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The Myths of Innovation by Scott Berkun

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Finding paths of innovation

While there are no maps, there are attitudes that help. Any good survival training course teaches not just skills, but ways to think. The comparison between innovation and survival is apt; to follow the comparison, here are ways of thinking about paths that can shift the odds.

  • Self-knowledge. Every tough decision is made in part by how the innovator feels about herself: none of us is as logical as we like to believe. Being aware of the environments or challenges that inspire the best results for your personality helps you make smart path choices. The best business opportunity might be the least interesting personal challenge, and vice versa. Knowing yourself, and your team, is a big advantage and should guide decisions. It's one of the few uncertainties of innovation that, given time, can always be converted into certain knowledge and used as an asset.

  • Be intense, but step back. Many successful innovators work passionately, but periodically step back and ask, "What is happening in the world that impacts my goals?" or "What else is my work good for?" Innovation is powered by the combination of intensity and a willingness to reconsider assumptions, minimizing the chance of following dead ends and maximizing the potential for finding better paths. Honest friends can lend their perspectives if asked—you just have to be ready to hear hard truths. It's difficult to bet years on an idea and maintain the courage to question, rethink, and fully commit again.

  • Grow ...

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