Innovation Quotes — famous quotes from Einstein, Edison and more

Really Good Innovation
6 min readDec 28, 2020

Innovation quotes for inspiration

Innovation is about implementing new ideas, combining existing knowledge in new ways, thinking outside- but also inside the box. Innovation it about people and innovation is about their repeated attempts to create new things. And innovation is so much more… What is innovation exactly? How do people like Albert Einstein or Peter Drucker see it compared to people that lead change in big corporations today like Steve Jobs?

We have selected some quotes on innovation from around the world that we like the most and that we find beneficial for our own processes. And who knows… you might even be able to take something from one of the quotes and turn it into good ideas for your life or your company with your own creativity. Find the best way to use these quotes or just read them to give your very creative mind a well-deserved break for new capacity.

In order to create value for you we will do two things:

  1. We will show you our favorite innovation quotes
  2. Additionally, we will comment on them and relate them to our own understanding of innovation

Thomas Edison — The value of an idea

“The value of an idea lies in the using of it.” — Thomas Edison (1847–1931), Inventor

Thomas Edison is not just a great inventor who did so much more than coming up with the light bulb. The author of this quote was a great mind and mentions an extremely important point when it comes to innovation: There are so many great ideas out there but they are only worth something if you go out and implement them. Therefore you should often times be less concerned that somebody might steal your idea, and more concerned, how quickly you can implement that concept.

Unknown author — Building windmills

“When the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills.” — Unknown, An ancient Chinese proverb

One of our favorite quotes about innovation, which also shows a lot of wisdom that can still be applied today. This shows the skill of entrepreneurs to see opportunities instead of threats. Analyze your environment and look for what changes in an industry offer new opportunities. Where do you see a market opportunity that might not even need a lot of resources? How can you use an existing business model and maybe adapt it to new challenges?

Valley of windmills —

Darin — Incremental Innovation

“Most innovation involves doing the things we do every day a little bit better rather than creating something completely new and different.” — Darin @ The Business Warrior’s Dojo

Innovation is often understood as new technology that changes whole industries and the world. However, so much innovation is happening around us every day. We are not saying that you should not reach for the stars! Nevertheless we should all also be appreciative of the smaller things in life and see the value of incremental innovation.

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>In a corporate world consumed by the disproportionate pursuit of ‘disruptive innovation’, here’s a Fast Company article that presents a compelling argument for the power of incremental innovation. <a href=”"></a> <a href=”;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Innovation</a> <a href=”;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Disruption</a></p>&mdash; Cris Beswick (@CrisBeswick) <ahref=”">June 22, 2020</a></blockquote> <script async src=”" charset=”utf-8"></script>

Bob Iger — Innovation is not risky

“The riskiest thing we can do is just maintain the status quo.” — Bob Iger (born 1951), Media executive & businessman

So many of us are really scared of change. But for what? If we always try to not change then the world will just change around us. Be open, collaborate with people and integrate new concepts that seem crazy.

Michael Eisner — Keep improving

“There’s no good idea that cannot be improved on.” — Michael Eisner (born 1942), US manager and former CEO of Walt Disney

Innovation is not one time action. Every product, every process and every business model are subject to external changes, new competition and new trends. In order to stay ahead, even the best ideas need to be constantly re-evaluated.

Keep improving —

Warren Bennis — Innovation is hard work

“Innovation- any new idea- by definition will not be accepted at first. It takes repeated attempts, endless demonstrations, monotonous rehearsals before innovation can be accepted and internalized by an organization. This requires courageous patience.” — Warren Bennis (1925–2014), Scholar and organizational consultant

We normally prefer rather short quotes. However, Warren Bennis formulates this quote in a beautiful way, show-casing how much innovation is based on hard work and any idea will have a lot of critics as well. However innovation can only succeed if you stay on track, convince people and stay convinced yourself.

Innovation is hard work —

Arthur C. Clarke — Go for the impossible

“The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into the impossible.” — Arthur C. Clarke (1917–2008), science-fiction writer and futurist

Isn’t this a beautiful quote? How many people are afraid to look past their horizon, to go out of their comfort zone. In order to create new innovative products and services, you can’t always stick to what has been proven to be possible. Think bigger. What has always been thought to be impossible? In order to create disruptive innovations you can’t just look at what already exists.

Theodore Levitt — Innovation is not just creativity

“Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is doing new things.” — Theodore Levitt (1925–2006), Renown economist

Like Thomas Edison’s quote, also Theodore Levitt showcases the important aspect of actually using an idea. He thereby distinguishes creativity and innovation. The difference is that innovation means that you implement the creative ideas as well! Creativity is a specific instrument, important for idea generation, but don’t stop after a nice brainstorming session but get out and experiment with your concept!

Alan Kay — Create the future

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” — Alan Kay (born 1940), Computer scientist

We are often dreaming about the future, about what could be. Why just dreaming about it? Just go out there and make it happen. It is often just a question of assembling the right people and resources, finding the right target customer and defining a clear value proposition to differentiate yourself.

Create the Future! —

Albert Einstein — Imagination is key

“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” — Albert Einstein (1879–1955)

It is often required of us to be rational. However, if you really want to have a disruptive innovation, then let your imagination guide yourself. We are not saying you should never be rational. But sometimes it’s ok to dream. Make your dreams happen.

Peter Drucker — Focus on the Present

“Don’t try to innovate for the future. Innovate for the present! An innovation may have long-range impact; it may not reach its full maturity until twenty years later.” — Peter Drucker (1909–2005), management consultant and author

As stated earlier, of course you should dream and use your Imagination and make your dreams happen. But don’t think about what impact the idea could have in 30 years. Think about the potential impact right now!

Steve Jobs — Mistakes are normal

“Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly and get on with improving your other innovations.” — Steve Jobs (1955–2011), co-founder of Apple, Chairman of Pixar

Last but not least, remember, you will always make mistakes. But that’s ok. That’s part of the process. Just get up again, understand what you did wrong and keep innovating!

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