Hello, welcome to Session Two of Week Two, Cracking the Creativity Code Part one, Discovering Ideas. This week we're going to talk about a great creative person, a great inventor, Thomas Edison, who literally lit up America and the world. And we're going to talk about some of his secrets. And what we can learn from the great Thomas Edison? Of course, he once said famously, Genius is 1% inspiration, and 99% perspiration. By that he meant that changing the world with your creativity isn't just a matter of eureka, and having ideas. It also takes a great deal of hard work. My discussion of Edison is based on this excellent book by Neil Baldwin called Edison: Inventing the Century. So let's talk about Thomas Edison and business innovation. Can you be the next Edison? Can you come up with ideas that are fuel for over a thousand patents that Edison himself had? Can you invent things like the phonograph, and electric lights? Can you light up the world? Well, let's talk a bit about Edison's history. Edison, when he was a child was sent home from school. His mother knew he was smart, but the teachers in school said Edison is stupid. He's a stupid boy and we don't want to waste time on him. So they send him home from school and of course the problem was Edison was hard of hearing, he had a childhood disease. And that left him very hard of hearing, and he was hard of hearing for his entire life. And in fact that turned out to be the secret of his success. His mother home schooled him. Edison became a voracious reader and learned a great many things from his mother at home. Because he was hard of hearing, he was very aware of vibrations and his sense of touch in a sense partially replaced a sense of hearing. He knew that sound was a vibration that he could feel. For example, on a table top. This directly led to his invention of the phonograph. Because Edison said to himself, if sound is something that you can sense, a vibration you can feel on your fingertips, maybe we can capture those vibrations. And then replay them later. Maybe we can store sound. Something that had not been done. And with his phonograph with a wax plate and a needle. The needle vibrated according to the sound and the vibrations were captured in the cylinder or the plate that Edison created. He was able to recreate, reproduce sound, scratchy, and noisy, and a bit unclear. But nonetheless, it was amazing to people of his time. Now, Edison was a brilliant public relations expert. So how would you attract attention for your invention? Why not show it to the president of the United States, Rutherford B.Hayes? And his wife, by the way. So Edison came to the White House, with his phonograph, and played recorded sounds for the President of the United States and his wife. And they stayed up well into the night, the early hours of the morning. Listening to this amazing phonograph, this amazing invention of Edison. And of course that attracted huge attention and helped Edison market and produce his invention and make it successful. [COUGH] Edison of course invented the light bulb in his famous lab in Menlo Park, New Jersey. But it was far more than a light bulb. He had to create a system of dynamos that could generate electricity. He had to create a system for transporting the electricity through wires. He had to wire a house. He had to install the lighting. He had to create electric switches. He had to create an entire system. And part of his marketing genius was to light up the very first house with electric lights, belonging to J.P.Morgan, the famous banker who by coincidence also was one of the main founders of the Edison Company that brought electric lighting to New York City and to America. What are the key lessons that we learn from Edison's light bulb? The first lesson is know what business you're in. What exactly is your business? And what Edison understood and what he said is that electricity is not just a kind of energy or form of energy. Electricity is a method of transporting energy and the transporting part requires you to build a whole system. So he understood the key element of electric lighting, which was getting that electricity from point A to point B, expensive, difficult and crucial. Economics and sociology trumps technology. So there's a lot of technology involved in electric lights and the light bulb, and Edison developed it in his lab. Working long hours, he slept very little two or three hours a night. But in the end, what you're doing is, you're trying to create something that gives people better lighting in their homes and safer lighting. You're trying to meet a need with something that people aren't familiar with. No one had a clue what electric lighting was or what the advantages were. So always the technology comes after you identify people's needs and how to create value? Edison had a great business design. He created the Edison company, hired people, and he was a shrewd, hard headed business person and manager. Although not always successful, especially later in his life. As well as a great engineer and scientist, and someone who made breakthrough discoveries in his lab. He was good at generating excitement. When you have an innovation that people are unfamiliar with, you need to create buzz, publicity, get people talking, and he was good at that. He used the president of the United States in order to generate buzz for his phonograph. Edison invented a platform. Not just an electric light bulb, he invented a system for bringing the electricity to the light bulb. So invent a platform rather than a product or a process. Invent something that you can create great many versions of it. So that you create an entire industry, rather than just a single product. And finally, management skill discovery and delivery. After a great discovery, made by Edison, then comes the delivery. And the delivery involves setting up a company, raising money, producing equipment to make electricity, to transport it, setting up the wires, the light bulbs, electrifying houses. All of those things take great management skill, take great discipline, discovery, and delivery. And delivery is a core competency in innovation as well as discovery is. The invention of the electric light and bringing electric lighting to America and Europe. And by the way, Edison probably wasn't the first to invent the electric light bulb. A man named Joseph Swan in Britain probably preceded him. But Edison had the whole system in place. He understood that the system you needed for bringing electricity and lighting, electric lighting to a home, involves seven elements. You need these parallel circuits. You need a durable light bulb that lasts. You need a dynamo, a better dynamo than existed to make the electricity. You need underground network, for bringing the electricity to the home. You need a device to maintain the constant voltage. If there are peaks and valleys in the voltage, you can ruin the light bulb. You need safety fuses, and you need insulating material, so people don't get a shock. And you need light sockets and on off switches. You need to design an entire system. Many creative ideas are actually not just a single product. But a whole system, and everything has to be in place in this complex ecosystem. Perhaps later in this course I'll tell you about the Centrino Chipset. Invented and developed by Intel that enable us to take our laptops around and use Wi-Fi to communicate with the world wherever we are. Now the Centrino is a chipset that is a microprocessor and some software. But it's part of a whole system including Hotspots and Wi-Fi, email, and so on. Without that whole system, the Centrino itself would have been of little value. So perhaps we'll talk more about that case study a bit later. This ends session two. We've talked about Thomas Edison. We talked about systems, building a system, how he electrified America. How he created a buzz, how he combined a great many qualities in order to make his inventions successful. Creativity is not just having an idea. It's not just something that's novel and useful. It's also bringing something novel and useful to the attention of people and providing it to a very large number.