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Quotes on CREATIVITY and INNOVATION





"When all think alike, then no one is thinking."
— Walter Lippman


"Capital isn't so important in business. Experience isn't so important. You can get both these things. What is important is ideas. If you have ideas, you have the main asset you need, and there isn't any limit to what you can do with your business and your life."
— Harvey Firestone


"Great is the human who has not lost his childlike heart."
— Mencius (Meng-Tse), 4th century BCE


"Doing the same thing over and over, yet expecting different results, is the definition of crazy."
— Unknown


M. A. Rosanoff: "Mr. Edison, please tell me what laboratory rules you want me to observe."
Edison: "There ain't no rules around here. We're trying to accomplish somep'n!"
— Thomas Edison


"Creativity, as has been said, consists largely of rearranging what we know in order to find out what we do not know. Hence, to think creatively, we must be able to look afresh at what we normally take for granted."
— George Kneller


"It isn't the incompetent who destroy an organization. The incompetent never get in a position to destroy it. It is those who achieved something and want to rest upon their achievements who are forever clogging things up."
— F. M. Young


"It's easy to come up with new ideas; the hard part is letting go of what worked for you two years ago, but will soon be out of date."
— Roger von Oech


"We all operate in two contrasting modes, which might be called open and closed. The open mode is more relaxed, more receptive, more exploratory, more democratic, more playful and more humorous. The closed mode is the tighter, more rigid, more hierarchical, more tunnel-visioned. Most people, unfortunately spend most of their time in the closed mode. Not that the closed mode cannot be helpful. If you are leaping a ravine, the moment of takeoff is a bad time for considering alternative strategies. When you charge the enemy machine-gun post, don't waste energy trying to see the funny side of it. Do it in the "closed" mode. But the moment the action is over, try to return to the "open" mode—to open your mind again to all the feedback from our action that enables us to tell whether the action has been successful, or whether further action is need to improve on what we have done. In other words, we must return to the open mode, because in that mode we are the most aware, most receptive, most creative, and therefore at our most intelligent."
— John Cleese


"The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas."
— Dr. Linus Pauling


"Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought."
— Albert von Szent-Gyorgy


"To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advance in science."
— Albert Einstein


Without the playing with fantasy no creative work has ever yet come to birth. The debt we owe to the play of imagination is incalculable."
— Carl Jung


"When Alexander the Great visited Diogenes and asked whether he could do anything for the famed teacher, Diogenes replied: “Only stand out of my light.” Perhaps some day we shall know how to heighten creativity. Until then, one of the best things we can do for creative men and women is to stand out of their light."
— John W. Gardner


"To be creative you have to contribute something different from what you've done before. Your results need not be original to the world; few results truly meet that criterion. In fact, most results are built on the work of others."
— Lynne C. Levesque
Breakthrough Creativity


"We shall not cease from exploration, and at the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time."
— T. S. Eliot


"Once we rid ourselves of traditional thinking we can get on with creating the future."
— James Bertrand


"There's a way to do it better—find it."
— Thomas Edison


"The essential part of creativity is not being afraid to fail."
— Edwin H. Land


"Creative activity could be described as a type of learning process where teacher and pupil are located in the same individual."
— Arthur Koestler


"There is no doubt that creativity is the most important human resource of all. Without creativity, there would be no progress, and we would be forever repeating the same patterns."
— Edward de Bono


"Creativity is not the finding of a thing, but the making something out of it after it is found."
— James Russell Lowell (1819-1891)


"The creative person wants to be a know-it-all. He wants to know about all kinds of things: ancient history, nineteenth-century mathematics, current manufacturing techniques, flower arranging, and hog futures. Because he never knows when these ideas might come together to form a new idea. It may happen six minutes later or six months, or six years down the road. But he has faith that it will happen."
— Carl Ally


"The things we fear most in organizations—fluctuations, disturbances, imbalances—re the primary sources of creativity."
— Margaret J. Wheatley


