How to Be More Original and Innovative: Lessons from History's Greatest Inventors


Do you ever find yourself in a creative rut, struggling to come up with original ideas? Are you looking for inspiration to unleash your innovative side? Look no further than history's greatest inventors, who have left behind a wealth of lessons and insights on how to be more original and innovative. From the imaginative world of Leonardo Da Vinci to Steve Jobs' unconventional approach, these inventors have paved the way for groundbreaking ideas that have shaped our world. So, buckle up and get ready to tap into your creative genius as we explore the lessons we can learn from these legends.

Embrace the Power of Imagination: Learning from Leonardo Da Vinci

In the realm of innovation, imagination reigns supreme. And no one understood this better than the legendary Leonardo Da Vinci. His unparalleled ability to dream, imagine, and create left an indelible mark on the world. Da Vinci once said, "The painter has the Universe in his mind and hands." He believed that imagination was the key to unlocking limitless possibilities.

Da Vinci's masterpiece, the Mona Lisa, is a testament to the power of imagination. This iconic painting captivates viewers with its enigmatic smile and a sense of mystery that still lingers centuries later. It was Da Vinci's imaginative vision that brought this timeless artwork to life.

But Da Vinci's imagination extended far beyond the world of art. His famous sketches of flying machines, submarines, and armored vehicles showcased his insatiable curiosity and boundless creativity. He saw no limits to what the human mind could conceive.

To embrace the power of imagination like Da Vinci, we must dare to think beyond the confines of convention. We must let our minds wander and explore uncharted territories. By letting our imaginations run wild, we can tap into our innate capacity for innovation. As Maya Angelou once said, "You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have."

In today's ever-changing world, where innovation is the currency of success, embracing the power of imagination is crucial. It is through the realms of imagination that the most groundbreaking ideas are born. As Albert Einstein stated, "Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand." So, let us take inspiration from Leonardo Da Vinci, a true visionary, and unleash the power of our imagination to create a better, more original future.

people in the street painting
Photo by brooklyn on Unsplash

Break the Conventional Wisdom: The Path of Steve Jobs

In the world of innovation and originality, Steve Jobs stands out as a true icon. Known for his revolutionary products and groundbreaking ideas, Jobs's path to success was paved by his willingness to break the conventional wisdom. Jobs once said, "Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower." 1

One of the key lessons we can learn from Jobs is the importance of thinking differently and challenging the status quo. Instead of adhering to established norms and following the crowd, Jobs encouraged a mindset of questioning, pushing boundaries, and looking for unique solutions.

Jobs was notorious for his perfectionism and attention to detail. This level of meticulousness allowed him to create products that were not only aesthetically pleasing but also intuitively designed. By breaking away from the conventional thinking, Jobs brought forth a range of game-changing innovations that transformed whole industries.

An example of Jobs's ability to break conventional wisdom is evident in the creation of the iPhone. At a time when smartphones were dominated by physical keyboards and buttons, Jobs took a bold and unprecedented step. He introduced a touch-screen device that revolutionized the way we interact with technology. Jobs's vision and willingness to challenge the status quo have undoubtedly left a lasting impact on the world.

Breaking the conventional wisdom requires a certain level of courage and risk-taking. It means going against the grain and being willing to face criticism and skepticism. But as Jobs himself said, "Stay hungry, stay foolish." 1 This mindset of embracing the unknown and venturing into uncharted territory is what sets apart the truly innovative individuals.

In order to break the conventional wisdom, it is important to seek inspiration from various sources, to venture outside of your comfort zone, and to cultivate a mindset that values experimentation and exploration. As Jobs once said, "Creativity is just connecting things." 1 By combining different ideas, disciplines, and perspectives, you can uncover new insights and spark innovative thinking.

In conclusion, Steve Jobs serves as a powerful example of breaking the conventional wisdom in order to foster originality and innovation. His ability to think differently, challenge the status quo, and push boundaries have made a lasting impact on the world. By embracing Jobs's approach, we too can unlock our creative potential and pave the way for groundbreaking ideas. As Jobs famously said, "Think different." 1

Eureka Moments: Unleashing Creativity Like Archimedes

Have you ever experienced a moment when a brilliant idea suddenly popped into your head out of nowhere? That exhilarating lightbulb moment when everything becomes clear and you feel a surge of excitement and inspiration coursing through your veins. This phenomenon is often referred to as the "Eureka" moment, and it is something that inventors throughout history have experienced time and time again. One such inventor who has become synonymous with these creative breakthroughs is none other than Archimedes.

Archimedes was a renowned Greek mathematician, physicist, and engineer who lived in the third century BC. His contributions to the fields of mathematics and physics are still highly regarded today, but it was his famous Eureka moment that truly showcased his unparalleled creativity and problem-solving abilities.

