Edison on Innovation: 102 Lessons in Creativity for Business and Beyond

Overview

Praise for Edison on Innovation

"In Edison on Innovation, Alan Axelrod deconstructs the myth of the lone American inventor, Thomas A. Edison. Axelrod's insights into Edison's creative process offer many practical tips for anyone about to embark on the all-consuming creative process of starting a company or building a better mousetrap."
—Steve Hindy, founder and president of the Brooklyn Brewery and coauthor, Beer School: Bottling Success at the Brooklyn Brewery

"Creativity can ...

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Overview

Praise for Edison on Innovation

"In Edison on Innovation, Alan Axelrod deconstructs the myth of the lone American inventor, Thomas A. Edison. Axelrod's insights into Edison's creative process offer many practical tips for anyone about to embark on the all-consuming creative process of starting a company or building a better mousetrap."
—Steve Hindy, founder and president of the Brooklyn Brewery and coauthor, Beer School: Bottling Success at the Brooklyn Brewery

"Creativity can be practiced. Children do it all the time in free play. It can also be harnessed for adult invention and innovation. Edison did it successfully for sixty years, and Alan Axelrod shows how in practical, easy-to-read fashion. Adopting even some of Edison's principles can lead to greater success in almost any enterprise, for-profit and not-for-profit alike."
—G. Rollie Adams, president and CEO, Strong National Museum of Play

"In Edison on Innovation, Alan Axelrod not only examines the means and methods by which the 'Wizard of Menlo Park' created over a thousand inventions—including some that built modern civilization—he invites you to try them for yourself. What's more, he shows you how. A fascinating, very stimulating, and eminently useful book."
—Charles Phillips, American Journal of Play

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780787994594
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 2/25/2008
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 1,196,147
  • Product dimensions: 6.34 (w) x 9.11 (h) x 0.77 (d)

Meet the Author

Alan Axelrod is the author of numerousbusiness and management books, includingEisenhower on Leadership and two BusinessWeek best sellers: Patton on Leadership and Elizabeth I, CEO. He is a popular speaker on leadership and has delivered speeches at venues as diverse as the Florida City and County Management Association in Orlando and the Excellence in Government Conference in Washington, D.C. He has been featured in Fortune, BusinessWeek, and Inc. and is a frequent guest on news programs.

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Table of Contents

Preface     xi
Introduction     1
Stop Thinking and Act Like a Genius     1
Life Story of a Middle American     5
Getting Your Hands Dirty     13
Experiment with Everything     13
Become a Boy of the Nineteenth Century     14
Knowing     16
See It     17
Working Bottom Up     18
Do the Thing Itself     19
Cut and Try     21
Know Properties, Not Theories     22
Understand Hands-On: Touch Everything     24
Miss No Detail     26
Know What's Going on Inside     27
How to Use Everything     29
Profit from Disability     29
Lose No Idea     30
Be Exhaustive     31
Appreciate Your Ignorance     32
Sharpen Your Tools     33
Embrace Problems     35
Problems Are Directions     35
The Limits of the Problem Approach     37
Use Disaster     38
"No Experiments Are Useless"     40
Fertile Failure     41
Make Defects Their Own Remedy     42
Investing     45
The Ideal Executive     45
Insure the Permanency of an Investment     46
Invest in Assets     47
Start Small, Scale Up     47
Build an Invention Factory     49
Support the Shop     50
Build on the Weakest Points     51
Become a Collector     53
Entrepreneurship     55
Take a Reverse Inventory     55
Identify Markets     55
Define Yourself     56
Innovate Without Inventing     56
Inspire Confidence     58
Take the Credit     59
Be Legendary     60
Invent Systems     62
Think Bigger     62
Let Research Lead     63
Don't Stop Experimenting     64
Invite Distraction     64
Time It     65
Imagine the Future     66
Get Between     67
Creating Your Customers     69
Get the News     69
Give Praise to the Dissatisfied Customer     70
Educate the Customer     70
Learn the Market     71
Niche Thinking: Find a Small Space to Make It Big     73
Offer an Edge     75
Move into a More Hospitable Environment     76
Sell Innovation     77
The Limits of Innovation     78
Become a Brand     79
No Such Thing as Overproduction     80
Making Rain     81
Be Skeptical, Never Cynical     81
Get the Biggest Picture     82
Design What You Need     83
Create New Uses for Whatever You Have     84
"Guard Against Results"     85
Exploit the Unexpected     86
Grinding It Out     89
Learn a Lesson from The Temperate Life     89
Know the Known     90
Want Some Real Labor? Try Thinking     91
"Genius Is 1 Percent Inspiration and 99 Percent Perspiration"     92
Work the Problem     93
Redesign     94
Don't Stop with Version 1     94
The Two Masters     95
Try a Kaleidoscopic Approach     96
Exploit the Details     97
Speed     98
Plod     99
Unlimited Incentive     100
If At First You Do Succeed, Try Again Anyway     101
Managing     103
Never Neglect Logistics     103
"Mean to Succeed"      103
Plan for Spontaneity     104
Create a Shop     105
Start a School     106
Make Creativity a Predictable Process     107
Create Standards     109
Subdivide, Delegate, Empower     110
Harvest Complaints     112
Favor Fluid Structures     113
Keep Score     113
Faking Genius     117
Model It     117
Get on the Train     118
To Innovate, Imitate     121
Do It Better     123
Create by Analogy     123
Make the Problem the Solution     126
Analogy Again     130
Another Problem, Another Solution     136
New Wholes from Old Parts     136
Better to Elaborate Than Replace?     137
Prefer Evolution to Revolution     138
Make the New Familiar     139
Work Beyond the Cutting Edge     140
An Edison Chronology     143
Two Hundred Representative Patents     155
Suggested Reading     165
The Author     169
Index     171
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