Find your innovation garage

by. Anne Legg

For a while, it seemed like all the best innovations started from an idea incubated in someone’s garage. But if you don’t happen to be a garage start-up, don’t despair. That was just one phase of in the history of innovation. Paradigm-shifting ideas can be born just about anywhere, and understanding how innovation has moved from individual inspiration to collaborative discovery can help you put more innovation into your organization’s future.

According to an article in the Harvard Business Review, the history of innovation has four distinct phases.

Phase 1: Lone Inventors

For a long time, great innovations came from individuals working by themselves and on their accord. A few examples include Leonardo Da Vinci, Johannes Gutenberg (father of the printing press), and Henry Ford (inventor of the automotive assembly line).

Phase 2: Corporations Connected to Lone Innovators

Corporations gradually evolved from innovation exploiters to innovation creators through the creation of corporate labs. Companies harnessed the power of innovative thinkers by bringing them together for the purpose of creating new products or processes. Many of the outcomes of this evolution can be seen today: DuPont brought us nylon and Proctor &Gamble brought us products like Crest and Pampers.

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