Waiting For The Bus
I’ve been following Scott Berkun for at least a decade. Every month or two, I mosey on over to his site to get my Berkun fix and see what he’s up to. I’ll read some of his blog posts and/or watch a video of one of his great talks.
While watching Scott’s lecture to MIT students on innovation, I paused the video to steal this insightful graphic:
People (especially in western cultures) love short and sweet stories of epiphanies and overnight success – the tip of the iceberg. They yearn to believe that world changing innovations happen in flashes of instantaneous insight, no preparation required, all glory and no sweat.
Scott’s research for his Myths Of Innovation book busts the misconception of all mental play and no work. Oh sure, the epiphanies and eureka moments do indeed occur. But odds are that the innovator has been obsessing over a specific problem; immersing herself in the meticulous details of the problem and its enveloping context. The innovator has likely been exploring solution paths for months, years, or even decades. The hard, persistent, sustained, work of mulling over ideas prepares the innovator to receive the proverbial epiphany as thrust down upon her from the heavens.
But alas, doing the hard work can only get you to the bus stop. It doesn’t guarantee that the bus will arrive – ever.