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The Innovator's Path: How Individuals, Teams, and Organizations Can Make Innovation Business-as-Usual by Madge M. Meyer

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Introduction

Innovation and the Eight Disciplines

I often get a quizzical look when I ask, “Are you an innovator?”

Some people answer right away, but most have to think about it. There are several reasons why it can be a difficult question to answer. First of all, innovators are generally recognized after the fact, not while they are innovating. For example, in 2007, Sal Khan was a hedge fund manager creating YouTube videos for his cousin in his spare time. Five years later, after founding Khan Academy, his free online school where lessons are taught via video lectures, he was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Sal Khan's achievement is a perfect example of what Marc Andreessen, the Internet visionary and co-founder and partner of the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, says in describing how innovation happens: “Companies innovate by fostering a culture that strives to identify, embrace, and reward change. The idea that seems trivial today could be game changing tomorrow.”

Like Sal, most innovators are people who put their energy, intellect, and passion into achieving particular goals or solving specific problems. Like Sal, a few come up with the right solution in the right place at the right time, striking such a chord that they end up impacting an entire industry or culture or world. Unlike Sal, however, most innovators don't quite change the world, yet their solutions can still create significant value, at a smaller scale. ...

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