If there are two better quotes than this pair I came across yesterday, which capture the spirit and practice of innovation as I see it, I don’t know what they are:
“America is probably the best culture in the world at failing. We’re willing to navigate in a fog and keep moving forward. Our competitive advantage tends to be at the fuzzy front end of things when you’re still finding your way. Once the way has been found, we’re back at a disadvantage.”—Geoff Moore, Mohr Davidow Ventures, on the importance of investing in innovation (New York Times, 0104.09)
“We normally shoot a few takes, even if the first one is terrific, because what I’m really hoping for is a ‘mistake.’ I think that most of the really great moments in my films were not planned. They were things that naturally occurred and we said, ‘Wow, look at that—that’s something we want to keep.’ That’s when you hit the truth button with the audience.”—Robert Altman, on his Academy Award winning Gosford Park
Both emphasize the role of failure and the unplanned—the twin centerpieces of effective innovation.