Legend has it that Archimedes was tasked with solving a seemingly impossible problem for King Hiero of Syracuse. The king suspected that a goldsmith had mixed cheaper metals into his crown, making it impure. Unable to find a solution, Archimedes was reportedly taking a bath one day when he noticed the water level rise as he submerged his body. Suddenly, it clicked in his mind - he realized that he could use the principle of water displacement to determine the purity of the king's crown.

This remarkable revelation is a testament to the power of unconventional thinking and the ability to look beyond the obvious. Archimedes was able to connect dots that others couldn't even see, and it was this unique approach to problem-solving that led to his groundbreaking discoveries.

So, how can we unleash our own creativity and experience Eureka moments like Archimedes? It starts with embracing curiosity and allowing ourselves to think outside the box. Often, we become confined by the limitations of conventional wisdom, falling into repetitive patterns of thinking. Instead, we should cultivate an open and inquisitive mindset that is not afraid to question the status quo.

Here are a few strategies to help unleash our creativity:

  1. Embrace Curiosity: Approach problems with a childlike curiosity and a genuine desire to learn. Embrace the unknown and explore different perspectives to uncover new insights and possibilities.

  2. Question Assumptions: Challenge the underlying assumptions and beliefs that shape our thinking. Often, our preconceived notions can limit our imagination. By questioning these assumptions, we can open up new avenues for creative exploration.

  3. Seek Inspiration from Unrelated Fields: Take inspiration from fields outside of your own. Draw connections and apply principles from different disciplines to spark new ideas and perspectives.

  4. Step Away from the Problem: Sometimes, the best way to find a solution is to step away from the problem. Give your mind a break and engage in activities that stimulate your creativity, such as taking a walk in nature, reading a book, or engaging in a hobby.

Remember, creativity is not limited to a chosen few. We all have the potential to tap into our innate creative abilities and experience our own Eureka moments. By embracing curiosity, challenging assumptions, seeking inspiration from unexpected sources, and giving ourselves the space to think freely, we can unleash our creativity like Archimedes and make our own remarkable discoveries.

"The greatest scientists are artists as well." - Albert Einstein2

person holding round clear container
Photo by Drew Hays on Unsplash

Edison's Persistent Perseverance: Lessons on Overcoming Failure

Failure is often seen as a setback, a reason to give up and move on. But for Thomas Edison, failure was an opportunity to learn, grow, and ultimately succeed. Edison faced countless failures throughout his career, but his unwavering perseverance allowed him to become one of the greatest inventors in history.

Edison once said, "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." This quote encapsulates his mindset - he did not see failure as a negative outcome, but rather as a stepping stone towards success. He understood that failure was an integral part of the innovation process and embraced it wholeheartedly.

Edison's persistence was evident in his invention of the incandescent light bulb. It took him over 1,000 attempts before he finally found the right combination of materials and design that led to a practical and safe electric light. Most people would have given up long before reaching that number, but Edison refused to accept failure as the end result.

Failure was an opportunity to learn, grow, and ultimately succeed.

Edison's approach to failure can be applied to any aspect of life, not just inventing. Whether you're starting a business, pursuing a creative project, or facing personal challenges, it's important to view failure as a valuable learning experience. Each setback brings you closer to finding the right path and achieving your goals.

One of the key lessons we can learn from Edison's persistent perseverance is that failure should not be feared. Instead, it should be embraced and used as a catalyst for growth and innovation. As Edison once said, "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." This mindset shift can empower individuals to keep pushing forward, even in the face of adversity.

Failure should not be feared.

In today's fast-paced and constantly evolving world, the ability to overcome failure is crucial for success. Many groundbreaking inventions and significant advancements would not have been possible without the willingness to take risks and embrace failure along the way. As Edison himself experienced, failure is often the pathway to new discoveries and breakthroughs.

Failure is often the pathway to new discoveries and breakthroughs.

It's important to note that Edison's perseverance was not blind stubbornness. He was not simply repeating the same experiment over and over again, expecting a different result. Instead, he used each failure as an opportunity to refine his approach, learn from his mistakes, and make necessary adjustments. This ability to adapt and evolve is a key characteristic of successful innovators.

Edison's story serves as a powerful reminder that failure is not the end, but rather a stepping stone on the path to success. It teaches us the importance of persistence, resilience, and the willingness to learn from our mistakes. As we navigate our own journeys of innovation and creativity, let us embrace Edison's lessons on overcoming failure and continue to push the boundaries of what is possible.

Failure is not the end, but rather a stepping stone on the path to success.

Nikola Tesla and the Art of Thinking Differently

Nikola Tesla, a legendary inventor, was a mastermind in the field of electricity and magnetism. His remarkable innovations revolutionized the world and left an indelible mark in the history of science. Tesla's approach to innovation was characterized by his ability to think differently and challenge conventional wisdom.

