Why ideas are not enough and why innovation is critical to success

Anyone listening to some ‘Expert’ speakers or to a work colleague injecting a little motivation-juice into a Team Meeting would be forgiven for thinking that Thomas Edison invented the electric light bulb.

He didn’t of course.

The carbon filament incandescent electric lamp was invented by the Englishman Sir Joseph Wilson Swan  in 1860. He demonstrated his Proof of Concept in a lecture for the Newcastle upon Tyne Chemical Society held on December 18, 1878

Edison innovated. He made improvements to the idea of incandescent light, and, in doing so he is thought to be the ‘Inventor’ of the light bulb.

His Proof of Concept, by the way, was to stand in the Wall Street offices of J.P. Morgan and switch on his Edison incandescent light bulb on 4th September 1882 at 3 in the afternoon.  Edison lit up Wall Street.

Why  this is important for you and me?

Ideas > Innovation > Massive Execution > Results!

We all have ideas – some of them are great ideas.

For most of us, most of the time, our ideas are jostling within the torrent of thoughts. They are individual capsules of potential hurtling down the highway of our incessant mind traffic and competing with everything else for our attention.

Our mind traffic is that internal dialogue of hopes and fears, plans and instincts, dreams and regrets, remembrances and reminders, rushing between our left and right ears that we never seem to be able to turn off – unless, of course, we practice.

So how do we manage our ideas and develop innovations from them?

What tools and processes do we use to capture, communicate and refine our ideas – to innovate?

What do we use to ‘Think Into?’ After all, we use tools for almost everything – what tools do we use to think into?

I’m a fan of mindmapping – especially digital mindmapping and especially Mindmapping software that allows us to turn the co-created big picture into discrete, shared tasks in tools like Microsoft Outlook with a couple of clicks of the mouse.

Does innovation only apply to our commercial product or service offerings? Or does it also apply to our lives, careers and our primary purposes?

How well do we carve-out and protect our time for our most critical work? AND how well is that understood and respected by everyone else who wants immediate and urgent access to us?

We all know that our work involves a mix of urgent and important tasks and we are acquainted with Dr Pareto and the 80/20 rule   (But did we know that it was the management consultant Joseph M. Juran who suggested the principle in 1941 and named it after Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, who observed in 1906 that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population)

Just how committed are we to the massive action that was required by Edison to be eventually super successful?

How big is our thinking? Does our own Proof of Concept light up a small room or the whole of Wall Street?

How deep and rich is the gene pool we use to support our innovation and other deep thinking time? What would an outside perspective bring to the quality of our innovative thinking and planning?

These thoughts and questions were prompted by Philippa Varey at an excellent event run by Rick Peet and Mark Russell over at AVN Picktree in Farnham.
The event was run under the title ‘INNOVATE or STAGNATE! What’s Your Plan For Business Success In 2012?’

Phillippa’s presentation prompted many other thoughts and questions, some of which will probably make it to our ‘Start The Week’ team meeting next Monday morning at 07:30 as well at to our usual Strategy meetings.

Rick outlined a few ways HMRC could help fund the innovation investment …. very interesting!

If these musings resonate with you in any way why not get in touch or add to the conversation below.

Till next time,

By |2018-02-22T12:17:59+00:00February 22nd, 2012|Strategy and Strategic Thinking|0 Comments

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