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Famous Innovation Quotations

Many of the articles on Real Innovation contain famous innovation quotations. For the first time, these quotations – and other favorites – are collected in their own article.

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“He that will not apply new remedies must expect new evils; for time is the greatest innovator.”
— English philosopher and statesman Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

“I believe in being an innovator.”
— Entrepreneur Walt Disney (1901-1966)

“Innovation is the specific instrument of entrepreneurship. The act that endows resources with a new capacity to create wealth.”
— Father of modern management Peter F. Drucker (1909-2005)

“Since we live in an age of innovation, a practical education must prepare a man for work that does not yet exist and cannot yet be clearly defined.”
— Peter F. Drucker

“The enterprise that does not innovate inevitably ages and declines. And in a period of rapid change such as the present…the decline will be fast.”
— Peter F. Drucker

“Genius is one percent inspiration, and ninety-nine percent perspiration.”
— American inventor Thomas Edison (1847-1931)

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
— Thomas Edison

“You can’t solve a problem on the same level that it was created. You have to rise above it to the next level.”
— German-born theoretical physicist Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

“Only those who attempt the absurd will achieve the impossible.”
— Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher (1898-1972)

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.”
— American writer F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940)

“Never before in history has innovation offered promise of so much to so many in so short a time.”
— Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates

“We’ve reached the end of incrementalism. Only those companies that are capable of creating industry revolutions will prosper in the new economy.”
— Business strategy and management expert Gary Hamel

“Somewhere out there is a bullet with your company’s name on it. Somewhere out there is a competitor, unborn and unknown, that will render your strategy obsolete. You can’t dodge the bullet – you’re going to have to shoot first. You’re going to have to out-innovate the innovators.”
— Gary Hamel

“Innovation is the process of turning ideas into manufacturable and marketable form.”
— American software engineer Watts Humphrey

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”
— Apple co-founder Steve Jobs

“Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It’s not about money. It’s about the people you have, how you’re led, and how much you get it.”
— Steve Jobs

“Mindless habitual behavior is the enemy of innovation.”
— Change management expert Rosabeth Moss Kanter

“A problem well stated is a problem half solved.”
— American inventor Charles F. Kettering (1876-1958)

“The more original a discovery, the more obvious it seems afterwards.”
— Hungarian-born British novelist and journalist Arthur Koestler (1905-1983)

“Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is doing new things.”
— American economist Theodore Levitt (1925-2006)

“If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.”
— American father of humanistic psychology Abraham Maslow (1908-1970)

“It must be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to plan, more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to management than the creation of a new system. For the initiator has the enmity of all who would profit by the preservation of the old institution and merely the lukewarm defense in those who gain by the new ones.”
— Italian philosopher and playwright Nicolo Machiavelli (1469-1527)

“The man who cannot occasionally imagine events and conditions of existence that are contrary to the causal principle as he knows it will never enrich his science by the addition of a new idea.”
— German physicist Max Planck (1858-1947)

“Innovation is the central issue in economic prosperity”
— Competitive strategy expert Michael Porter

“The way to succeed is to double your failure rate.”
— IBM founder Thomas J. Watson, Sr.

“He who rejects change is the architect of decay.”
— British politician Harold Wilson