Innovative Thinking – Luck – Blog 002

Creativity Isn’t A Talent

It’s important enough to wash, rinse, repeat.  Creativity is a learned process, just like riding a bike, playing golf, or playing the piano.  the more you practice the quicker you will become an expert at being innovative.

Just like any sport, musical instrument, skateboard, or even yoga, you learn the rules, learn the process, then practice and practice that process.

Yes… Truly creative people do have a natural talent for their music, art, or sport.  They seemed to be “gifted” and sometimes it comes naturally; however, we ALL can learn the skills necessary to be creative and innovative.

Being successful in any craft requires effort, and practice.  You have to be committed to practice until your brain just does it automatically.

Here are some insightful quotes to will help you understand the process of becoming exceptionally innovative.  They will be in Italics and at the end of each thought.

Many are from famous people, some are from unknown sources, some are funny, a lot of them will cause an “ah ha: moment for you, and others will make you stop and think for a moment.  So, stop and think about these two quotes.

A man in New York asks a cab driver “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?”   The cabbie answers “Practice, man, practice!”

In the 2008 book by Malcolm Gladwell, “10,000 Hour Rule” made famous by the movie Outliers: The Story of Success, 10,000 is the number of hours of practice needed to acquire mastery of a skill.

Definition Of Success

The son of the CEO of IBM, Thomas Watson Jr., pestered his dad Thomas Watson Senior, the Fonder of International Business Machines, IBM, to agree to give him $5m.  He was to “go build his ‘personal computer’, which Tom Sr. thought was a fool’s errand.  The deal between them was when he ran out of money, Tom Jr. would never bring it up at a Board Meeting again.

Tom Sr. knew at IBM $5m wouldn’t last long and his son’s idea of creating a “P.C. then competing with the two kids from Cupertino would quickly fade.

Let me take a moment to say that the IBM P.C. or “Personal Computer” name was taken from a speech that Steve Jobs made calling the Apple II the world’s first “Personal Computer”.  IBM made “mainframe” computers.  The two kids from Cupertino made the world’s first personal computer, but IBM took the term P.C. and ran with it.

Tom Jr. didn’t have time to “design” a P.C. from the ground up the way the  Steve’s did.  He had neither the time or the money.  So he went to the same floppy drive company that was manufacturing the 5 1/4” floppies for Apple.  They then made the drives for his machine.  He took an obsolete chip IBM had laying around, the 8080 and threw together a motherboard.  And, my favorite part of the story…

Did you ever ask yourself why the P.C. was always stuffed into a crappy metal box?  It’s because Tom Jr. didn’t have the money or time to design a better enclosure.  The story goes, he contracted with a heating ventilation & air conditioning (HVAC), ductwork metal shop to stamp out the enclosures from metals heating ducts.

Now all he needed was an operating system.  When he asked the programmers at IBM to build one, they laughed at him.  They all told him it would take years and millions of dollars to design one.  So, Tom Jr. needed to buy one.

After searching the country for possible OS’, the folks at IBM narrowed it down to two.  One was a 2k Disk Operating System or DOS from Seattle and the second was a far superior operating system called CPM.

IBM selected the “kid’s” OS from Seattle which became Microsoft.

The same happened to Elisha Grey.  Do you know who he is?  I didn’t think so.

Alexander Bell registered his patent of the invention of the phone on February 14, 1876, Patent Number 174.465, which was confirmed by US Trademark and Patent Bureau in Washington, D.C. on March 7, 1876.

Only a few hours after Bell filed his patent, Elisha Grey, another inventor 

registered his similar patent.  Alexander Bell was granted the rights to the invention and the ownership of what would become one of the world´s most valuable patens.See again, preparation and opportunity.  Luck lightning struck Bell, but not Grey.

Don’t let this discourage you!  It happens to me and other companies and inventors all the time.  It just means you have to keep trying.  You need to keep being prepared.  If you are prepared and an opportunity arises, you have a shot at success.  And if Luck Lightning strikes you…  Well…  You made it!

Lon Safko

Serial Innovator, Keynote Speaker, Trainer, Innovative Thinking


Tags: innovative thinking, creative, creative thinking, Innovation, critical thinking definition, innovation definition, critical thinking skills, creative process

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