This week we continue a featured series of some of my favorite innovation-related quotes. Please contribute your favorite innovation quotes in the comments and I’ll feature the best submissions in next week’s Innovation Quotes of the Week!
“When all think alike, then no one is thinking.”
- Walter Lippman
“Nothing is so embarrassing as watching someone do something that you said could not be done.”
- Sam Ewing
“If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.”
- Sir Ken Robinson
“Great is the human who has not lost his childlike heart.”
- Mencius (Meng-Tse), 4th century BC
“Creativity, as has been said, consists largely of rearranging what we know in order to find out what we do not know. Hence, to think creatively, we must be able to look afresh at what we normally take for granted.”
- George Kneller
“Creativity can solve almost any problem. The creative act, the defeat of habit by originality, overcomes everything.”
- George Lois
“It isn’t the incompetent who destroy an organization. The incompetent never get in a position to destroy it. It is those who achieved something and want to rest upon their achievements who are forever clogging things up.”
- F.M. Young
“History can’t give attention to what’s been lost, hidden, or deliberately buried; it is mostly a telling of success, not the partial failures that enabled success.”
- Scott Berkun
“It’s not that it isn’t happening; we see innovation all around us. But it strikes me that actual innovations are not as widely or evenly distributed as innovation initiatives are. It’s not that companies don’t want to innovate. It’s that they don’t have the stomach for it. As with everything in business, execution is everything. And execution is bloody hard.”
- Steve McKee
“Challenge your team to assess the strength and clarity of ideas in the early stage pipeline and discard projects that don’t resonate with the consumer, rather than carrying them along in the name of “we need to show more ideas in the pipeline”. Advancing projects with weak consumer propositions increases your costs and takes the focus off of the projects that can make a difference to the outcome of the business.”
- Donna Sturgess
“The real challenge, therefore, is to turn innovation from a buzzword into a systemic and widely distributed capability. It has to be woven into the everyday fabric of the company just like any other organizational capability, such as quality, or supply chain management, or customer service.”
- Rowan Gibson
“The cure for Apple is not cost-cutting. The cure for Apple is to innovate its way out of its current predicament.”
- Steve Jobs
“Some would argue that this winnowing process is more important than the romantic phase of innovation, but I would counter that the benefits of an intense focus on developing an idea can render the innovation strong enough to be able to withstand the inevitable future assaults from the corporate bureaucracy or the marketplace. The time will come for defensive and offensive preparations, but focusing on those aspects too soon can limit the development of an idea.”
- Scott Bowden
“Before you start ideating, you need a set of really novel strategic insights. These are like the raw material out of which exciting innovation breakthroughs are built. If you ask people to innovate in a game-changing way without first building a foundation of novel strategic insights, you find that it’s mostly a waste of time. You get a lot of ideas that are either not new at all, or so crazy that they’re way out in space.”
- Rowan Gibson
And here a few of the many thoughts that I added to the conversation during the week on Twitter and elsewhere:
- “Innovation is about change. Companies that successfully innovate in a repeatable fashion have one thing in common – they are good at managing change.”
- “Instead of pursuing the current education mantra of more, better, faster, we need to instead rethink how we educate our children because we need to prepare them for a different world. A world in which flexibility, adaptibility, creativity, and problem solving will be prized ahead of the deep technical knowledge that is fast becoming a commodity and easily available.”
- “Disruptive innovations often require employees do things in a new way, and that can be uncomfortable, even if it is only your employees imagining what you are going to ask them to help your customers imagine.”
- “We sit at the nexus of amazing new education technology capabilities, the globalization of work, and an incredible transformation in the needs of employers. The path forward is not the same as the road behind, but our education system is proceeding as if it were.”
- “I believe that we underestimate children’s ability to understand the real world and I think that the education system and the business world need each other more than they realize. We need to re-imagine our public-private partnerships and expectations when it comes to education, and we need to start educating today’s young kids for tomorrow’s world.”
What are some of your favorite innovation quotes?
Add one or more to the comments, listing the quote and who said it, and I’ll share the best of the submissions as future Innovation Quotes of the Week!
And to all the innovation consultants out there, submit something clever you’ve said and maybe we’ll run it next week.
Braden Kelley is a popular innovation speaker, embeds innovation across the organization with innovation training, and builds B2B pull marketing strategies that drive increased revenue, visibility and inbound sales leads. He is the creator of the Nine Innovation Roles Group Diagnostic Tool and author of Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire from John Wiley & Sons. He tweets from @innovate.