quotes about creativity and innovation


For those of you who read my writings, you know that I am mildly obsessed with creativity and innovation. Here are a few inspiring quotes about creativity and innovation. Hope you enjoy!

  1. “Following your genuine intellectual curiosity is better than following whatever makes money. The internet has massively broadened the space of possible careers. Most people don’t understand this.” — Naval Ravikant
  2. “Capital isn’t so important in business. Experience isn’t so important. You can get both these things. What is important is ideas. If you have ideas, you have the main asset you need, and there isn’t any limit to what you can do with your business and your life.” — Harvey Firestone
  3. M. A. Rosanoff: “Mr. Edison, please tell me what laboratory rules you want me to observe.” Edison: “There ain’t no rules around here. We’re trying to accomplish somep’n!” — Thomas Edison
  4. “Creativity, as has been said, consists largely of rearranging what we know in order to find out what we do not know. Hence, to think creatively, we must be able to look afresh at what we normally take for granted.” — George Kneller
  5. “No great discovery was ever made without a bold guess.” — Sir Isaac Newton
  6. “It’s easy to come up with new ideas; the hard part is letting go of what worked for you two years ago, but will soon be out of date.” — Roger von Oech
  7. “We all operate in two contrasting modes, which might be called open and closed. The open mode is more relaxed, more receptive, more exploratory, more democratic, more playful and more humorous. The closed mode is the tighter, more rigid, more hierarchical, more tunnel-visioned. Most people, unfortunately spend most of their time in the closed mode. Not that the closed mode cannot be helpful. If you are leaping a ravine, the moment of takeoff is a bad time for considering alternative strategies. When you charge the enemy machine-gun post, don’t waste energy trying to see the funny side of it. Do it in the “closed” mode. But the moment the action is over, try to return to the “open” mode—to open your mind again to all the feedback from our action that enables us to tell whether the action has been successful, or whether further action is need to improve on what we have done. In other words, we must return to the open mode, because in that mode we are the most aware, most receptive, most creative, and therefore at our most intelligent.” — John Cleese
  8. “Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work.” — Chuck Close, artist
  9. “The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas.” — Dr. Linus Pauling
  10. “Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.” — Albert von Szent-Gyorgy
  11. “To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advance in science.” — Albert Einstein
  12. “Without the playing with fantasy no creative work has ever yet come to birth. The debt we owe to the play of imagination is incalculable.” — Carl Jung
  13. “When Alexander the Great visited Diogenes and asked whether he could do anything for the famed teacher, Diogenes replied: “Only stand out of my light.” Perhaps some day we shall know how to heighten creativity. Until then, one of the best things we can do for creative men and women is to stand out of their light.” — John W. Gardner
  14. “To be creative you have to contribute something different from what you’ve done before. Your results need not be original to the world; few results truly meet that criterion. In fact, most results are built on the work of others.” — Lynne C. Levesque Breakthrough Creativity
  15. “Once we rid ourselves of traditional thinking we can get on with creating the future.” — James Bertrand
  16. “There’s a way to do it better—find it.” — Thomas Edison
  17. “The essential part of creativity is not being afraid to fail.” — Edwin H. Land
  18. “Creative activity could be described as a type of learning process where teacher and pupil are located in the same individual.” — Arthur Koestler
  19. “There is no doubt that creativity is the most important human resource of all. Without creativity, there would be no progress, and we would be forever repeating the same patterns.” — Edward de Bono
  20. “Creativity is not the finding of a thing, but the making something out of it after it is found.” — James Russell Lowell (1819-1891)
  21. “The creative person wants to be a know-it-all. He wants to know about all kinds of things: ancient history, nineteenth-century mathematics, current manufacturing techniques, flower arranging, and hog futures. Because he never knows when these ideas might come together to form a new idea. It may happen six minutes later or six months, or six years down the road. But he has faith that it will happen.” — Carl Ally
  22. “The things we fear most in organizations—fluctuations, disturbances, imbalances—re the primary sources of creativity.” — Margaret J. Wheatley
  23. “Too much of our work amounts to the drudgery of arranging means toward ends, mechanically placing the right foot in front of the left and the left in front of the right, moving down narrow corridors toward narrow goals. Play widens the halls. Work will always be with us, and many works are worthy. But the worthiest works of all often reflect an artful creativity that looks more like play than work.” — James Ogilvy
  24. “The achievement of excellence can only occur if the organization promotes a culture of creative dissatisfaction.” — Lawrence Miller
  25. “When the ‘weaker’ of the two brains (right and left) is stimulated and encouraged to work in cooperation with the stronger side, the end result is a great increase in overall ability and … often five to ten times more effectiveness.” — Professor Robert Ornstein, University of California
