The Myths of Innovation

Guy Kawasaki has posted an interesting interview with Scott Berkum, a former Microsoft employee who recently published a book titled “The Myths of Innovation.” Check out some of the answers that Scott provided:

Question: How long does it take in the real world—as opposed to the world of retroactive journalism—for an “epiphany” to occur?

Answer: An epiphany is the tip of the creative iceberg, and all epiphanies are grounded in work. If you take any magic moment of discovery from history and wander backwards in time you’ll find dozens of smaller observations, inquiries, mistakes, and comedies that occured to make the epiphany possible. All the great inventors knew this—and typically they downplayed the magic moments. But we all love exciting stories—Newton getting hit by an apple or people with chocolate and peanut butter colliding in hallways—are just more fun to think about. A movie called “watch Einstein stare at his chalkboard for 90 minutes” wouldn’t go over well with most people.

Question: Where do inventors and innovators get their ideas?

Answer: I teach a creative thinking course at the University of Washington, and the foundation is that ideas are combinations of other ideas. People who earn the label “creative” are really just people who come up with more combinations of ideas, find interesting ones faster, and are willing to try them out. The problem is most schools and organizations train us out of the habits.

You can check the full interview here.

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