Scott Berkun is the author of seven books including The Myths of Innovation. He wrote a blog post summarizing the key ideas in this book.

« Epiphanies are a consequence of effort, not just the inspiration for it.  »

« We romanticize the past to fit the present… And history is heavily tainted by survivorship bias, which distracts us away from more useful historic lessons. History is not a straight line of progress: it wasn’t clear that B would follow A, until after they happened, which means the present isn’t a straight line of progress either (jetpacks and flying cars are not flukes, historically we’re wrong far more often than we think).  »

« The challenge with creative work, especially in a marketplace, is the many factors beyond your control… There are too many variables in the present to have certainty. This is why terms like innovation system or innovation pipeline are absurd. The idea of an innovation portfolio, where a range of risk is assumed across multiple ideas, is more honest. »

« The history of breakthroughs is a tale of persistence against rejection. Much of what makes a successful innovator is their ability to persuade and convince conservative people of the merits of their ideas, a very different skill from creativity itself.  »

« If you watch any 6 year old child they will invent dozens of things in an hour. We are built for creativity. The problem is the conventions of adult life demand conformity and we sacrifice our creative instincts in favor of social status… Good ideas are everywhere: what’s uncommon is people with the conviction to put their reputation behind ideas. »

« To rise in power demands good political judgement, yet innovation requires a willingness to defy convention. Convention-defiers are harder to promote in most organizations, yet essential for progress. To assume senior staff are the best at leading change is a mistake. »

« Defining problems well is as important as solving them… The impatient run at full speed into solving things, speeding right past the insights needed to find a great solution. If you listen to how successful creators talk about their daily work, they spend more time thinking about the problem than the epiphany obsessed media would have us believe.  »

« Unintended consequences are hard to avoid… All innovation is change and all change helps some people and hurts others… Any successful idea has a multitude of consequences that are impossible to predict and difficult to even measure. »

 

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