  26. “Innovation— any new idea—by definition will not be accepted at first. It takes repeated attempts, endless demonstrations, monotonous rehearsals before innovation can be accepted and internalized by an organization. This requires courageous patience.”— Warren Bennis
  27. “The way to get good ideas is to get lots of ideas and throw the bad ones away.” — Linus Pauling
  28. “The uncreative mind can spot wrong answers, but it takes a very creative mind to spot wrong questions.” — Anthony Jay
  29. “Success is on the far side of failure.” — Thomas Watson Sr.
  30. “You don’t understand anything unless you understand there are at least 3 ways.” — M. Minsky
  31. “To have a great idea, have a lot of them.” — Thomas Edison
  32. “Companies have to nurture [creativity and motivation]—and have to do it by building a compassionate yet performance-driven corporate culture. In the knowledge economy the traditional soft people side of our business has become the new hard side.” — Gay Mitchell Executive VP, HR, Royal Bank
  33. This is one of my favorite quotes about creativity and innovation. “That so few now dare to be eccentric marks the chief danger of our time.” — John Stuart Mill
  34. “Creative thinking is not a talent, it is a skill that can be learnt. It empowers people by adding strength to their natural abilities which improves teamwork, productivity and where appropriate profits.” — Edward de Bono
  35. “The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.” — Albert Einstein
  36. “Anxiety is the hand maiden of creativity.” — Chuck Jones, Warner Bros. animator
  37. “An inventor is simply a person who doesn’t take his education too seriously. You see, from the time a person is six years old until he graduates from college he has to take three or four examinations a year. If he flunks once, he is out. But an inventor is almost always failing. He tries and fails maybe a thousand times. It he succeeds once then he’s in. These two things are diametrically opposite. We often say that the biggest job we have is to teach a newly hired employee how to fail intelligently. We have to train him to experiment over and over and to keep on trying and failing until he learns what will work.” — Charles Kettering
  38. “All human development, no matter what form it takes, must be outside the rules; otherwise we would never have anything new.” — Charles Kettering
  39. “Anyone can look for fashion in a boutique or history in a museum. The creative explorer looks for history in a hardware store and fashion in an airport.” — Robert Wieder
  40. “He who would be a man must therefore be a non-conformist.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
  41. “Discoveries are often made by not following instructions, by going off the main road, by trying the untried.” — Frank Tyger
  42. “The law of flotation was not discovered by contemplating the sinking of things, but by contemplating the floating of things which floated naturally, and then intelligently asking why they did so.” — Thomas Troward. The Dore Lectures on Mental Science 1909
  43. “Every act of creation is first of all an act of destruction.” — Picasso
  44. “If you do not the expect the unexpected you will not find it, for it is not to be reached by search or trail.” — Heraclitus
  45. “The organizations of the future will increasingly depend on the creativity of their members to survive. Great Groups offer a new model in which the leader is an equal among Titans. In a truly creative collaboration, work is pleasure, and the only rules and procedures are those that advance the common cause.” — Warren Bennis
  46. Another brilliant quote about creativity and innovation. “Genius is one percent inspiration, and ninety-nine percent perspiration.” — Thomas Edison
  47. “The business world sees a measurable and growing intelligence gap – with need for intellectual expertise constantly expanding. Available talent is decreasing even though the population is increasing. Being bombarded with information – be it in Nintendo or shogi – and being able to process it, find patterns etc., is a vital skill. One way to increase this talent potential is through games.” — Leif Edvinson. Skandia at the MindSports Olympiad 1997
  48. “Don’t worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you’ll have to ram them down people’s throats.” — Howard Aiken
  49. “Some men look at things the way they are and ask why? I dream of things that are not and ask why not?” — Robert Kennedy
  50. “In every work of genius, we recognize our once rejected thoughts.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
  51. “The human body has two ends on it: one to create with and one to sit on. Sometimes people get their ends reversed. When this happens they need a kick in the seat of the pants.” — Roger von Oech
  52. Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is doing new things.” — Theodore Levitt
  53. “Innovation is the process of turning ideas into manufacturable and marketable form.” — Watts Humprey
  54. “The innovation point is the pivotal moment when talented and motivated people seek the opportunity to act on their ideas and dreams.” — W. Arthur Porter
  55. “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s mind there are few.” — Shunryu Suzuki

If you have quotes about creativity and innovation that think should be added to this list, @ me on Twitter or Instagram.

Tiff Willson

Tiff Willson is a technology entrepreneur, investor and keynote speaker. Today she is the founder of the #1 platform for sustainable interior design www.roomhints.com

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