Quotes from Steve Jobs, Tom Peters, Margaret Wheatley, Adam Grant, Linda Naiman, Arthur B VanGundy and others that inspire creativity and innovation in the workplace:
Creativity is the act of turning new and imaginative ideas into reality. Creativity involves two processes: thinking, then producing. Innovation is the production or implementation of a creative idea. If you have ideas, but don’t act on them, you are imaginative but not creative.
Creativity is a function of leadership. It requires navigating uncharted territory and having the courage to face adversity to bring your vision into fruition.
For innovation to flourish, organizations must create an environment that fosters creativity; bringing together multi-talented groups of people who work in close collaboration together — exchanging knowledge, ideas and shaping the direction of the future.
The economic future of an organization depends on its ability to create wealth by fostering innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship.
(On Improv in business) Improvisation frees us from being perfect, being in control, thinking ahead, and second guessing. It can feel like jumping into the abyss at first, but once you jump, fear turns into excitement, and your imagination kicks in.
—Linda Naiman (Fast Company Magazine Oct 2005)
Creativity is the power to create something new, to reach deep into our subconscious for that “aha” solution. Sometimes it happens in a nano second, and sometimes that solution can take a lifetime to reveal itself.
—Linda Naiman (Peopletalk Magazine Spring 2004)
Don’t worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you’ll have to ram them down people’s throats.
The organizations of the future will increasingly depend on the creativity of their members to survive. Great Groups offer a new model in which the leader is an equal among Titans. In a truly creative collaboration, work is pleasure, and the only rules and procedures are those that advance the common cause.
Creativity comes from trust. Trust your instincts. And never hope more than you work.
—Rita Mae Brown, US writer, playwright
There’s zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas.
—Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
Innovation! One cannot be forever innovating. I want to create classics.
—Coco Chanel (1883 – 1971) French fashion designer
To be successful we must live from our imaginations, not from our memories.
We are not creatures of circumstance; we are creators of circumstance.
The paradox of innovation is this: CEO’s often complain about lack of innovation, while workers often say leaders are hostile to new ideas.
—Patrick Dixon. Building a Better Business (2005) p 137.
Business has only two basic functions — marketing and innovation.
I always stress to my clients that they have to be ready to change. You have to be prepared to make your innovation obsolete. But many companies aren’t prepared to do that.
—Peter Drucker. ‘Peter’s Principles’, Context magazine, Spring, 1998
“If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old”
Genius is one percent inspiration, and ninety-nine percent perspiration.
I make more mistakes than anyone else I know, and sooner or later, I patent most of them.
— Thomas Edison
Access to talented and creative people is to modern business what access to coal and iron ore was to steel-making.
— Richard Florida
The more you think, the more time you have.
— Henry Ford
The brain is a wonderful organ; it starts the moment you get up in the morning and does not stop until you get to the office.
— Robert Frost
Creativity may be hard to nurture, but it’s easy to thwart.
—Adam Grant, author of Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World
To generate creative ideas, you have to start from an unusual place. But to explain those ideas, you have to connect them to something familiar. That’s why so many startups are introducing themselves as the Uber for X.
—Adam Grant, author of Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World
I sell ideas and visions. That kind of selling requires a different set of muscles from those that you need to sell products. The challenge is to help people see things that they may not be able to see for themselves. Now, I’m not a visionary from the blinding-flash-of-light school. Instead, I base my ideas on intuition, on facts, and on specific opportunities. The greatest resistance that I encounter from people whom I’m trying to sell to is grounded in discomfort — which really comes from a lack of understanding. So a great salesperson, in effect, knows how to sell understanding.
—Phil Guarascio, GM’s vice-president for advertising and corporate marketing
The uncreative mind can spot wrong answers, but it takes a very creative mind to spot wrong questions.
If NATURE has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea… No one possesses the less, because every other possess the whole of it. He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me.
You cannot mandate productivity, you must provide the tools to let people become their best.
Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.
Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it’s really how it works.
Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”
—Steve Jobs, Stanford commencement speech 2005
Innovation comes from people meeting up in the hallways or calling each other at 10.30 at night with a new idea, or because they realised something that shoots holes in how we’ve been thinking about a problem. It’s ad hoc meetings of six people called by someone who thinks he has figured out the coolest new thing ever and who wants to know what other people think of his idea. And it comes from saying no to 1,000 things to make sure we don’t get on the wrong track or try to do too much. We’re always thinking about new markets we could enter, but it’s only by saying no that you can concentrate on the things that are really important.
—Steve Jobs, Business Week 2004
Customers don’t know what they want until we’ve shown them.
—Steve Jobs in Walter Isaacson’s
To be a successful entrepreneur one needs a vision of greatness for one’s work. If we dream extravagantly we will be inspired to forge a reality beyond the straight jacket of practicalities. There is a profound connection between art and enterprise which allows businesses to overcome the limitations of their existing visions.
—Sir Ernest Hall
The vast majority of human beings dislike and even actually dread all notions with which they are not familiar… Hence it comes about that at their first appearance innovators have generally been persecuted, and always derided as fools and madmen.
Management is, above all, a practice where art, science, and craft meet.
—Henry Mintzberg, author and professor at McGill University.
Those who have changed the universe have never done it by changing officials, but always by inspiring the people.
Creativity is so delicate a flower that praise tends to make it bloom while discouragement often nips it at the bud.
In the modern world of business it is useless to be a creative original thinker unless you can also sell what you create. Management cannot be expected to recognize a good idea unless it is presented to them by a good salesman.
—David M. Ogilvy, founder, Ogilvy & Mather advertising
Business isn’t some disembodied bloodless enterprise. Profit is fine — a sign that the customer honors the value of what we do. But “enterprise” ( a lovely word ) is about heart. About beauty. It’s about art. About people throwing themselves on the line. It’s about passion and the selfless pursuit of an ideal.
Written reports stifle creativity.
Without change there is no innovation, creativity, or incentive for improvement. Those who initiate change will have a better opportunity to manage the change that is inevitable.
To the disrupters go the spoils.
— Heather Simmons,
Ideas are not solutions; they are the raw material of solutions.
Sometimes what we don’t know about a problem is more important than what we do know. By this I mean that we may focus on problem elements perceived to be known which may result in an unsatisfactory outcome. Problem knowledge is important, that is why it also is important to test assumptions to uncover what we ‘don’t know’ since that information can contain the keys to reframe our perspectives which, in turn, can allow potential solutions to suddenly ‘pop’ out.
Focus on a few key objectives…I only have three things to do. I have to choose the right people, allocate the right number of dollars, and transmit ideas from one division to another with the speed of light. So I’m really in the business of being the gatekeeper and the transmitter of ideas.
Innovation is fostered by information gathered from new connections; from insights gained by journeys into other disciplines or places; from active, collegial networks and fluid, open boundaries. Innovation arises from ongoing circles of exchange, where information is not just accumulated or stored, but created. Knowledge is generated anew from connections that weren’t there before.
— Margaret J. Wheatley, Leadership and the New Science
The things we fear most in organizations–fluctuations, disturbances, imbalances–are the primary sources of creativity.
— Margaret J. Wheatley
Ideas won’t keep: something must be done about them.
—Alfred North Whitehead
The art of progress is to preserve order amid change and to preserve change amid order.
—Alfred North Whitehead