Tinkering is good; but it is not necessarily innovation
Bruce Kasanoff (from Opportunity Shaper, Now Possible) just wrote a blog article called, “Why Tinkering Around is the Key to Success” It’s on linkedin.
He starts the article this way,
"Here is a quick way to judge whether your company will continue to be successful: can you tell your CEO that you spent the morning tinkering around with an idea? If the answer is yes, you are in good shape. If no, start looking for another job. Successful companies know that the path to innovation isn't a straight line. Profitable growth is a messy, roller-coaster process that involves almost as many setbacks as victories. If you succeed in everything you do, you aren't aiming nearly high enough. I get frustrated when companies talk and talk and talk about innovation, while simultaneously making it nearly impossible for their employees to tinker around. Tinkering is what drives innovation, not talking."
There is much that I agree with in Bruce Kasanoff’s article, but there are some big disagreements as well. In the spirit of lively conversation, here are my comments:
Bruce Kasanoff, you are correct. There are a few reasons why tinkering is so valuable: (1). You allow your brain to enter another state of being – it’s not linear, driven, goal-oriented. If you learn to recognize that “creative/tinkering” brain-state then you can enter it more easily and on-demand. The ability to move into and out of states-of-being is very valuable for serial innovators. You need to learn to develop that skill if you want to innovate reliably. (2). Developing your persistence ‘muscle’ is also vital to innovators because innovation generally takes effort and you cannot cave-in at the first obstacle. There are lots of reasons why innovators need to persist. It is a basic characteristic of great serial innovators.