Edison and Innovation Blog

Learning Innovation from Thomas A. Edison
May 27, 2017

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 discussion 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.

This blog was originally posted December 3, 2015

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April 1, 2017

Innovate as One

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

I have been part of many teams in my life and I have watched many teams in many different sports compete together for a common goal. I have played sports and have coached youth sports teams. Also, I have been part of many teams at work and in other organizations as the leader or as a member of the team, and I have taught teamwork skills. It has always fascinated me that when teams work well they can accomplish amazing things, and when they don’t work well they can create a disaster.

Chior is an Example of a TeamA choir is a wonderful example of a team. Many different people often signing different parts, but together they can make beautiful music. A recent study out of Sweden documented that when choirs sing together sometimes their heartbeats will start to beat in sync. When the conditions are right parts of the brain are affected in such a way that the group joins together on a conscious and subconscious level. It is similar to how flocks of birds fly together or a school of fish seem to swim as one.

How does this apply to innovation? We live in a complex world and it is almost impossible to innovate by yourself. One person can have an amazing idea. But to get this idea moving toward a successful innovation takes hard work by a lot of people. This was also true in Edison’s time. He had his most of his success when he had a team of people working for him and with him.

So, as you work on your innovation, spend some time making sure you are working well as a team. As you do this, you will find that as a group you will be able to do things that you could never do alone. Your group may not be able to make beautiful music, but if you work together you may even find your team in sync, making a beautiful innovation.

Related Links

Video discussion the study click here (It is in Swedish with English subtitles)

Interview about the study click here

This blog was originally posted December 2, 2014.

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February 3, 2017

What separates innovators from everyone else?

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

I can remember watching Muhammad Ali light the Olympic torch at the 1996 Atlanta games. He was suffering from Parkinson’s Disease and shaking as he held the touch in his hand. I have known a few people with Parkinson’s and recognize the difficulty of having the symptoms of shaking as the disease takes its toll on the body. I felt bad for what Ali and his family were going through and then moved on and watched the games.

Fast forward to a few years later. A ten-year old, Utkarsh Tandon, was watching a video of the same opening games. His thought process was a little different than many or most others. He started thinking and imagining how he could help those with Parkinson’s. Eventually, he came up with an idea. It is a ring that one can wear that will measure the various types of shaking associated with the disease. By being able to get this information to the doctor, it will be easier to regulate the medications and treatments that help those with the disease cope with their symptoms.

This young man, while still a teenager, is working to make this a reality. He already has a prototype printed on a 3D Printer.  He is now seeking funding to take his innovation to the next step. What separates innovators from everyone else? One thing is their ability to see an obstacle as a problem to be solved. They are not willing to stay with the status quo.  Rather, they are seeking to make the world a better place, sometimes better for just a small group of people, but better none the less. Opportunities for innovation are all around us.  So, just look for the difficulties and be open to finding a better way. This may be what you can do to help change the world for the better.

To learn more about Utkarsh Tandon Click Here and Here

This Blog was originally posted February 12. 2016.

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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.

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February 12, 2016

What separates innovators from everyone else?

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

I can remember watching Muhamad Ali light the Olympic torch at the 1996 Atlanta games. He was suffering from Parkinson’s Disease and shaking as he held the touch in his hand. I have known a few people with Parkinson’s and recognize the difficulty in having the symptoms of shaking as the disease takes its toll on the body. I felt bad for what Ali and his family were going through and then moved on and watched the games.

Fast forward to a few years ago. A ten-year old, Utkarsh Tandon, was watching a video of the same opening games. His thought process was a little different than many or most others. He started thinking and imagining how he could help those with Parkinson’s. Eventually he came up with an idea. It is a ring that one can wear that will measure the various types of shaking associated with the disease. By being able to get this information to the doctor, it will be easier to regulate the medications and treatments that help those with the disease cope with their symptoms.

This young man, while still a teenager, is working to make this a reality. He already has a prototype printed on a 3D Printer.  He is now seeking funding to take his innovation to the next step. What separates innovators from everyone else? One thing is the ability to see an obstacle as a problem to be solved. They are not willing to stay with the status quo.  Rather, they are seeking to make the world a better place, sometimes better for just a small group of people, but better none the less. Opportunities for innovation are all around us,  So, just look for the difficulties and be open to finding a better way. This may be what you can do to help change the world for the better.

To learn more about Utkarash Tandon Click Here and Here

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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.

Share
August 13, 2015

The Tree of Innovation

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

3-D printers fascinate me. The thought of being able to create or duplicate things seemingly out of thin air is intriguing and exciting. It is an innovation idea that we have discussed in this blog several times and will probably discuss again. (See More Innovation in 3D and Innovation and How to Save a Life ) The reason this is such a fascinating area is that this type of printing is part of a tree of innovation.

