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Panning for gold: no spark of genius required

Alan Larkin values the ‘eureka’ moment but says a spark of genius is not necessary for innovation

28 August 2019

Advising a roomful of senior lawyers from disparate firms that they needed a god in their heads to succeed with innovation is unorthodox, but it grabs attention. Besides, I think it’s true.

Metaphorically, of course.

My workshop opener was enthousiasmos – the Greek root of our modern day ‘enthusiasm’ – being possessed of a divinely endowed energy and drive; a compulsion to achieve an outcome; often accompanied (according to the ancient Greeks) by speaking in tongues.

But more of that later.

I like to think of enthousiasmos as the rocket fuel that propels an innovation to realisation. And the fuel tank will need to be exceptionally large to power a radical innovation through the many obstacles that will be placed in its way.

Those obstacles – financial, structural and cultural – are too numerous to list here but they are solid and obdurate.

Even if we have an endless supply of enthusi...

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