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Innovation, Creativity and Heroism

Neil Alden ArmstrongNeil Armstrong died last week (25 August 2012).

He died a pilot, a professor, a scientist and a hero.

There are a lot of pilots, a lot of professors and a lot of scientists.  But if the word is to mean something worthwhile, there are few heroes.

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Hero

Like many words, the word hero has become debased somewhat, by overuse, but my 1988 Collins dictionary defines it well (although old-fashionedly in its gender assumption) as:

‘a man distinguished by exceptional courage, nobility, etc’

That’s my emphasis, please note.

Curiosity

One of Armstrong’s exceptional etc’s was curiosity.  And anyone who reads my own newsletter will know that I am a big fan of what NASA has started to achieve with its Curiosity rover, on Mars.

The development of this project was an exercise in astonishing boldness, heaped upon massive innovation, grown out of remarkable creativity.  And what makes it particularly appealing to me is that I believe curiosity to be the magic ingredient of creativity.

We choose to do these things…

In launching the Apollo space programme that put Armstrong on the moon, John F Kennedy made two key speeches: the first to Congress in May 1961 announced the goal of going to the moon.  Then, in September 1962, speaking at Rice University, he spoke at length about the project, saying:

‘We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.’

Is that not the nature of creativity and innovation?

What is the nature of heroism?

Innovation, by its very definition, is risky.  It is new, it is uncertain, it could fail.  But if it presents a challenge that is truly worthwhile, if it addresses a deep hunger for knowledge and a nobility of endeavour, then being prepared to take that risk, for its own sake, is heroism.

Neil Armstrong was a hero.

Neil Alden Armstrong was an American astronaut and the first person to walk on the Moon. He was also an aerospace engineer, U.S. Navy pilot, test pilot, and university professor.
Source: Wikipedia

Born: August 5, 1930
Died: August 25, 2012

Education:
University of Southern California(1970)
Purdue University (1947–1955)


Creative Manager's PocketbookNurturing Innovation PocketbookProblem Solving Pocketbook

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Dr Stephen R Covey

Stephen CoveyIf you were expecting Part 2 of
Let’s Sort out Poor Performance,

we have deferred it for a week,
to make space for this tribute to
Stephen Covey.

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Books that change the way people think

When business authors (like me) start writing a new book, we allow ourselves to fantasize for a while that it will be the next book to transform the way hundreds of thousands of people think about this concept or that.  We have in mind the achievements of books like “Who Moved my Cheese”, “Fish!”, “The One Minute Manager” and, of course, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. Continue reading Dr Stephen R Covey

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A Bigger Bite

What is management without vision and inspiration?

The sad news about Steve Jobs’ untimely death has spurred more blogs than anyone has the time to read, so a shorter than usual pocketblog and a simple observation.

A bigger bite out of Apple

Making the complex seem easy and the sophisticated, a doddle to use: this is more than talent, or skill: it’s art.

Last week, for the first time in my life, I heard a major news story first, not on the radio, not on the TV, not in the press, nor even from a colleague, friend, or acquaintance.  I heard it on Twitter.

… on an iPad.

The world is a better place for everyone who is bringing us new technology and more effective communication.  Yes there are compromises and a price to pay, but who would trade it?  Very few.

Steve Jobs brought us the Mac, Pixar, the iPod, iTunes and more.  But here’s the big one for me: without him, we may still think of a mouse only as a small mammal.  Without Steve Jobs, what would the move to touch screen mean?

This image is the landing page of the Apple website, as I write this blog.  (c) Apple 2011

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