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Innovation Quotes

  • "Innovation is important, exciting, and necessary. But so is Refinement. We need to celebrate refinement more than we have. However, we shouldn’t be asking ourselves which is more important. Innovation and refinement are not goals. They are methods and strategies. The question we should be asking: Is this Better? That’s the only question that matters."
    Don Lehman, US industrial designer and blogger
    Source: The More Real Blog (July 9, 2012)
  • "The average individual innovator is having a smaller and smaller impact … I’ve noticed that Nobel prizewinners are getting older. That’s a sure sign it’s taking longer to innovate."
    Ben Jones, US management academic
    Source: Quoted in the New Statesman (October 27, 2011)
  • "The average individual innovator is having a smaller and smaller impact … I've noticed that Nobel prizewinners are getting older. That's a sure sign it's taking longer to innovate."
    Ben Jones, US management academic
    Source: Quoted in New Statesman (October 27, 2011)
  • "Out there, somewhere, maybe in India, maybe in China, there's a person in a garage, doing something neither you nor I can even imagine, but which they just know is insanely great. And it'll change everything."
    Michael Bywater (1953–), British journalist and author
    Source: Independent (London) (October 7, 2011)
  • "Our understanding of historical progress tends to be “innovation-centric” rather than “use-centred.” We obsess about exciting new inventions and underestimate how much they will have to struggle against the forces of habit and inertia in our daily lives. Old-fashioned but serviceable technologies often prove surprisingly resilient … The lessons from history are that technological progress is uneven, that consumers are often sceptical of techno-hype, and that new technologies do not supplant old ones in linear fashion. Look at the iPad’s ebook reader: your book purchase is stored on a real-looking wooden bookcase and you take it off the shelf and flip its virtual pages over with your fingers. Why, it’s exactly like … reading a book!"
    Joe Moran, British social historian
    Source: Guardian (London) (October 2010)
  • "Invaluable though innovation may be, our relentless focus on it may be obscuring the value of its much-maligned relative, imitation. Imitation has always had a faintly disreputable ring to it—presidents do not normally give speeches extolling the virtues of the copycat. But where innovation brings new things into the world, imitation spreads them; where innovators break the old mold, imitators perfect the new one; and while innovators can win big, imitators often win bigger."
    Drake Bennett, US journalist
    Source: Boston Globe (April 18, 2010)
  • "Innovation will always be a mixture of serendipity, genius, and sheer bull-mindedness. But while you can't bottle lightning, you can build lightning rods. Non-linear innovation can be legitimized, fostered, supported, and rewarded."
    Gary Hamel (1954–), US academic, business writer, and consultant
    Source: Interview, Barnes & Noble (September 2000)
  • "To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk."
    Thomas Edison (18471931), US inventor
    Source: Quoted in “Building an Innovation Factory,” Harvard Business Review (Andrew Hargadon and Robert I. Sutton, 2000)
  • "Sometimes I think we'll see the day when you introduce a product in the morning and announce the end of its life at the end of the day."
    Al Shugart (19302006), US entrepreneur and pioneer of disk drive technology
    Source: Quoted in Goldfinger (Robert Heller, 1998)
  • "One possibility for difficulties innovating is that most people really don't care about innovation."
    Peter Senge (1947–), US academic and author
    Source: “The Practice of Innovation,” Leader to Leader (1998)
  • "Slack allows innovative projects to be pursued because it buffers organizations from the uncertain success of these projects, fostering a culture of experimentation."
    Nitin Nohria (1962–), US writer and dean of Harvard Business School
    Source: The Differentiated Network (cowritten with Sumantra Ghoshal, 1997)
  • "The most successful innovators are the creative imitators, the number two."
    Peter F. Drucker (19092005), US management consultant and academic
    Source: Interview, Hot Wired (August 1996)
  • "Everything that can be invented has been invented."
    Charles H. Duell (19051970), US commissioner of the US Patent Office
    Source: Quoted in Maxi Marketing (Stan Rapp and Thomas L. Collins, 1995)
  • "Innovation is not just technical; it is also organizational and managerial."
    Stewart Clegg (1947–), Australian writer
    Source: “Business Values and Embryonic Industry: Lessons from Australia,” Whose Business Values? Some Asian and Cross-Cultural Perspectives (Sally Stewart and Gabriel Donleavy, eds, 1995)
  • "People are unlikely to know that they need a product which does not exist and the basis of market research in new and innovative products is limited in this regard."
    Sir John Harvey-Jones (19242008), British management adviser, author, and chairman of ICI
    Source: All Together Now (1994)
  • "Above all, innovation is not invention. It is a term of economics rather than of technology."
    Peter F. Drucker (19092005), US management consultant and academic
    Source: Speech (April 1992)
  • "A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools."
    Hugh Davidson (1935–), British management consultant
    Source: Mostly Harmless (1992)
  • "In a small company, one person's hunch can be enough to launch a new product. In a big company, the same concept is likely to be buried in committee for months."
    Al Ries (1926–), US marketing strategist and author, founder and chairman of Ries & Ries consultancy
    Source: Marketing Warfare (cowritten with Jack Trout, 1986), ch. 10
  • "The public does not know what is possible, we do."
    Akio Morita (19211999), Japanese business executive
    Source: Made in Japan (1986)
  • "By observing California's youngsters on roller skates, a Sony engineer came up with the concept of the Walkman."
    Kenichi Ohmae (1943–), Japanese management consultant and theorist
    Source: Industry Week (July 1985)
  • "Not a single, substantial, commercially-successful project had come from an adequately-funded team. They'd always come from the scrounging, scrapping, underfunded teams."
    Kenneth H. Olsen (19262011), US computer designer and cofounder of Digital Equipment Corporation
    Source: Quoted in A Passion for Excellence (Tom Peters and Nancy Austin, 1985)
  • "There is no shortage of creative people in American business. The shortage is of innovators. All too often people believe that creativity leads to innovation. It doesn't."
    Theodore Levitt (19252006), US management theorist, writer, and editor
    Source: “Ideas Are Useless Unless Used,” Inc. (February 1981)
  • "The great discoveries are usually obvious."
    Philip B. Crosby (19262001), US business executive and author
    Source: Quality Is Free (1979)
  • "I don't think necessity is the mother of invention—invention, in my opinion arises directly from idleness, possibly also from laziness. To save oneself trouble."
    Dame Agatha Christie (18911976), British novelist
    Source: An Autobiography (1977)
  • "The artist brings something into the world that didn't exist before, and … he does it without destroying something else."
    John Updike (19322009), US novelist and critic
    Source: Quoted in Writers at Work (George Plimpton, ed, 1977)
  • "Everyone likes innovation until it affects himself, and then it's bad."
    Walter Wriston (19192005), US banker
    Source: Quoted in “Sayings of the Year,” Observer (London) (December 29, 1974)
  • "Innovation! One cannot be forever innovating. I want to create classics."
    Coco Chanel (18831971), French couturier
    Source: Quoted in Coco Chanel: Her Life, Her Secrets (1971)
  • "Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought."
    Albert Szent-Györgyi (18931986), US biochemist
    Source: Quoted in The Scientist Speculates (I. J. Good, ed, 1962)
  • "It is easy to overlook the absence of appreciable advance in an industry. Inventions that are not made, like babies that are not born, are rarely missed."
    J. K. Galbraith (19082006), US economist and diplomat
    Source: The Affluent Society (1958), ch. 9
  • "If you can measure it, it’s not innovation."
    Chad Stoller, US digital marketing guru
    Source: Attributed

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