As you know, innovation for most of us is a frustrating business. Few people are extremely successful in it, though. I just wondered what their innovation secrets are and what we can learn from them.
That’s why Siemen Eijkemans and I studied ten very successful famous innovators. The list of famous innovators is of course very subjective, I know. We picked 3 typical innovation insights of each of them and a wonderful quote. I hope their insights and quotes will inspire you on your innovation journey.
Jeff Bezos (founder Amazon.com):
- Be a thorough researcher;
- Bring together a talented diverse group of people
- Ideas are easy. It’s execution that’s hard.
Quote: “Be prepared to tread into areas where others have never trodden before”.
Richard Branson (founder Virgin Group):
- Step outside of comfort zone;
- Mix business with pleasure;
- Take calculated risks.
Quote: “The challenge is to follow through on a great idea.”
Michael Dell (founder Dell computer corp.):
- Have a big dream;
- Break the regular value chain (sell direct);
- Spend time with customers.
“You don’t have to be a genius or a visionary or even a college graduate to be successful. You just need a framework and a dream.”
James Dyson (founder Dyson company):
- Be curious;
- Use new technology to solve common day problems;
- Make the perfect product.
Quote: “You never learn from success, but you do learn from failure”.
Steve Jobs (Co-founder Apple):
- Be committed to perfection;
- Say no to 1,000 things;
- Sell dreams not products.
Quote: “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”
Ingvar Feodor Kamprad (founder IKEA):
- Break the pattern;
Quote: ‘Only those who are asleep make no mistakes.”
Shigeru Miyamoto (Creator of Super Mario, Donkey Kong and Nintendo Wii):
- Start from scratch;
- Be the first one;
- Listen to your inner voice.
Quote: “To create a new standard, you have to be up for that challenge and really enjoy it”.
Larry Page and Sergey Brin (co-founders of Google):
- Improve the lives of as many people as possible;
- Give value for free;
- Don’t take yourself to seriously.
Quote Larry Page: ‘great just isn’t good enough”.
Elon Musk (Paypal, Tesla and SpaceX):
- Work 80-100 hours a week;
- Pick the right team;
- Know when to grow.
Quote: “You want to have a future where you’re expecting things to be better, not one where you’re expecting things to be worse.”
Desmond Tutu (Social innovator, Archbishop and social rights activist):
- Be authentic;
- Be critical and speak out;
- Never give up.
Quote: “I wish I could shut up, but I can’t, and I won’t.”
Summarizing these 30 insights, it comes down to five essential ones:
- Think Big
- Be Original
- Be Perfect
- Stay Critical
Wishing you lots of success innovating your private lives, your jobs, your organizations and our planet earth.