Tag Archives: quotes

We Are All Innovative

We are all innovative; capable of connecting and creating the ideas that drive people, businesses, organizations and society forward.  Allow me to lay out a quick argument for this reasoning:

Innovation = Creativity

MentorEdge’s Ravi Kikan recently asked the LinkedIn Future Trends group, “How do you define innovation in one word?”  To date, over 300 different people have responded and the most popular answer has been “creativity”.  A few others have also offered up “creation” in response.  For further thoughts and to see a word cloud from this LinkedIn discussion, please visit my blog about it on Centric’s page.

True, many out there will argue that innovation and creativity are similar, but each is different in its definition and application.  This may be so, but both no doubt share the same core of unique thoughts, expression and creative output.

We Are All Creative

Genesis 1:27 – “so God created mankind in his own image.”

“…if God was crazy about creativity, and I was created in the image of God,

then somewhere deep inside I must be crazy about creativity too”

Pixar’s Don Hahn, Brain Storm: Unleashing Your Creative Self

Put another way, God is the ultimate creator.  He created the heavens and earth, light, sky, land, seas, vegetation, birds, creatures of the sea, livestock, wild animals and mankind.  (Genesis 1:1-27).

If you doubt God’s creative ability, you must have never stood on top of Maui’s Mount Haleakala to watch the sunrise.  You must have never stopped to watch animals playing at the zoo.  You must have never laid on your backs to stare at the endless stars on a clear night.

If God is the ultimate creator, and we were made in His image, that means ultimately we are creative too.

So, this brings me back to my original thought: We are all innovative.

We (all mankind) = Creative = Innovative

“Art is not a gene or a specific talent.  Art is an attitude, culturally driven and available to anyone who chooses to adopt it.  Art isn’t something sold in a gallery or performed on a stage.  Art is the unique work of a human being, work that touches another.

Seizing new ground, making connections between people or ideas, working without a map – these are works of art, and if you do them, you are an artist, regardless of whether you wear a smock, use a computer, or work with others all day long.”

Seth Godin, The Icarus Deception

Biblical Innovation: Live the Life of Your Intended User

“Consumers sit at the heart of the product development process.  Ultimately, their needs can only be met in the finished product if they are correctly identified and understood from the outset…conversations with consumers should be orientated towards the underlying needs they want to fulfill, and in particular the problems they encounter with existing solutions”

Olly Robinson, GFK Tech Talk, “What Consumer Research Can Learn From Henry Ford”

“God set aside his deity to take the form of man.  He had to experience life like we do.”

Pastor Steve Poe, Northview Church

Most innovative leaders and organizations would agree with the above statement from Olly Robinson.  Companies have developed a wide variety of processes to better understand their end users:  surveys, focus groups, immersion and eye tracking software to name a few.

However; while most leaders agree with the need to understand their end users, how many actually step out of their executive comfort zone to participate in their organization’s innovation efforts?  How many set aside their “deity” to experience life like their end users do?  These consumer and immersion studies are usually conducted by product development and marketing teams who then review and compile the information to present it to the executive suite.  There is a gap in the executive suite’s blessing of innovation investments and the participation in innovation efforts.

This gap has helped create another issue that most in the innovation community would agree on.  For innovation efforts to succeed; there must be buy in from the executive level of the organization.  In fact, a quick Google search will yield lists of articles related to “Selling Innovation to Your Boss”.

There are of course, exceptions to every rule and some executives in the innovation landscape help set a model for others to follow.  Procter & Gamble’s A.G. Lafley actively engaged in his firm’s innovation efforts.  He participated on the board of P&G’s internal innovation fund and regularly conducted innovation and strategy reviews with each of P&G’s business units

In their study on “Selling Innovation to the C-Suite”, Marc Meyer and Tucker Marion tell the story of an executive team from a dorm furniture manufacturer.  A design firm working with the manufacturer got their client’s executives to spend a night in a college dormitory.  “The executives-turned-college students not only had a little bit of fun, but also saw just how out of touch their current designs were with the attitudes, preferences and behaviors of end users”.

Like many other successful business practices, some firms get it.  They know that successful innovation comes from executive buy in and participation in the efforts.  Still, most companies unfortunately do not understand which leads us back to my original example above: God as the ultimate innovation leader.

