What Did Edison Get Wrong About Innovation? Creative Mastermind Stephen Shapiro Answers

Almost every person alive has heard of Thomas Edison’s quote about “failing” 700 (or 10,000, depending on the source) times in his search to find a suitable, long-lasting filament for the electric light bulb.

“Innovators embrace this [idea] because it validates the development process used by so many,” says innovation expert Stephen Shapiro, author of Best Practices Are Stupid ( http://amzn.to/BestPracticesAreStupid ). “But the truth is that failing costs time – and dough as well.”

So is there another option? Shapiro says there is – and offers an excellent alternative in the challenge-driven model, which is described by InnoCentive founder Dr. Alph Bingham as a “massively parallel process where failures and success happen at the same time.”

Interestingly, this process has the same number of failures, but Shapiro points out there are major differences to consider:

One: The failures happen in parallel rather than in a series, dramatically shortening the time spent getting to the solution.

Two: The cost of failure is pushed into the market and the organization only pays for the time invested. Or in other words, one only pays for a successful solution.

With this model, companies get dozens or hundreds of people working to find solutions – when only one solution is needed. This is very cost-effective. The key is to find developers who will agree to be paid based on results rather than on time invested. (Sign up for Shapiro’s monthly Free Innovation Tips at http://www.steveshapiro.com/keynotes/ )

“So while Thomas Edison was a great inventor, even he might try an entirely different approach to developing a sustainable filament if he were around today,” says Shapiro ( http://SteveShapiro.com ). “Perhaps we all should try this too.”

Stephen Shapiro’s most recent book, Best Practices Are Stupid explores the challenge-driven model and other paradigm-breaking ideas, and can be found on Amazon.com at http://amzn.to/BestPracticesAreStupid

About Stephen Shapiro:
Stephen Shapiro is one of the foremost authorities on innovation and collaboration, and has personally touched hundreds of thousands of lives in over 40 countries. While Stephen’s insights apply to virtually any organization, big or small, he has contributed to shifting the innovation culture for such Fortune 500 organization as Staples, GE, BP, Johnson & Johnson, Fidelity Investments, Pearson Education, Nestle, and Bristol-Myers Squibb. As the founder and creator of a 20,000 person internal innovation practice within Accenture, and advisor to hundreds of organizations worldwide, Stephen possesses a rare and extensive arsenal of tools, allowing him to arm any organization with the knowledge they need to shift their most threatening challenges.

Stephen can be reached at 617-379-1177 or online at http://SteveShapiro.com

Press Contact:
Stephen Shapiro
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Quincy, MA


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