If you were to ask five different people to define innovation, you’re likely to get back ten different answers. This is because innovation can mean different things to different people. In addition to this, innovation exists along a continuum, from combining multiple, iterative improvements to existing areas all the way to the rare disruptive innovation.
Not only is innovation exciting, but continual innovation can be inspiring. As such, below is a compilation of twenty quotes on innovation, meant to help define and highlight different perspectives on the processes and products of continual innovation.
“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”
— Steve Jobs
“Without change there is no innovation, creativity, or incentive for improvement. Those who initiate change will have a better opportunity to manage the change that is inevitable.”
— William Pollard
“For good ideas and true innovation, you need human interaction, conflict, argument, debate.”
— Margaret Heffernan
“The only way you survive is you continuously transform into something else. It’s this idea of continuous transformation that makes you an innovation company.”
— Ginni Rometty
“There’s no good idea that cannot be improved on.”
— Michael Eisner
“The five essential entrepreneurial skills for success: Concentration, Discrimination, Organization, Innovation, and Communication.”
— Harold S. Geneen
“Learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.”
— William Pollard
“There is no innovation and creativity without failure. Period.”
— Brene Brown
“Innovation requires an experimental mindset.”
— Denise Morrison
“In the long run, competition makes us better; it drives innovation.”
— Dennis Muilenburg
“Innovation comes out of great human ingenuity and very personal passions.”
— Megan Smith
“Innovation is serendipity, so you don't know what people will make.”
— Tim Berners-Lee
"The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect, but by the play instinct arising from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the object it loves."
— Carl Jung
"Vision is the art of seeing things invisible."
— Jonathan Swift
"The best way to predict the future is to create it."
— Alan Kay
"Innovation almost always is not successful the first time out. You try something and it doesn't work and it takes confidence to say we haven't failed yet. … Ultimately you become commercially successful."
— Clayton Christensen
“To understand businesses and startups . . . You have to do the truly contrarian thing: You have to think for yourself.”
— Peter Thiel
"Big thoughts are fun to romanticize, but it's many small insights coming together that bring big ideas into the world."
— Scott Berkun
"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."
— Meg Wheatley
“Innovation opportunities do not come with the tempest but with the rustling of the breeze.”
— Peter Drucker