A Simple Technique to Boost Innovation

June 17, 2024


Edison famously said, “I haven’t failed. I’ve found 10,000 ways that do not work.” After 20+ years of studying creativity, I’ve learned the best innovators are the best experimenters.

A simple technique to boost your results: create a To-Test List.

Keep a running list on your phone and add any ideas—big, small, weird—judgment-free. Weekly, pick one or two to test.

Quickly discard failures and double down on successes. Simply put, ongoing experimentation is the antidote to innovation risk.

Meanwhile, the mere existence of the list boosts your creative output, serving as a pervasive reminder to experiment.

Go the extra inch.

Tape Measure

Since childhood, we’ve been told to “go the extra mile,” but this cliché often feels overwhelming and impractical.

I prefer the concept of the extra inch. Infinitely more accessible. Deeply practical. Dead simple.

Instead of going the extra mile once or twice a year, reframe your approach to go the extra inch with rhythmic consistency. The extra inch is that little bit of extra effort applied to our everyday work and life…

  • The surprising language choice in an email.
  • The unexpected 2-minute review that makes your pitch bulletproof.
  • The provocative question during a meeting.
  • The unasked dishwasher cycle to delight your spouse.
  • The extra volunteer hour in your community.

The extra inch is the stuff of greatness. It’s what separates you from mediocrity and gets you noticed and promoted.

Instead of going the extra mile once or twice a year, reframe your approach to go the extra inch with rhythmic consistency. Daily extra inches will boost your results by a country mile.

The future of healing is here.

Smart Bandage

A typical bandage is about as low-tech as you can get. But imagine a modern bandage that protects, monitors, and heals. Developed by visionaries like Dr. Geoffrey Gurtner, these smart bandages use flexible electronics to track healing, transmit data, and dispense treatments.

Prototypes from Stanford and UPenn even deliver electrotherapy to speed healing and fight infections. This tech can transform chronic wound care and battlefield injuries, offering immediate, targeted treatment.

A few years ago, no one would have thought to reinvent a bandage. What’s the thing in your industry today that’s ready for reinvention?

"Someday, a company will come along and put us out of business. It might as well be us."

I’ve said this phrase a thousand times over the last 30 years while growing tech businesses. Knowing that rapid change is the new standard, imagine a company entering your field with a new approach that renders you and your current competitors obsolete.

What dramatically better products or services do they offer? What does their corporate culture look like? What fresh go-to-market strategies did they employ?

Wouldn’t you rather become that company yourself than lose to an external competitor that beats you to the punch? The successful re-inventor might as well be you.

To your creative success…


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About Josh

Josh Linkner is a New York Times bestselling author, serial entrepreneur, venture capital investor, professional jazz guitarist, and a globally recognized innovation expert. To learn more or to explore a collaboration, visit JoshLinkner.com