innovative technology

Innovation Insight: You Don’t Have To Be an Inventor to Be an Innovator

One of a series by Ken Tencer, Spyder Works CEO

inventor-vs-innovator

Many people confuse the words innovator and inventor; they can be synonymous, but they don’t have to be. Some of the world’s most successful and well known innovators aren’t inventors at all; they are masters of the art of taking an idea or concept and making it better. Often, they are able to make good ideas into the best ideas of all time.

Take Steve Jobs, for example. Famous author, Malcom Gladwell, has dubbed him, “The Tweaker” in a recent article he wrote for The New Yorker. Jobs was a masterful innovator because he was able to take the ideas of others and turn them into winning products and concepts. For example, Jobs got the ideas for the main characteristics of the MacIntosh operating system from Xerox PARC, stemming from a famous visit there in 1979. The revolutionary iPad evolved from an engineer at Microsoft’s idea for a tablet computer. His idea made use of a stylus – an old idea that wasn’t revolutionary enough for Jobs. He did away with the stylus and the iPad made history as one of the most coveted devices of its era.

The moral to this innovation story? You don’t have to reinvent the wheel to become an epic success.

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Innovation Insight: “Smooth, uninterrupted airflow with no unpleasant buffeting”

One of a series by Ken Tencer, Spyder Works CEO

With Dyson’s new bladeless fans, generation of kids will be denied the chance to stick pencils through the screen of the household fan to see what happens when they touch the spinning blades. Otherwise, you have to love U.K.-based Dyson, because its innovations are so obvious, yet so breakthrough: safe, bladeless fans that move air without the rumbling and rattling, using technology patterned after jet engines; dual-cyclonic vacuums that suck up more dirt, more efficiently; and airport hand driers that really work.

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Innovation Insight: “Type and navigate with ease”

One of a series by Ken Tencer, Spyder Works CEO

Research in Motion is takings its lumps these days, but I am impressed by RiM’s new 9900 series BlackBerry. Since fully touch-screen phones came out, I have resisted. I am not a short-form, emoticon kind of guy, and I never felt touch-screen phones were conducive to the long-form e-mails that occupy my day.

I always hoped somebody would combine a sturdy keypad with touch-screen navigation. Well, BlackBerry’s done it. Who knows, if the financial pundits would only leave them to their innovating ways, we might see more of the ground-breaking innovation that took RiM to the top for so long.

As tough as it may be, every company needs to block out the noise and keep a focused eye on new and relevant product introductions. Always.

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