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7 Rules for Successful Innovation
Categories: Innovation

Nice summary of biz innovators and their success and failures: Excerpts below.

I want to know what business stories gave you your greatest innovation lesson.

“1. Think of things that never were and ask ‘why not?”: Bobby Kennedy’s famous motto is an apt description for the beginning of business innovation. Great ideas can strike at any time, and out of the blue. George de Mestral came up with the idea for Velcro after he took a walk in the woods and wanted to find out why those tiny little burrs stuck to his socks (the burrs are made up of almost microscopic hooks and socks are made of loops. Velcro therefore is a hook and loop system.)

3. KISS (Keep it Simple, . . . ) Why could no one program a VCR? Because it was impossible, complicated. Why did TiVo break out? Because programming a DVR is simple. If you want people to adopt your newfangled product, you have to make it easy to learn. The first Xerox machine (the 914) had a knob for the number of desired copies and another to print. That’s it.

5. Try, try again: Most great innovators did not get it right on the first try, or second or third. But they kept plugging away. The first microwave oven (created after a scientist noticed that the chocolate bar in his pocket melted when he stood near a magnetron tube) was five feet tall, weighed 750 lbs, and cost $5,000. It took years to get it to where it is today.

When it comes to innovation, the quote sometimes attributed to Goethe had it right: “Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, magic, and power in it.”

Posted by Kathy Sandler on Sunday, December 20, 2009 at 12:30 AM

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