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Summary: "The myths of innovation" by Scott Berkun

posted Sep 26, 2011, 9:58 AM by Unknown user   [ updated Dec 15, 2011, 1:11 PM by Victor Reina ]


Anyone can innovate

We like to think that innovation is something only accessible to certain people that follow certain rules or that only special people are creative but the truth is that anyone can innovate.

There is no magic moment

A lot of people think that innovation comes from a magic moment; Newton was sitting by a tree when suddenly an apple fell on his head and that’s how he discovered gravity or that’s what many people think but that probably didn’t even happen, what Newton actually did was mathematically prove gravity and it took him about 15 years to do it. It wasn’t a magic moment, it was hard work and dedication.

Making mistakes

When it comes to architecture we always talk about the coliseum in Rome because it has held up for so long but the problem is we don’t see the buildings that were made really badly.  Over time all the failure and mistakes that were necessary to create it got buried in history.

You have to make mistakes and learn from them to innovate, YouTube started as an alternative to HotOrNot that failed but they realized that they could use it for a more general purpose and look at them now.

Innovation and exploration

A lot of time in exploration is spent on failing effectively and doing not so interesting stuff, hard work, but we always see the highlight when the flag is put in the new world. Innovation is the same, we only see the highlight but we fail to see all the hard work required and that’s why a lot of good projects fail, a lot of people expect something fast and easy but when they don’t get it they quit.

Innovation is change

Any innovation involves change and it’s going to affect people in a good or bad way. There’s a certain resistance to change everywhere.

“The diffusion of innovation is a social process based more on psychology and sociology than technology.” – Everet M. Rogers

You have to ask yourself who is affected negatively by change and how to negotiate, find a way to deal with it or find a workaround, even if your innovation is one of the most powerful if you don’t do this it may end up not mattering.

Trust your employees

You have to encourage initiative and let your workers do their work their own way; mistakes will be made but if the person is essentially right it won’t be a serious matter and will learn a lot from it.