By Alan Axelrod
During this interesting exploration of 1 of the main celebrated and cutting edge minds, best-selling writer Alan Axelrod cuts during the myths and reverence surrounding Edison’s “genius” to teach how the inventor used to be, in reality, a regular guy who created impressive paintings. whereas many folks think that creativity, like genius, is whatever that simply occurs accidentally or future, Edison’s existence demonstrates that creativity of the very optimum order can certainly be summoned up at will, or even lowered to a competent operating technique and set of ideas.
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Extra info for Edison on Innovation: 102 Lessons in Creativity for Business and Beyond
That was all well and good. But even as he put his men to work in the chemical lab, he himself took an entirely different direction, sketching out a “receiving needle [that] never touches the surface of the record but is itself electrified and . . ” It was an extraordinary idea. Edison had conceived nothing less than a kind of magnetic pickup or playback head, which could be called a hybrid of mechanical and electromagnetic recording technologies, except for the fact that the electromagnetic technology (namely the tape recorder) did not yet exist.
The different approaches succeeded or failed in varying degrees, and his evaluations reflected that reality. Moreover, while it might seem natural to pursue one or more of the eight devices that proved to be “good,” he seems to have been particularly intrigued by the one or two that “worked rather bad,” because they nevertheless embodied a sound principle, which, with further refinement, might prove highly useful. This was no process of mere trial and error. It was trial and evaluation, the acquisition of knowledge.
His method of testing his prototypes always included intense observation over an extended period. Edison never regarded what he made as just so many black boxes, devices that either worked or failed to work, that either sold or failed to sell. Always, he peered inside and strove to understand precisely what was going on. The knowledge he gained from these testing observations was rarely reduced to theory. Instead, the inventor took careful note of the working properties of a device and all of its components.
Edison on Innovation: 102 Lessons in Creativity for Business and Beyond by Alan Axelrod