The Myths of Innovation

Scott Berkun’s The Myths of Innovation is a refreshingly unpretentious read–one that I accomplished straightaway in an afternoon (off).

Here are my takeaways–all quotes are Scott’s unless explicitly noted otherwise:

  • Innovation as an accumulation of smaller insights…connecting pieces…realizing picture (puzzle); therefore, take action to enable insights to occur more freely.
  • Work passionately and take breaks to let the mind wander and the allow the subconscious to work on our behalf.
  • Epiphany as an occasional bonus of working on tough problems
  • “It is an achievement to find a great idea, but it is a greater one to successfully use it to improve the world.”
  • “The secret tragedy of innovators is that their desire to improve the world is rarely matched by support from the people they hope to help.”
  • “The greater the potential of an idea, the harder it is to find anyone willing to try it.”
  • “Innovative idea are rarely rejected on their merits; they’re rejected because of how they make people feel.”
  • Is your desire to find new ideas to conquer greater than your desire to protect the success you already have?
  • “Wise innovators–driven by passion more than ego–initiate partnerships, collaborations, and humble studies of the past, raising their odds against the timeless challenges of innovation.”
  • Imagination > Knowledge > Information
  • I’ve put knowledge above information for some time know, but Albert Einstein’s belief that “imagination is more important than knowledge” (stated on page 83) captured my attention.
  • How can content-centric applications do a better job of capturing the user’s imagination, let alone increate the knowledge derivative?
  • “The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas.” -Linus Pauling
  • Does this sound like your team? “Ideas flow between people easily and in large volumes. Conversations are vibrant with questions and suggestions, prototypes and demos happen regularly, and people commit to finding and fighting for good ideas.” If not, why?
    • Actually commit reminds me of something U2 bassist Adam Clayton said while being interviewed on the How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb DVD. His comments are captured here, although I recall them to be slightly different on the DVD.
    • A group of people, a team or a band, has to commit before any real business can take place. Too often I see groups form for one reason or another without mutual commitment, and typically it’s just a matter of time until they disband, leaving some frustrated and others numb.
  • “Successful innovators compare their ambitions to their capital.”
  • “Sorting out the meaning and impact of innovations is more complex than the task of making the innovations themselves.”
    • “What problems does this innovation solve? Whose problems are they?”
    • “What problems does this innovation create? Whose problems are they?”

    Update 12/1/2008: For more of my book reviews and to see what else is in my book library (i.e. just the business-related or software-related non-fiction therein), please visit my Books page.