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The Myths of Innovation

by Scott Berkun

Myths of InnovationWhat makes Google, Inc. such a hotbed of innovation? Is it the beanbag chairs, the free gourmet lunches, or maybe the toys and games in shared spaces? Author Scott Berkun goes out in search of the source of ideas, and along the way debunks common misconceptions about innovation, invention, and creativity. We’ve all heard the story: Sir Isaac Newton “discovered” gravity in a flash of insight after being struck on the head by a falling apple. Myths of an epiphany, like Newton’s, discount the years of hard labor that make sudden insight possible. Other common myths that turn out to more often false than true are:
  • the myth of the lone inventor – most things are invented by teams
  • the myth that good ideas are hard to find – good ideas are common, it’s the good implementation of an idea that is rare
  • the myth that people welcome innovation – people have a steady history of rejecting innovations, much to the frustration of inventors everywhere
For example, the Wright brothers had to wait 30 years before seeing their ideas for powered flight take wing. Thomas Jefferson fought for, and lost, the battle to convert the US to a metric system of measurement in 1789. (An interesting side note: the unit of length called the yard in the original English measurement system was based on the length of the King’s belt!) This short book supplies food for thought for inventors, entrepreneurs and business managers everywhere.

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