God created man in His image (Genesis 1:27).  However, man enacted his free will in the Garden of Eden when Eve took a bite of the apple (Genesis 3).  From that point forward, there is a disconnect between man and God throughout the Bible that culminates in God “setting aside his deity” to step foot on earth in the form of man, in the form of Jesus Christ.

God had a strategic plan in place.  He created great things, he created everything.  However, like many of our own plans; God recognized that strategic efforts were required to recapture his end user, to “innovate”.  This is why he took the form of man.  To learn at our level, to engage at our level, to teach at our level.  Jesus’ disciples already believed in God, but they needed a fellow man to inspire and lead them.  Jesus led a revolution not just because he is God.  Jesus led a revolution because he was God in the form of man and spoke to man at his level.

If you want to lead great innovation efforts in your own firms, you must learn to meet your end users at their level.  Inspiration comes from “ground level” insights, not from reviewing presentations of the results.  If you are a leader in your company, learn to set aside your own role to take on the roles of your end users.  You may be surprised what industry revolutions you can create.

Pin a Quotes of the Week – April 13

One of my favorite new social media tools is Pin a Quote from Pinterest.  This browser application allows you to highlight text from any online page or document and convert it to a “pinnable” image for your Pinterest boards.  It is a great way to save and organize great quotes you find online, but also very nice for sharing across further social media networks. You can find Pin a Quote here.

I hope to make this a regular feature on JAWBRAIN, but here are my top “Pin-A-Quotes” of the week:

Source: pinaquote.com via Jason on Pinterest

Source: pinaquote.com via Jason on Pinterest

Source: pinaquote.com via Jason on Pinterest

Source: pinaquote.com via Jason on Pinterest

Source: theoatmeal.com via Jason on Pinterest

Biblical Innovation: Failure and Perseverance

“…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.  And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” Hebrews 12:1 NIV

Fail often and keep improving.  Great innovators such as Thomas Edison, Michelangelo and Steve Jobs lived by this philosophy.  The greatest products weren’t created overnight.  They all go through dozens, sometime hundreds of prototypes and models before a profitable launch. If you want to be successful in business, in sports, in life, you must put this into practice.

“Let us throw off everything that hinders…”  Everyone fails.  You need to be able to “throw it off” and move on.  Learn from your mistakes, but then have a short memory.  Be confident to keep trying.

“Let us run with perseverance…”  Show a steady persistence in your course of action, especially in spite of difficulties and discouragement.  Action = Success.

Our 9yr old son signed up for wrestling for the first time this year.  Just a few practices in, he was getting very frustrated.  “I stink. I’m just no good at wrestling”.  I asked him, “How long have you been wrestling?”  “One week”.  He was practicing with kids that have been wrestling for 3 or 4 years already.  His perceived “failures” were completely taking away his confidence.  I pointed out the other first year kids.  He agreed they weren’t doing very well either.  I then asked if some of the moves he learned on the first day were any easier a few practices in.  Again, he agreed they were.  Did he learn how to do the moves more effectively after they didn’t work, meaning they failed?  You bet.  Without failure and the perseverance to learn from them and push on, we will never achieve success.

Michael Jordan didn’t make his high school basketball team the first time he tried out.  Fred Smith’s school paper on a new “express delivery system” failed.  He was told “FedEx” could never work.  I’ll end my thoughts with a few choice quotes:

“Don’t give up, don’t ever give up” Jimmy Valvano

“I have not failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work” Thomas Edison

“Success seems to be connected with action.  Successful people keep moving.  They make mistakes, but they don’t quit.” Conrad Hilton

Pardon Our Magic Dust

My wife and I were recently blessed to spend a week in Disney World with the kids (thanks Grandma).  We had a blast.  Opinions vary on Disney World, but say what you want about Disney and their empire in central Florida, this is a company with the secret recipe for marketing magic.  Walt Disney is one of the past century’s greatest innovators and marketers, hands down.

In the back of Fantasy Land at Magic Kingdom, Disney is building the Beauty and the Beast castle, so they have a large construction fence up hiding the process.  The new addition does look amazing (being tall has advantages), but what I loved about this “work in progress” was how Disney World had decorated the wall.  Every few panels, they had posted some fantastic Walt Disney quotes.  Great ideas from an even greater man:

Walt Disney believed in innovation and creating “magic”.  He proved this through decades of leadership and his company is still proving this today.