the idea has merit but it needs work, “Keep at it.”

 

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