Jeff Bezos on Innovation: Don’t Wait Out For The Lone Genius

Written by Priti Ambani

Oct 21, 2013

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Jeff Bezos has been in the news for his business acumen and for his recent purchase of The Washington Post. In his first interview after the purchase, Bezos spoke with Inc on innovation. His quote on innovation stuck out for me.

Jeff Bezos, says –

“In my experience, the way invention, innovation and change happen is [through] team effort. There’s no lone genius who figures it all out and sends down the magic formula. You study, you debate, you brainstorm and the answers start to emerge. It takes time. Nothing happens quickly in this mode. You develop theories and hypotheses, but you don’t know if readers will respond. You do as many experiments as rapidly as possible. ‘Quickly’ in my mind would be years.”

There is no lone genius.

I think Jeff Bezos has struck the nail on its head with that statement. With the quote and the rest of the interview, he stresses on the fact that companies should not think of innovation as an idea that drops from the sky. Usually it is a long continuous process that never stops really. And it is collaborative – great ideas do not always stem from a group behind closed doors. It comes into being from a wide group of stakeholders – ones that are intimately familiar with your mechanism or even those who are standing afar watching.

Some of the key issues that companies grapple with-

  • How to create an environment that is a catalyst for thinking outside the box, without being forced and unnatural?
  • How to attract the most valuable ideas?
  • How to manage ideas and execute them to fail fast and learn?

Your organization culture is being built everyday and you can choose to pay attention to it or not. If you look hard at the questions above, you will realize that this is how most startups work and innovate – and this culture is an envy of most large corporations. So how can you scale startup innovation to work in larger organizations?

What has worked for your company? Share via a comment.

About Author

About Author

Priti Ambani

Priti Ambani is the Global Media Director at Crowdsourcing Week, a thought leader and prominent writer on social enterprises, start-ups and web 2.0 businesses. Previously, Priti grew Ecopreneurist, a nascent green business blog into a notable social business resource as site director and managing editor. Working from the ground up, she has developed successful business and communications strategies for impact organizations that aim to create social, environment and economic wealth. Priti is a Professional Engineer and holds a Master’s degree in Biological Resources Engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park.Priti lives in the Washington DC Metro area with her husband and sons, is a lover of the outdoors, traveling and from-scratch cooking!

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