Habits of a Innovator

What are the most important habits that helped the most successful inventors in history to get their insights?

In the book Innovators DNA the authors give the three key habits that can help everybody to have creative ideas. It all starts with the courage to question status quo! You can’t innovate unless you question the rule others made.

The main habits are:

  1. Questioning: Every innovation starts with a question. So great innovators make it a habit to question rules. The questions should outnumber the answers! Make it a habit to ask “Why?” frequently.
  2. Observing: Successful Innovators watch their surroundings and make notes. Make it a habit to watch and observer your surroundings, be it customers, products, technologies etc.
  3. Networking: Great Innovators have a diverse network of people for very different backgrounds, this helps with getting insights from very different perspectives.
  4. Experimenting: Always try to test your ideas and make diverse experiences. Try new things, expose yourself to things you never done before. Make it a habit to test your ideas in the real world in some way.


You can buy the book I got this from here.

Creativity by Mihaly Csikszentmihaly, Book Notes

Here are my notes:

Without access to a domain, and without the support of a field, a person has no chance of recognition.
So the first step toward a more creative life is the cultivation of curiosity and interest, that is, the allocation of attention to things for their own sake.
Creative individuals are childlike in that their curiosity remains fresh even at ninety years of age; they delight in the strange and the unknown. And because there is no end to the unknown, their delight also is endless
Try to be surprised by something every day. It could be something you see, hear, or read about
Be open to what the world is telling you. Life is nothing more than a stream of experiences—the more widely and deeply you swim in it, the richer your life will be.
Try to surprise at least one person every day . Instead of being your predictable self, say something unexpected, express an opinion that you have not dared to reveal, ask a question you wouldn’t ordinarily ask. Or break the routine of your activities:
Write down each day what surprised you and how you surprised others to record each evening the most surprising event that happened that day and your most surprising action.
When something strikes a spark of interest, follow it .
Wake up in the morning with a specific goal to look forward to . Creative individuals don’t have to be dragged out of bed; they are eager to start the day discover at least one thing every day that is worth waking up for. Choose a particular task that, compared to the rest of the day, should be relatively interesting and exciting
On FLow:
If you do anything well, it becomes enjoyable
To keep enjoying something, you need to increase its complexity
Nor can you enjoy the same activity over and over, unless you discover new challenges, new opportunities in it. Otherwise it becomes boring
After creative energy is awakened, it is necessary to protect it. We must erect barriers against distractions, dig channels so that energy can flow more freely, find ways to escape outside temptations and interruptions.
What can you do to build up habits that will make it possible to control attention
  • Take charge of your schedule
  • Make time for reflection and relaxation. These are times when you should not expect any task to be done, any decision to be reached. You should just indulge in the luxury of reflection for its own sake. Combine these periods of reflection with some other task that requires a certain amount of attention, but not all of it. Preferably this should involve some physical or kinesthetic component. Creative individuals usually sleep longer and claim that if they cut down on sleeptime the originality of their ideas suffers
  • Find out what you like and what you hate about life. Creative people always know the reason for what they are doing, and they are very sensitive to pain, to boredom, to joy, to interest, and to other emotion.
    1. The first thing is to keep a careful record of what you did each day and how you felt about it.
    2. Start doing more of what you love, less of what you hate.
    3. Develop what you lack .
The point here is that everyone can strengthen the missing end of the polarity. When an extrovert learns to experience the world like an introvert, or vice versa, it is as if he or she discovered a whole missing dimension to the world that creative persons are able to integrate is being open and receptive on the one hand, and focused and hard-driving on the other
  • Aim for complexity
To do so we need to explore and strengthen those traits that are now lacking, to learn to shift from openness to discipline, within a context of curiosity and awe for the miracle of life.
They question the obvious—not out of contrariness but because they see the shortcomings of accepted explanations before the rest
Look at problems from as many viewpoints as possible .
How you define a problem usually carries with it an explanation of what caused it
A good way to learn problem finding in everyday life is to stop yourself when you sense you have a problem and give it the best shot at a formulation.
This happened because the boss dislikes me.” As soon as you do this, reverse the formulation : “It happened because I dislike the boss.”
Nevertheless, it is extremely important to identify the nature of the problem, because what you will do next depends on it. By naming the problem and attributing a cause to it you will shape not only the past but, more important, the future.
Figure out the implications of the problem . Once you have created a formulation, you can begin to entertain possible solutions.
Implement the solution . Solving problems creatively involves continuous experimentation and revision learn from the emerging work;
Produce as many ideas as possible
First, come up with as many options as you can think of
Have as many different ideas as possible . Quantity is important, but try to avoid redundancy.
Try to produce unlikely ideas .

The Art of Innovation by Tom Kelley

The Art of Innovation by Tom Kelley

We all want to generate Innovation in our field, here are three main points to do so:

1. Make a “Bug List”: Write down where and when you encounter problems in your daily life, it does not matter how minor they might seem. You might find something you can solve for other people.

