25 Inspiring Innovation Quotes

In my daily work as a facilitator of the FORTH innovation method I often use innovation quotes. Why? I found out that quotes really inspire people. They give new insights. And motivate people to go beyond their borders. That’s why I like to share with you 25 inspiring quotes to jump start innovation.

1. “Innovation is anything, but business as usual.” (Anonymous).

2. “In the modern world of business, it is useless to be a creative original thinker unless you can also sell what you create. Management cannot be expected to recognize a good idea unless it is presented to them by a good salesman”. (David Ogilvy).

3. “If at first the idea is not absurd, then there will be no hope for it.” (A. Einstein).

4. “They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” (A. Warhol).

5. “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” (George Bernard Shaw).

6. “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” (Alan Kay).

7. “There are no old roads to new directions.” (Advertisement of the Boston Consulting Group).

8. “Nothing is stronger than habit.” (Ovid).

9. “If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.” (A. Einstein).

10. “Organizations, by their very nature are designed to promote order and routine. They are inhospitable environments for innovation.” (T. Levitt).

11. “It’s tough when markets change and your people within the company don’t.” (Harvard Business Review).

12. “Daring ideas are like chessmen moved forward; they may be beaten, but they may start a winning game.” (Goethe).

13. “What we’ve done to encourage innovation is make it ordinary.” (C. Wynett, Procter & Gamble).

14. “To gain customer insights, we must understand that we are prisoners of what we know and what we believe”. (Mohanbir Sawhney).

15. “He who ask a question is a fool for 5 minutes. He who does not ask a question remains a fool for ever.” (China)

16. “A discovery is said to be an accident meeting a prepared mind.” (A. von Szent-Gyorgyi).

17. “Small opportunities are often the beginning of great enterprises”. (Demosthenes).

18. “You cannot discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.”  (Anonymous).

19. “People who don’t take risks generally make about 2 big mistakes a year, people who do take risks generally make about 2 big mistakes a year” (Peter Drucker).

20. “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” (R. Emerson).

21. “The impossible is often the untried.” (J. Goodwin).

22. “Care about people’s approval and you will be their prisoner.” (Tao Te Ching).

23. “I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be.” (D. Adams).

24. “The world is changing very fast. Big will not beat small anymore. It will be the fast beating the slow” (Rupert Murdoch).

25. “The key to success is for you to make a habit throughout your life of doing the things you fear.” (Vincent Van Gogh).

I hope these quotes inspire you. Do you like more tips, formats and checklists to jump start innovation? You can download thirteen free checklists of the FORTH innovation method here. Do you have other innovation quotes you like to share? Please add them!


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Gijs van WulfenGijs van Wulfen leads ideation processes and is the founder of the FORTH innovation method. He is the author of Creating Innovative Products & Services, published by Gower.

This entry was posted in Creativity, Innovation, marketing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to 25 Inspiring Innovation Quotes

  1. PARC Online says:

    Definitely popular, and widely used around here — 6. “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” (Alan Kay) — but believe it was Alan Kay quoting Robert Heinlein: http://blogs.parc.com/blog/2010/10/the-best-way-to-invent-the-future-is-to-predict-it-2/

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  3. Kristie J. Browning says:

    I definitely find quotes inspirational! Here are a few more about innovation:

    “It’s not a failure, it’s an iteration.”
    (Julie Anixter, at our innovation core team meeting, 8/19/11)

    “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”
    (Steve Jobs)

    “Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It’s not about money. It’s about the people you have, how you’re led, and how much you get it.”
    (Steve Jobs, Fortune, Nov. 9, 1998)

    “There’s a way to do it better—find it.”
    (Thomas Edison)

    “Don’t worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you’ll have to ram them down people’s throats.”
    (Howard Aiken)

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  5. Pete Foley says:

    Thanks, these are great. Quotes are like proverbs, in that they condense wisdom into wonderful, transferable memes. Here’s one I liked from Bob McDonald, P&G’s ex CEO, now United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs “while (in store) promotions may win quarters, innovation wins decades” (Source: How P&G Tripled its Innovation rate, HBR June 2011

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