Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Innovation is not always planned

I was interested in reading in Wired last month about the inventor of the Slinky!

In 1943, Richard James was working on instrumentation for WWII ships, when he knocked off a torsion spring from a shelf..... and it 'slinked' from shelf to books to table to floor. One patent and 300 million toys later it is as popular as ever!

Sometimes it is not about sitting down and having a brainstorming session, sometimes it is about using events that happen to come up with a new idea. It is about adapting those events to something that is commercial - thus the best tools for innovation, your eyes and your ears!


Joseph Provenzano said...

Along with your eyes and ears, the mind needs to be open as well. Churchill said “Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.” Many an innovation remains in the abyss because there was not a mind open to receive it.

Eamon1972@hotmail.co.uk said...


Great site

Was wondering whether you would like link up?

www.spotlightideas.co.uk (creative-thinking - advertising and media)
www.creativethinkjuice.blogspot.com (creative-thinking - art, animation, comics, film and TV)


curiouscat said...

I would even say the innovation itself is rarely planned. But planning is involved in designing the organization to develop innovations. 3M's post-it note is a great example. The organization was setup to take spontaneous innovation and help it flourish - while in many organization the idea would have just died. My blog posts on innovation: http://management.curiouscatblog.net/category/innovation/

Anna Farmery said...

The best ideas I have ever had, have rarely been in a "brainstorming" session....mainly when I am thinking and connecting ideas whilst relaxing. The more we relax and open the mind, the more we allow our brain to come up with those ideas that may well change the world...