How To Be An Innovator For Life

The world becomes a better place when we improve the way we do things.  As humans, we keep building on each others innovations.  If Thomas Edison hadn’t invented the light bulb, the computer might not have been invented.  Because of the computer, the mobile phone came along.   Then came the Palm Pilot and now the iPhone.  Along the way we had the internet and then we got Google.  And now – amazing!

As the quote goes, we stand on the shoulders of giants.  Tom Kelley, general manager at the world-renowned design firm, IDEO, in this lecture below talks about how to be an innovator for life.  He talks about how as we get older we get less creative. Pablo Picaso said “every child is born an artist, the problem is how to remain an artist once you grow up.”

It used to be cool to be passionate and be dreamers but as we get older we learn to be “realistic”.  How many times have you heard when you have pitched an idea “I am not trying to discourage you, I’m just being realistic”.  If we had listened to the “realistic” people no one would have ever attempted to fly.  Because 200 years ago you would have been an idiot and a fool if you thought you could fly. Don’t let the innovation killers win. Go out and try to improve the world.

If we were realistic we wouldn’t have attempted to land people on the moon as that would have sounded crazy. Now if I tell you that you can travel through time – you will think that I have watched too many “back to the future” movies and I’m crazy. But think all the things that you could take back to the year 1250 – you would seem like a “miracle worker”.  A simple thing like “Google” that tells you the answer to any question – I’m sure if I took it back a couple of hundred years along with Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism we would have Googleism. And I’m sure the other religions wouldn’t be happy as Google would be converting people in the masses.

You can innovate every single day.  Every single thing you have around you can be improved.  100 years ago someone at the US Patent Office told the government that they should shut the patent office as everything that could be invented, had already been invented.  The truth is that the rate of innovation is going to grow exponentially.  Think about music for instance, it used to be expensive to record and distribute it.  Now we can all do this from our bedrooms and produce something that a few decades ago we could only have done by spending thousands of dollars in a professional music studio.  Elvis Presley and the Beatles had a lot less competition in their day – my bet is that they would not be nearly as famous if they had started out in the 2010s rather than the 1950s.

You: The Innovator

The good thing about innovation is that you have it already within you.  It might have been dormant for a few years as you accepted things the way they were, but now you don’t need to keep it dormant.  Look at the opportunities on how you can improve your work and your life and do become an innovator for life.

You can listen to Tom Kelley’s podcast here:

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Amir Anzur

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