"Too much of our work amounts to the drudgery of arranging means toward ends, mechanically placing the right foot in front of the left and the left in front of the right, moving down narrow corridors toward narrow goals. Play widens the halls. Work will always be with us, and many works are worthy. But the worthiest works of all often reflect an artful creativity that looks more like play than work."
— James Ogilvy


"The achievement of excellence can only occur if the organization promotes a culture of creative dissatisfaction."
— Lawrence Miller


"When the 'weaker' of the two brains (right and left) is stimulated and encouraged to work in cooperation with the stronger side, the end result is a great increase in overall ability and ... often five to ten times more effectiveness."
— Professor Robert Ornstein, University of California


"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


The way to get good ideas is to get lots of ideas and throw the bad ones away."
— Linus Pauling


"The uncreative mind can spot wrong answers, but it takes a very creative mind to spot wrong questions."
— Anthony Jay


"Success is on the far side of failure."
— Thomas Watson Sr.


"You don't understand anything unless you understand there are at least 3 ways."
— M. Minsky


"To have a great idea, have a lot of them."
— Thomas Edison


"Companies have to nurture [creativity and motivation]—and have to do it by building a compassionate yet performance-driven corporate culture. In the knowledge economy the traditional soft people side of our business has become the new hard side."
— Gay Mitchell
Executive VP, HR, Royal Bank


"That so few now dare to be eccentric marks the chief danger of our time."
— John Stuart Mill


“Creative thinking is not a talent, it is a skill that can be learnt. It empowers people by adding strength to their natural abilities which improves teamwork, productivity and where appropriate profits.”
— Edward de Bono


"The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."
— Albert Einstein


"Anxiety is the hand maiden of creativity."
— Chuck Jones
Warner Bros. animator


"An inventor is simply a person who doesn't take his education too seriously. You see, from the time a person is six years old until he graduates from college he has to take three or four examinations a year. If he flunks once, he is out. But an inventor is almost always failing. He tries and fails maybe a thousand times. It he succeeds once then he's in. These two things are diametrically opposite. We often say that the biggest job we have is to teach a newly hired employee how to fail intelligently. We have to train him to experiment over and over and to keep on trying and failing until he learns what will work."
— Charles Kettering


"All human development, no matter what form it takes, must be outside the rules; otherwise we would never have anything new."
— Charles Kettering


"Anyone can look for fashion in a boutique or history in a museum. The creative explorer looks for history in a hardware store and fashion in an airport."
— Robert Wieder


"He who would be a man must therefore be a non-conformist."
— Ralph Waldo Emerson


"Discoveries are often made by not following instructions, by going off the main road, by trying the untried."
— Frank Tyger
"The law of floatation was not discovered by contemplating the sinking of things, but by contemplating the floating of things which floated naturally, and then intelligently asking why they did so."
— Thomas Troward
The Dore Lectures on Mental Science 1909


"Every act of creation is first of all an act of destruction."
— Picasso


"If you do not the expect the unexpected you will not find it, for it is not to be reached by search or trail."
— Heraclitus


"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."
— Warren Bennis


"Genius is one percent inspiration, and ninety-nine percent perspiration."
— Thomas Edison


"The business world sees a measurable and growing intelligence gap - with need for intellectual expertise constantly expanding. Available talent is decreasing even though the population is increasing. Being bombarded with information - be it in Nintendo or shogi - and being able to process it, find patterns etc., is a vital skill. One way to increase this talent potential is through games."
— Leif Edvinson
Skandia at the MindSports Olympiad 1997


"Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats."
— Howard Aiken


"Some men look at things the way they are and ask why? I dream of things that are not and ask why not?"
— Robert Kennedy


"In every work of genius, we recognize our once rejected thoughts."
— Ralph Waldo Emerson


"The human body has two ends on it: one to create with and one to sit on. Sometimes people get their ends reversed. When this happens they need a kick in the seat of the pants."
— Roger von Oech


"Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is doing new things."
— Theodore Levitt


"Innovation is the process of turning ideas into manufacturable and marketable form."
— Watts Humprey