2. Rapid Prototyping: Build something out of your ideas as soon as possible don’t fall into the trap of theorizing forever.

3. To generate new ideas you have to immerse yourself into a field, read books, blogs etc. but most importantly talk to people from that field, they can tell you more than every book.

4. Break the rules, rules are made by man can therefore   be broken by man.

Accidental Genius by Mark Levy Notes

Freewriting the art of expresing ideas by writing on paper. This book tells us how it works.

Secrets of freewriting:

  1. Try easy. Begin your writing by reminding yourself to try easy.
  2. Write fast and continously. Your “inappropriate” thoughts are where the action is. Write as quickly as your hand can move without stopping
  3. Work against a limit. Set a timer! 10-20 minutes. By that you get motivated.
  4. Write the way you think. Dont explain things while you write its only for you not for someone else.
  5. Go with the thought. Choose a problem and write about why is bugs you.
  6. Redirect your attention. Focus-changers are simple questions to ask yourself, in writing, that help you redirect your mind toward the unexplored parts of a situation.
By writing we focus on what we think.

Promp your writting. Something to focus on while writing. Like ending sentences:
“I dont workout hard because ….” Keep them short and open ended.

In freewriting, always explain to yourself why you think what you think. Because …

If you are stuck put down simple facts.

Every idea you come up with could be a stepping stone to a big one.

Use assumptions to get unstuck.
There are two ways to play with the rules: (1) Pretend an unfamiliar part of the problem is familiar, and (2) pretend a familiar part of the problem is unfamiliar. Follow the consequences of each, and see if playing with them creates movement in the situation.

Getting a Hundred Ideas Is Easier Than Getting One. Dont try to search for one idea but many. The “best idea game”

One way of seeing a seemingly fi xed situation differently is to tell a lie about it.  Who are you lying to? Yourself. You cant be realistic all the time.

Put up a paper Dialog between you and some one else. Like Steve Jobs? What would the answer to your questions. Or to the Future you? With any one you can imagine.
Rule #1: Put meat on the characters before making them speak. Describe them and vividly experience them in front of you.
Rule #2: Get the characters to make you speak. Let him ask me questions.

The Writing Marathon:

  1. Start with 20 minutes of writing about the topic
  2. Then review, What should you investigate further? Find a starter thought.
  3. Write 20 minutes about the startet thought.
  4. After review it again and find a new starter point and start again.
  5. 6 – 7 hour
Make it new.” Each time you formulate a starter thought, demand that it sends you in a new direction. Dont duplicate what you wrote before.
Force yourself into uncharted waters, even if doing so seems artifi cial or uncomfortable. Pursue novelty and uncertainty; head toward anxiety. Make yourself write and think about ideas that aren’t traditionally “you.” Get beyond the point where you write about what you know.

Be on the lookout for repeading patterns in writing. If you put honest thinking into your written words, you spot situations that yawn to be changed.

It does not have to have to be super logical.

Freeware and Business books:

  • If, while reading, you have questions you’d like to ask the author, write them in the book’s margin. The same thing goes for an insight.
  • Mostly only what is highlightes is “visible” when re-reading it. So dont be greedy to mark stuff.
  • Through writing, try applying the author’s ideas to your own life. Even if you disagree with what the author says, that disagreement suggests that you know what should be done. Write about this knowing.
Why toss your writing when it can help you down the line? Cut your freewriting into thought chunks, and toss each chunk in an appropriately named document on your computer.

Before approaching your day’s writing, give yourself some uncomplicated, easy-to-do rules to follow. Doing so will focus you.

Do a series of freewriting warm-ups. Then, do more focused freewriting about the topic that’s meaningful to you. Cut away what’s not working, arrange the remaining pieces in a provisional order, and make an outline so you know what you have to work with. Write any missing ideas and transitions. Edit. Edit. Edit. Tah-da! A fi nished piece.

Ignore Everybody by Hugh MacLeod Notes

The more original your idea is, the less good advice other people will be able to give you.


Your idea has not to be huge but it has to be yours.

Time, effort and stamina seperates successful from failure.

“And then as soon as they get a foothold inside the inner circle, you soon realize they never really understood your idea in the first place, they just want to be on the winning team. And the weirdest part is, they don’t seem to mind sabotaging your original idea that got them interested in the first place, in order to maintain their newfound social status.”

Often Employers want 110% from you but are not willing to give anything in return. Fuck them!

The artist (everyone) is much more creative with very few tools then with many.

Dont try to stand out of crowds, avoid them completely.

Never compare your inside with some ones elses outside.

There are no shortcuts dont try to find any.

The people that trust you pay your bills in hard time no one else.

The best way to get approval is not to need it.

Blog to get discoverd/ gain advantage.

If you are successful, it’ll never come from the direction you predicted. Same is true if you fail

“Work hard. Keep at it. Live simply and quietly. Remain humble. Stay positive. Create your own luck. Be nice. Be polite.”