When you hear “innovation” does your brain go numb?

Georg von Hertling

I've never heard of this guy, but needed an old, crusty-looking image. Image via Wikipedia

Mine sometimes does. Lots of people are writing about innovation, so I won’t take it personally if you stop reading at this point. After all, you’ve already visited my blog, and my little stat chart just went one tick higher. Hurrah?

Anyway, for those still reading and have an hour to kill, check out Scott Berkun yammering on about innovation here. If you don’t have an hour to kill, here’s some of the points I found worth listening too – not to be confused with a summary, or worse yet, an “Executive Summary” (which is based on the wildly erroneous assumption that Executives can take in more information by reading a couple lines than you can in an entire article).

  • Chronocentrism – sweet word – based on people thinking that the most important innovations in history are happening in their own era. You hear this all the time from people who lack historical perspective, most often by saying things like “in the current, ultra-competitive environment.” So, what comes after “ultra?”
  • The Newton myth- yes, he documented gravity, but can’t say he invented it. Goes along with the general TPS report belief that the one person who invented x is more of a myth based on people’s need to assign genius or blame to people rather than networks. More on this to come. If I remember.
  • He did the standard 3M post-it note spiel, but actually added a few things I didn’t know off the top of my head. The guy who killed the idea of using masking tape as a way to control dual-color car painting, William McKnight, killed the brilliant idea 4 times before allowing it. When he later went on to be CEO, he learned from his mistake. The mission statement of the company recognized that since they needed initiative in people in order to grow, that “mistakes would be made,” authority must be delegated, and that destructive criticism would kill initiative.


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