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12 Quotes on Innovative Thinking

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A friend recently asked how I manage to keep so interested and inspired on the topics of innovation and collaboration. I said, “I collect quotes.”

At the start of every week I choose one and put it over my desk for that week. I read them to learn. They remind me that all the great and successful things that have been done in the world were done by people who believed in the power of working together, of taking failure as a pit stop on the road to success, who understood that an idea is only a thought until it is realized, and who knew that any great innovation is the sum total of all others that existed before.

Above all, these quotes highlight the internal compass of people who made a difference because they learned what innovation, invention, and collaboration really mean. They become the distillation of these teachers’ lives.

Below is a collection of quotes on innovation assembled by Mitch Ditkoff, author of the book Awake at the Wheel: Getting Your Great Ideas Rolling (in an Uphill World) and the insanely popular blog, Heart of Innovation. This is just a taste of the 100 inspiring quotes on innovation waited for you at Ditkoff’s site.

Please feel free to add your own favorites in the comments on this post.

1. “If you have always done it that way, it is probably wrong.” — Charles Kettering

2. “There’s no good idea that cannot be improved on.” — Michael Eisner

3. “Swipe from the best, then adapt.” — Tom Peters

4. “What is now proved was once only imagined.” — William Blake

5. “If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.” — Abraham Maslow

6. “The way to get good ideas is to get lots of ideas and throw the bad ones away.” — Linus Pauling

7. “Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.” — General George Patton

8. “Whenever anything is being accomplished, it is being done, I have learned, by a monomaniac with a mission.” — Peter Drucker

9. “I failed my way to success.” — Thomas Edison

10. “After years of telling corporate citizens to ‘trust the system,’ many companies must relearn instead to trust their people — and encourage their people to use neglected creative capacities in order to tap the most potent economic stimulus of all: idea power.” — Rosabeth Moss Kanter

11. “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” — Alan Kay

12. “I am looking for a lot of people who have an infinite capacity to not know what can’t be done.” — Henry Ford

Source: “100 Awesome Quotes on What It Takes to Innovate,” Innovation Excellence, 05/31/10