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Thoughts regarding Innovation


Innovation is the ability to create new concepts, capabilities or products. Innovation often involves taking what is already known and adapting, or transforming it, in a manner to meet new needs and/or address new problems.  Innovation can be an interative process that can take days, months or years to achieve.  The electric lightbulb is one example... thousands of attempts and roughly 80 years in the making. 

An example of innovation is what many of us call ‘sticky notes’. Sticky notes were allegedly produced by accident by a scientist in the late 60s; some sources say as early as the 40s. The doctor was trying to produce a strong adhesive; he failed. Frustrated, the doctor allegedly left his office and wrote a note and stuck it onto something to let people know he was out for the day. 

Regardless of which story one believes, we know for a fact that sticky notes were created many decades ago, but did not become a popular commodity until decades laters. Sometime later someone recognized the benefit of this finding and we have the sticky note today seen in many offices and schools around the U.S. 

Innovation can often be messy. Innovation involves persistence and a vision of what a desired end state might look like. Interestingly, that finding may not be what was originally desired. Consider the sticky note example.


Innovation is not free, it often comes with some kind of price. You may be suffering from a problem or challenge and are seeking the most cost-effective solution because you may very well be suffering from a negative expensive event already.   

Competitors of the U.S. understand the expense in terms of money, knowledge, material, etc. Success is circuitous. Economic espionage targeting the U.S. is big business.  When other countries can illegally access innovative processes, they can reduce cost and create copycat products at lower cost. This undermines the U.S. market and know-how. You can learn more about this reading John Fialka’s, “War By Other Means”.  

What’s good about it?

If innovation is messy and expensive, what’s good about it?  There’s much good from innovation. If you have an iPhone, iPad, television, car, etc… they are all the result of innovation.  Innovation can take a person from the prehistoric area of living in caves, hunting and starting your own fires to having a home with air conditioning, water and refrigerator to hold your food and you can cook in a microwave or stove.  Life can be easier so you can focus more time on other pursuits of your interest.

What’s bad about it?

Innovation is only bad when a culture advances as a result of innovation and people do not share in its benefits. More technology in the 21st Century is increasing profits for more of a select few, while those lacking insights; access and/or education to technology are finding themselves become irrelevant. This can lead to a clash of cultures and conflict resulting for stress, poverty, lack of hope and frustration. 

Forward Leaning/Turning Lemons into Lemonade

Despite challenges associated with innovation, innovation makes us who we are as a people. Innovation has the potential to improve the lives of many. Innovation keeps the world fresh with new ideas, experience, growth and the ability to prosper in new ways in remote locations or limited resources. 


10 types of innovation 


P.S. Check out this link for encrypted products


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