Ever notice how innovation seems to come out of nowhere?
We're just minding our own business when BAM!
Iphone. (Thanks, Steve Jobs!)
I'm just walkin' down the street and POW!
Reality TV. (Thanks?)
I turn 13-years-old and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
Internet. (Thanks, Al Gore!)
But none of these were a spontaneous combustion of something completely new. They all evolved from something else.
Often times innovation seems spontaneous because all the forms before it were too much like something else (and therefore not viewed as innovative). The train wasn't a train. It was a iron horse. The car wasn't a car. It was a horseless carriage. How many smart phone prototypes were there before the category of "smart phone" became a category? Yet the people making "fancy phones" or more likely "phones that can do things no one needs a phone to do" were innovating years and sometimes decades before the innovation hits our palms.
99% of innovation is never heard of. Which means 98% of innovators are unsung heroes.
So here's to the people who invented the touch screen phone no one wanted so Steve could create the one people did.
Here's to the people who invented the horseless carriage, the car with wings, the iron horse, the calculator that filled a room, and government electronic communication. You didn't realize it: but you made the car, the plane, the train, the computer and the internet.
Here's to every professor who's given away an idea to a student who knew what to do with it. Here's to every bad idea that gave way to a good one, to every self-published book that inspired a best-seller. To every bad song that yeiled a greatest hit and to every innovator that can only find success in the success of the charismatic baking their half-baked ideas.
Here's to you.
Posted on Mon, September 21, 2009