What really distinguishes the people who literally change the world--those creative geniuses who give us one breakthrough after another? What differentiates Marie Curie or Elon Musk from the merely creative, the many one-hit wonders among us? The science behind the traits and quirks that drive creative geniuses to make spectacular breakthroughs is explored in this new book Quirky, by Melissa Schilling. It’s insights make for fascinating reading for all those entrepreneurs interested in innovating and changing the world in their own unique way.
Melissa Schilling, one of the world's leading experts on innovation, invites us into the lives of eight people--Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, Elon Musk, Dean Kamen, Nikola Tesla, Marie Curie, Thomas Edison, and Steve Jobs--to identify the traits and experiences that drove them to make spectacular breakthroughs, over and over again. While all innovators possess incredible intellect, intellect alone, she shows, does not create a breakthrough innovator. It was their personal, social, and emotional quirkiness that enabled true genius to break through--not just once but again and again.
Nearly all of the innovators, for example, exhibited high levels of social detachment that enabled them to break with norms, an almost maniacal faith in their ability to overcome obstacles, and a passionate idealism that pushed them to work with intensity even in the face of criticism or failure. While these individual traits would be unlikely to work in isolation--being unconventional without having high levels of confidence, effort, and goal directedness might, for example, result in rebellious behavior that does not lead to meaningful outcomes--together they can fuel both the ability and drive to pursue what others deem impossible. Schilling shares the science behind the convergence of traits that increases the likelihood of success. And, as Schilling also reveals, there is much to learn about nurturing breakthrough innovation in our own lives--in, for example, the way we run launch our businesses and organizations, create new products, manage people, and even how we raise our children.
Even though some factors have made these innovators unique and inimitable, there are also ways in which we can increase the breakthrough innovation potential in us all.
All of the innovators exhibited extreme faith in their ability to overcome obstacles from an early age.
All of the innovators pursued their projects with remarkable zeal, often working extremely long hours and at great personal cost. Most were driven by idealism, a superordinate goal that was more important than their own comfort, reputation or families.
There are very strong commonalities among exceptional breakthrough innovators that make these people similar to one another and also make them atypical, or quirky.
About the author
Melissa A. Schilling is the John Herzog Chair Professor of Management at New York University Stern School of Business. She received her Bachelor of Science in business administration from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She received her Doctor of Philosophy in strategic management from the University of Washington. Professor Schilling is a world-renown expert in innovation strategy. Her research focuses on innovation and strategy in high technology industries such as smartphones, videogames, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, electric vehicles, and renewable energies. She is particularly interested in platform dynamics, networks, creativity, and breakthrough innovation. Her textbook, Strategic Management of Technological Innovation (now in its fifth edition), is the number one innovation strategy text in the world. In addition to her new book, Quirky, she is also co-author of Strategic Management: An integrated approach (now in its twelfth edition). Her research in innovation and strategy has earned her awards such as the National Science Foundation's CAREER Award, and the Best Paper in Management Science and Organization Science for 2007 Award. Her research has also appeared in leading academic journals such as Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Management Science, Organization Science, Strategic Management Journal, and Journal of Economics and Management Strategy, Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, Research Policy, and Harvard Business Review. She is on the advisory board of the American Antitrust Association, and she sits on the editorial review boards of Organization Science, Strategic Organization, Strategy Science, and Academy of Management Discoveries. Professor Schilling teaches courses in technology and innovation management, strategic management, corporate strategy, and strategy for social-mission-based organizations.
Why LoA loves it….
As entrepreneurs, we are inspired by others in life and in business who are able to breakthrough and create fascinating and unique solutions to key challenges or needs in our world, and in the process build game-changing businesses. In her new and fascinating book, Quirky, Professor Melissa Schilling uses her extensive knowledge in innovation management and strategic thinking to unearth the similarities between the breakthrough innovators of the millennium—and those still to come. It gives some fascinating insights into how we can incorporate different thought processes, approaches, and a laser-focus into our own businesses and lives to enhance our chances of success and fulfilment. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and ceo of Lionesses of Africa