The Innovation Factor: Inside Innovative Minds
BY Mike Hofman
In the second installment of our three-part series on innovation, Inc examines in depth the men and women who are coming up with today's market-transforming inventions, where those individuals get their ideas, and how they operate.
The inferiority complex is one of the more devilish aspects of the human condition. For the business owner, it often rears its head with respect to innovation. You know you have what it takes to start and grow a company. But are you conforming to industry norms or transforming them? Do you dare claim the title of innovator?
In the spring 2001 edition of the Drucker Foundation journal, Leader to Leader, Margaret J. Wheatley published an essay bearing the feel-good title "We Are All Innovators." In it, she asserts that innovation is not an extraterrestrial phenomenon; it's what we mortals do best. She writes: "Scientists keep discovering more species; there may be more than 50 million of them on earth, each the embodiment of an innovation that worked. Yet when we look at our own species, we frequently say we're 'resistant to change.' Could this possibly be true? Are we the only species -- out of 50 million -- that digs in its heels and resists? Or perhaps all those other creatures simply went to better training programs on 'Innovation for Competitive Advantage'?"
In this, the second of three monthly sections on the topic, we examine great innovators by looking at their personalities, their methodologies, their drive, and even their very brains. We also offer you the chance to calculate your personal "innovation quotient" by taking our special quiz. But don't fret if you score poorly, because as Wheatley says, to innovate is human. Claim the title of innovator for yourself.
MIKE HOFMAN was previously editor of Inc.com and a deputy editor at Inc. magazine, which he joined in 1996. The site was nominated for a National Magazine Award for Digital Media in 2010, and was named the best business website by Folio Magazine. In 2006, Hofman was part of a team of writers nominated for a Webby Award for best business blog. He lives in New York City. @mikehofman