Innovation Quotes

There is no serious (or not so serious) innovation blog without a specific post on quotes, so after passing the 20 post frontier, I believe the time to do the “quote post” has finally arrived! Anyhow, people who know me are aware that I am quite fond of some particular quotes and of using quotes in general to focus or anchor a point, so this post actually comes as quite natural to me.

I have given some thought to how should I organise them, or how many should I include. As usual, there is no “right” answer to this, so I decided to work by instinct. I will include the quotes that first come to my mind, because they are those that have impacted me most. And how many? Well, I decided to settle on five quotes, which is a good number, not too much nor too few. After each quote I have included a personal comment about why I believe it is interesting or useful in my opinion.

Allow me at this moment a disclaimer, because in some cases the wording may not be exact or even the authorship be disputed. I have tried to be as rigorous as reasonably possible, but keep in mind this is not a scientific paper, my objective is more the message behind the words than the words themselves.

So here we go…

If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.” — Albert Einstein

My favourite Innovation quote from one of my favourite people in recent history. This quote embodies the spirit behind Innovation, Creativity and Research. You need to realise that inertia is very powerful (see my previous post on Newton’s Laws) and that you need to change something to get different results.

Innovation is the ability to convert ideas into invoices.” — L. Duncan

I have seen several quotes along this line, but I believe this one reflects perfectly and in very few words the concept that for Innovation to be considered as such, it requires implementation and (hopefully) impact in your P&L statement.

Managers say yes to innovation only if doing nothing is a bigger risk.” — Gijs van Wulfen

Innovation works against status quo. Many people are forced to innovate only if they see no other way out. It can work, but it is better to be prepared. Innovation needs to co-exist and many time compete with Operations for the resources, so the reluctance of managers is quite understandable until they see the edge of the cliff.

When everyone agrees on where the future is headed, that’s not a sign of inevitability; it’s a sign that people have stopped thinking.” — Lee Simmons

At an event not long ago, the moderator asked me how Mobility would be in 20 years. My honest answer was: “I have no idea!” One of the greatest things about innovation, specially radical innovation, is that is very much unpredictable. This quote reflects this quite well, because if we all agree on how the future will be, it means we are wrong.

And let me finish with a quote of anonymous origin (at least to my knowledge) that I recently read, which I think summarises the whole spirit of the post:

Innovation is a risky activity whose main risk is not practising it.” — Anonymous

Don’t hesitate to comment with other quotes you consider of value, I am sure there are very many. See you around!

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