The Tree of InnovationWhat is a tree of innovation? There are some innovations so unique that they spawn other innovations. In the tree of 3-D Printing Innovation you have all the ideas and process necessary to get to the point where this new idea could become a reality. These are the roots of the innovation. These would include all the improvements and discoveries in regular printing and the advances in materials development that allow objects to be created.

The concept and the printer itself are the trunk of the innovation. While the trunk is important, it is the branches where the action happens. In 3-D printing you have many uses. For example, there are applications in manufacturing, medicine and the home. Each of these are branches of the innovations that will bear different fruit.

In a recent article (UConn makes 3-D copies of antique instrument parts), we read about combining CT scanning and 3-D printing to create parts for musical instruments. From the trunk of 3-D pinting, innovators were able to branch off and create the fruit of being able to fix and play antique instruments. This is a very exciting application of 3-D printing.

So, look at your innovation. What are its roots? What is its trunk? What are the potential branches? If you do this you may be able to reap the wonderful fruits of new innovations.

This Blog Was originally posted July 30, 2014

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March 10, 2015

Disruptive Innovation

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

Language is important. Knowing how to convey new ideas is critical in innovation. Concepts of how to take an idea and transform it into a product or process must be communicated and understood. Today we are going to talk a little about part of the language of innovation and the term Disruptive Innovation. This is a concept that if you and your team understand you can greatly increase your probability of success.

What is Disruptive Innovation? It is a term that is often used, but often not understood. We know what the individual words mean, but do we understand the concept. The following video explains the basic idea and can get you on your way to your own disruptive innovation.

This Blog was originally posted February 5, 2014

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December 2, 2014

Innovate as One

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

I have been part of many teams in my life and I have watched many teams in many different sports compete together for a common goal. I have played sports and have coached youth sports teams. Also, I have been part of many teams at work and in other organizations as the leader or as a member of the team, and I have taught teamwork skills. It has always fascinated me that when teams work well they can accomplish amazing things, and when they don’t work well they can create a disaster.

Chior is an Example of a TeamA choir is a wonderful example of a team. Many different people often signing different parts, but together they can make beautiful music. A recent study out of Sweden documented that when choirs sing together sometimes their heartbeats will start to beat in sync. When the conditions are right parts of the brain are affected in such a way that the group joins together on a conscious and subconscious level. It is similar to how flocks of birds fly together or a school of fish seem to swim as one.

How does this apply to innovation? We live in a complex world and it is almost impossible to innovate by yourself. One person can have an amazing idea. But to get this idea moving toward a successful innovation takes hard work by a lot of people. This was also true in Edison’s time. He had his most of his success when he had a team of people working for him and with him.

So, as you work on your innovation, spend some time making sure you are working well as a team. As you do this, you will find that as a group you will be able to do things that you could never do alone. Your group may not be able to make beautiful music, but if you work together you may even find your team in sync, making a beautiful innovation.

Related Links

Video discussion the study click here (It is in Swedish with English subtitles)

Interview about the study click here

How Music can relate to innovation click here

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July 30, 2014

The Tree of Innovation

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

3-D printers fascinate me. The thought of being able to create or duplicate things seemingly out of thin air is intriguing and exciting. It is an innovation idea that we have discussed in this blog several times and will probably discuss again. (See More Innovation in 3D and Innovation and How to Save a Life ) The reason this is such a fascinating area is that this type of printing is part of a tree of innovation.

The Tree of InnovationWhat is a tree of innovation? There are some innovations  so unique that they spawn other innovations. In the tree of 3-D Printing Innovation you have all the ideas and process necessary to get to the point where this new idea could become a reality. These are the roots of the innovation. These would include all the improvements and discoveries in regular printing and the advances in materials development that allow objects to be created.

The concept and the printer itself are the trunk of the innovation. While the trunk is important, it is the branches where the action happens. In 3-D printing you have many uses.  For example, there are applications in manufacturing, medicine and the home. Each of these are branches of the innovations that will bear different fruit.

In a recent article (UConn makes 3-D copies of antique instrument parts), we read about combining CT scanning and 3-D printing to create parts for musical instruments. From the trunk of 3-D pinting, innovators were able to branch off and create the fruit of being able to fix and play antique instruments.   This is a very exciting application of 3-D printing.

So, look at your innovation. What are its roots? What is its trunk? What are the potential branches? If you do this you may be able to reap the wonderful fruits of new innovations.

Share