There is no such thing as a new idea

Everybody seems to be aware of the importance of innovation, but do you really know why it is worth to be innovative?

There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn and they make new and curious combinations. We keep on turning and making new combinations indefinitely; but they are the same old pieces of colored glass that have been in use through all the ages.”

Mark Twain wrote this provocative statement in his autobiography.

We all know him for being the author of some of the most famous American novels, however not everyone knows that Twain was fascinated with science and innovation. Indeed, he became a friend for life with Nikola Tesla, and the two spent a lot of time together in Tesla’s laboratory. The American author also patented three inventions.

Fast forward to our times, the essayist Nassim Nicholas Taleb stated in an expert interview with the Future of Leadership Initiative (FLI) that most of the so-called innovation is just “Neomania” – old wine in new bottles.

So, do new ideas exist? What is innovation? Is it possible to recognize “true innovation” and distinguish it from merely old ideas that have been refurbished?

Innovation is not a new phenomenon: the history of mankind is studded with inventions and technological innovations that have changed people’s lives.

However, in spite of its obvious importance, innovation has not always got the attention it deserves. This rapidly changed in the last years, and currently “innovation” has become a commonplace in the business world.

Everybody seems to be aware of the importance of innovation, but do you really know why it is worth to be innovative? We have established 3 reasons why.

3 reasons why true Innovation counts:

  • From the individual perspective, we constantly innovate. We change our route to work to become more efficient, we innovate to face and solve recurrent problems and to improve the quality of our life.
  • From the perspective of society, innovation offers the chance to foster the countries´ economic growth and at the same time to improve the quality-of-life standards. Innovation in our societies can also offer answers to the modern global challenges, such as environmental change and demographic growth.

These are the main reasons why the Future of Leadership Initiative (FLI) decided to investigate True Innovation and offer insights to leaders during the FLI Cycle 2017/18, in order to help them enhance the quality life of their people, the organizational performance and more in general the growth of the overall society.

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