Getting better at innovation

This post would have been “Leonardo da Vinci – Artist and Engineer – Part 3”. But the real heart of this post is how to prepare for (and get better at) innovation. One of Leonardo’s strengths was his curiosity . He never stopped wondering “why?”. He also brought his “creative” side and his “practical” side together to find new ways of looking at a problem I believe that anyone can be an innovator. In fact, we all are innovators. .

In addition to curiosity and his creative/practical perspectives, Leonardo brought one more, very important, element to his work: fundamentals. Leonardo studied for weeks, even months, exploring the key principles that would affect his inventions. The results speak for themselves.

Leonardo understood the key practical principles

Leonardo da Vinci approached engineering more comprehensively than many of his contemporaries when they designed solutions for specific applications. Leonardo solved the immediate engineering problem, but he went beyond the specific application and conducted systematic studies of the fundamental characteristics of the associated design “building blocks” (e.g. gears, screws, and levers). As a result he, he gained a deep understanding of both theoretical and practical engineering principles that enabled him to surpass many of his peers. Five hundred years later, Leonardo still offers a compelling role model for modern engineers and a challenge to modern academia.

Understand the Basics – the Fundamentals of your work

So, what are the fundamentals that you understand about your work? Is there more that you should know? You already have ideas for how things could be improved… and your ability to innovate increases with your understanding of the foundational principles for your work – whether you are a florist, a mechanical engineer or a senior accountant. We all have the ability to innovate, to “create something better”. But the more we understand of “how things work”, the more successful we can be at identifying innovative new ways of doing things.

Learn – so that you can “create something better”

I’d encourage you to learn (and continue learning) the fundamentals of your discipline… so that You can innovate more effectively.

Best of luck!

– Dave Ranson

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