Last modified on 9 November 2014, at 19:01


The term innovation means a new way of doing something. It may refer to incremental, radical, and revolutionary changes in thinking, products, processes, or organizations.


  • Risk is the companion of innovation. As the Chinese proverb says, ”Unless you enter the tiger’s den you cannot take the cubs.”
    • John Adair (b.1934), British author of books on business leadership. ‘The Innovative Organization’, Ch 11, Effective Innovation, revised edition (2009).
  • Innovation is more than having new ideas: it includes the process of successfully introducing them or making things happen in a new way. It turns ideas into useful, practicable and commercial products or services.
    • John Adair (b.1934), British author, writer on business leadership. ‘Taking good ideas to market’, Ch 11, Effective Innovation (2009), revised edition.
  • He that will not apply new remedies must expect new evils; for time is the greatest innovator.
    • Francis Bacon (1561-1626), ‘Of Innovations’, Essays, 24 (1625).
  • As the births of living creatures at first are ill-shapen, so are all Innovations, which are the births of time.
  • Any conversation I have about innovation starts with the ultimate goal.
    • Sergey Brin. Interviewed by Jemima Kiss for the Guardian (UK) newspaper, ‘Secrets of a nimble giant’, Wednesday 17th June 2009.
  • To innovate is not to reform.
  • Defined simply, innovation is, of course, the introduction of something new. We presume that the purpose of introducing something new into a process is to bring about major, radical change. Process innovation combines a structure for doing work with an orientation to visible and dramatic results. It involves stepping back from a process to inquire into its overall business objective, and then effecting creative and radical change to realize order-of-magnitude improvements in the way that objective is accomplished.
    • Thomas A. Davenport, Process Innovation: Reengineering Work through Information Technology, Harvard Business School Press (1993).
  • The paradox of innovation is this: CEO's often complain about lack of innovation, while workers often say leaders are hostile to new ideas.
  • I always stress to my clients that they have to be ready to change. You have to be prepared to make your innovation obsolete. But many companies aren’t prepared to do that.
    • Peter Drucker. ‘Peter’s Principles’, Context magazine, Spring, 1998.
  • Innovation implies high risk, and with high risk comes failure, so you’ve got to be prepared for that, but if you don’t risk, then your business goes stale very quickly.
    • Michael Grade, British broadcasting executive. From the transcript of his interview with Martyn Lewis, in his book, Reflections on Success (1997).
  • No decision in business provides greater potential for the creation of wealth (or its destruction, come to think of it) than the choice of which innovation to back.
    • Robert Heller, British business journalist and author. Ch. 5, ‘The Innovators’, The Decision Makers (1989).
  • Here lies one of the world's rare generalized TINAs. There Is No Alternative to creativity and innovation: these days, obscurantism and conservatism will do for you every time.
    • Robert Heller, The Decision Makers (1989).
  • Successful innovation has consistently proved to be fluid and flexible, fast and furious — that is, passionate.
    • Robert Heller. ‘Business strategy: the lessons of the 'big ideas’, 30 Jun 2009, in his blog, Thinking Managers, on, website.
  • Change is not made without inconvenience, even for worse to better.
    • Richar Hooker (1554-1600), As quoted in the Preface of Johnson’s English Dictionary
  • Innovation is new stuff that is made useful.
    • Max Mckeown, British management guru and author. The Truth About Innovation (2008), ‘Truth 1’, p. 2.
  • Creativity can only survive in organizations in which the climate is empathetic to the whole process.
  • Our need for innovation has shifted power closer to the source of that power—Us. We are the future.
    • Max Mckeown. 'Preface', The Truth About Innovation, (2008).
  • The stone that is rolling can gather no moss;
    For master and servant oft changing is loss.
    • Thomas Tusser (1524-1580), ‘Housewifely Admonitions’, Five Hundred Points of Good Husbandry.

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