Innovation according to Gabriel Garcia Marquez

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I am reading Cien Años de Soledad (100 Years of Solitude) in Spanish by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. In addition to learning a lot of antiquated, Latin American Spanish words, I also picked up a couple reminders for attracting innovation. How exciting is my life?

Jose Arcadio Buendia is a great, although slightly misguided character. (His tendency to lock himself away in a lab won’t work well in today’s networked world.) The novel opens with his fascination for the wonders of the world brought to him by Melquiades (a world-traveling gypsy). Jose’s mind works in creative ways to take these wonderful, but value-less, inventions and put them to good use.

He understands that Melquiades has done part of the work, but that the value only comes when the offering is co-created. Innovation doesn’t just happen, he’s got to put in some work as well. The other part of his genius is allowing the supplier to do the work for him. He doesn’t provide Melquiades with a spec or conduct a hard-nosed negotiation, but does let his interest be known in further inventions. And when they come, he works on applying them to his problems.

Arcadio takes a telescope and proves that the earth is round before anyone even considered the possibility. What can you do with the tools, expertise and knowledge that your suppliers bring to you?

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