How to be More Innovative


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What have they got in common?  What was the source of their creativity?  What sparked their innovative streak?

1. Charles Darwin

Before he wrote the origin of species and created his theory of evolution, Charles Darwin travelled widely and looked at the world.  Most notably he visited the Galapagos islands and saw the vast array of finches:

  • Different beak shapes
  • Different beak sizes
  • Differently sized heads

Each species of finch was ideally suited to a different diet and ecological niche.

Darwin’s theory of evolution came from what he saw in the world.

Innovation comes from observation.

2. Charles Dickens

Dickens is famous for his tales of Victorian poverty and intrigue.

As a child his father was thrown into debtors’ prison and Dickens was forced to work in a factory. Later he worked as a clerk in a law office and then he became a freelance journalist reporting on court activity.

It isn’t too hard to understand the inspiration behind Oliver Twist.  Dickens simply wrote about what he saw.

Innovation comes from observation.

3. David Hockney

David Hockney is one of the most influential artists in Britain and a major contributor to the Pop Art movement.

An interview for the magazine Time Out quotes Hockney:

Looking at the world is a positive act and I think the act of looking is very beautiful and therefore the world is beautiful if you look at it.

Does Hockney’s creative genius come from observation?  Watch the video and decide for yourself.

Innovation comes from observation.

So if you want to be more innovative

Going and having a really good look at your problems would be a great place to start.

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The idea behind this post came from Dennis Sherwood. You can find out more here.

Image by Charles Darwin

Republished with author's permission from original post.

James Lawther
James Lawther is a middle-aged middle manager. To reach this highly elevated position he has worked for many organisations, from supermarkets to tax collectors and has had multiple roles from running a night shift to doing operational research. He gets upset by operations that don't work and mildly apoplectic about poor customer service.


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