Peter Drucker said, “Every organization—not just businesses—needs one core competence: innovation.” It’s nearly impossible to find a more prescient business brain or writer than Peter Drucker.

There are many other voices emerging in the growing conversation about innovation. I find inspiration in the work of Daniel Pink. His books, A Whole New Mind and Drive are not necessarily about inovation per se, but both books touch on concepts and ideas that are – in my opinion anyway – central to innovation: competencies and motivation.

Innovative ideas bubble up from an amazing variety of sources. But innovative ideas rarely emerge in a vacuum. Innovation usually requires context and focus. One of the most fascinating paradoxes of innovative thinking is the need to engage both sides of the brain. It’s not just right brain thinking that leads to innovation, but without a doubt we need our right brain to innovate. But we also need to analyze and focus, and that’s why we also need to engage our left brain in the process. In Innovate Like Edison, by Sarah Miller Caldicott and Michael J. Gelb, you can find some assessments where you can explore how well you function in this right/left brain space.

Motivation is another huge factor in every successful innovation. Daniel Pink, in Drive, describes intrinsic motivation beautifully. And it’s frequently the simple need of people to explore something, think about something and do something for which there is no apparent short term reward the leads to some of the most amazing innovations.

I remain convinced innovation is the lifeblood of organizations that will succeed in this newly emerging and rapidly changing economic and global community we now inhabit. My hope is to help push this idea a little forward, even if it’s little tiny increments.

Here are a few resources I’ve found inspiring, motivating and interesting in my research and reading into innovation.

The Discipline of Innovation, by Peter F. Drucker, Harvard Business Review, 1985

A Whole New Mind, by Daniel Pink

Drive, by Daniel Pink

Innovate Like Edison, by Sarah Miller Caldicott and Michael J. Gelb

The Seeds of Innovation, by Elaine Dundon


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