"The innovation point is the pivotal moment when talented and motivated people seek the opportunity to act on their ideas and dreams."
— W. Arthur Porter


Creativity Killers:

"Everything that can be invented has been invented."
— Charles H. Duell, Director of US Patent Office 1899

"Sensible and responsible women do not want to vote."
— Grover Cleveland, 1905

"Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?"
— Harry M. Warner, Warner Bros Pictures, 1927

"There is no likelihood man can ever tap the power of the atom."
— Robert Miliham, Nobel Prize in Physics, 1923

"Heavier than air flying machines are impossible."
— Lord Kelvin, President, Royal Society, 1895

"Ruth made a big mistake when he gave up pitching."
— Tris Speaker, 1921

"The horse is here today, but the automobile is only a novelty - a fad."
— President of Michigan Savings Bank advising against investing in the Ford Motor Company

"Video won't be able to hold on to any market it captures after the first six months. People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night."
— Daryl F. Zanuck, 20th Century Fox, commenting on television in 1946

"What use could the company make of an electric toy?"
— Western Union, when it turned down rights to the telephone in 1878


"Innovation is the specific tool of entrepreneurs, the means by which they exploit change as an opportunity for a different business or a different service. It is capable of being presented as a discipline, capable of being learned, capable of being practiced. Entrepreneurs need to search purposefully for the sources of innovation, the changes and their symptoms that indicate opportunities for successful innovation. And they need to know and to apply the principles of successful innovation."
— Peter Drucker


"Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions"
— Albert Einstein


"I roamed the countryside searching for the answers to things I did not understand. Why shells existed on the tops of mountains along with the imprints of coral and plant and seaweed usually found in the sea. Why the thunder lasts a longer time than that which causes it and why immediately on its creation the lightening becomes visible to the eye while thunder requires time to travel. How the various circles of water form around the spot which has been struck by a stone and why a bird sustains itself in the air. These questions and other strange phenomena engaged my thought throughout my life."
— Leonardo da Vinci


"Slaying sacred cows makes great steaks."
— Dick Nicolose


"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


"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


"When you are completely absorbed or caught up in something, you become oblivious to things around you, or to the passage of time. It is this absorption in what you are doing that frees your unconscious and releases your creative imagination."
— Dr. Rollo May


"A person might be able to play without being creative, but he sure can't be creative without playing."
— Kurt Hanks and Jay Parry


"The achievement of excellence can occur only if the organization promotes a culture of creative dissatisfaction."
— Lawrence Miller


"Replace either/or thinking with plus thinking."
— Craig Hickman


"[I]in 1913, the first assembly line was implemented at Ford Motor Company. The process grew like a vine and eventually spread to all phases of the manufacture of Ford cars, and then through the entire world of heavy industry. There can be no doubt that a powerful revolution occurred at Highland Park—but it was not the assembly line itself that provided the power. Rather, it was the creation of an atmosphere in which improvement was the real product: a better, cheaper, Model T followed naturally. Every man on the payroll was invited to contribute ideas, and the good ones were implemented without delay."
— Douglas Brinkley
Wheels for the World: Henry Ford, His Company, and A Century of Progress


"Observe what is with undivided awareness."
— Bruce Lee


"History can’t give attention to what’s been lost, hidden, or deliberately buried; it is mostly a telling of success, not the partial failures that enabled success."
— Scott Berkun


"Imagination is more important than knowledge."
— Albert Einstein
On Science


"Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties."
— Erich Fromm


"It's the same each time with progress. First they ignore you, then they say you're mad, then dangerous, then there's a pause and then you can't find anyone who disagrees with you."
— Tony Benn
British politician, in the Observer


"The world is but a canvas to our imaginations."
— Henry David Thoreau


"Creativity can solve almost any problem. The creative act, the defeat of habit by originality, overcomes everything."
— George Lois


"If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original."
— Sir Ken Robinson


"The joy is in creating, not maintaining."
— Vince Lombardi


"Nothing is so embarrassing as watching someone do something that you said could not be done."
— Sam Ewing


 
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