Tesla's visionary ideas were ahead of his time. He was known for his radical concepts and unconventional methodologies, which often puzzled his contemporaries. His famous quote, "The present is theirs; the future, for which I really worked, is mine," speaks volumes about his determination to bring new and groundbreaking technologies into existence.

Tesla's approach to innovation can be summarized in his relentless pursuit of groundbreaking ideas and his unwavering belief in the power of imagination. He was not afraid to question established theories and push the boundaries of what was deemed possible. By thinking outside the box, Tesla was able to envision inventions that would shape the world for years to come.

One notable example of Tesla's innovative thinking was his promotion of alternating current over Thomas Edison's direct current system. While Edison's direct current was the predominant method of electrical transmission at the time, Tesla saw the limitations of this technology and advocated for the use of alternating current. His conviction and persistence led to the adoption of AC power, which has since become the standard for electrical systems worldwide.

Tesla's ability to think differently was rooted in his embrace of imagination. He believed that imagination was the key to unlocking the secrets of the universe and that by harnessing this creative force, one could bring forth groundbreaking innovations. Tesla once said, "I don't care that they stole my idea... I care that they don't have any of their own." This quote highlights his emphasis on originality and the importance of cultivating one's own imaginative thoughts.

Tesla's approach to innovation inspires us to challenge conventional wisdom and think outside the confines of established norms. By embracing the power of imagination, we can tap into our creative potential and unleash innovative ideas that have the potential to shape the future. Just as Tesla dared to dream big and think differently, we too can strive to break free from the shackles of conformity and pave our own path towards innovation4 .

pink and blue ball wallpaper
Photo by Zoltan Tasi on Unsplash

Emulating Einstein: The Power of Intuition

One of the greatest minds in history, Albert Einstein, revolutionized our understanding of the universe with his theory of relativity. Beyond his extraordinary intellectual abilities, one of the key factors that fueled Einstein's groundbreaking discoveries was his reliance on intuition.

Intuition is often misunderstood as a purely mystical or unexplained phenomenon. However, Einstein believed that intuition was an essential tool for discovering new ideas and making connections that logic alone couldn't uncover. He once said, "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift".

Intuition involves tapping into our subconscious knowledge and experiences, allowing us to make leaps of understanding and come up with innovative ideas. It is a deeply personal and unique process, as no two individuals have the same reservoir of experiences and associations to draw upon.

To harness the power of intuition like Einstein, we need to cultivate an open and curious mind. This means being receptive to new ideas, exploring different perspectives, and embracing ambiguity and uncertainty. It also requires being in touch with our emotions, as emotions can often guide us to the right path when making intuitive leaps.

One way to nurture intuition is through the practice of mindfulness. By quieting the mind and focusing on the present moment, we can become more attuned to our intuition and allow it to guide us in our creative endeavors. Mindfulness allows us to heighten our awareness and tap into the wealth of knowledge stored in our subconscious mind.

A key aspect of cultivating intuition is giving ourselves the freedom to explore and experiment without fear of failure. Einstein once said, "A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new". By embracing failure as a natural part of the creative process, we open ourselves up to new possibilities and breakthrough ideas.

In conclusion, to emulate Einstein's power of intuition, we must recognize and honor our own intuitive abilities. By cultivating an open mind, practicing mindfulness, and embracing failure, we can tap into our intuition and unlock our own potential for original and innovative thinking. As Einstein himself famously said, "Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution".

Marie Curie's Pursuit of the Unknown: The Role of Inquiry in Innovation

Marie Curie, the pioneering physicist and chemist, is widely renowned for her groundbreaking discoveries in the field of radioactivity. She revolutionized our understanding of the atomic realm and her relentless pursuit of scientific knowledge serves as a testament to the importance of inquiry in innovation.

Curie once said, "Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas." This quote encapsulates her belief in the power of inquiry and the necessity to focus on expanding knowledge and pushing boundaries. In her pursuit of the unknown, she questioned established beliefs and delved deep into the mysteries of the atomic world.

One of Curie's most notable accomplishments was the discovery of the elements polonium and radium. In her book "Researches on Radioactive Substances," she wrote, "I am one of those who think like Nobel, that humanity will draw more good than evil from new discoveries." This quote illustrates her belief that even in the face of uncertainty, scientific exploration can ultimately benefit humanity.

Curie's success can be attributed to her ability to ask the right questions and dedicate herself to finding answers. She had an insatiable curiosity that drove her to explore new avenues of thought. This curiosity fueled her innovation and allowed her to make groundbreaking discoveries.

Innovation often arises from questioning the status quo and challenging established norms. Curie's approach to research was characterized by her determination to uncover the truth, even if it meant going against the grain. She once stated, "Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood." This mindset exemplifies her fearlessness in pursuing the unknown and her belief that knowledge conquers fear.

Curie's passion and dedication to her work serves as an inspiration to aspiring innovators. She embraced the unknown and used inquiry as a tool to unravel the mysteries of the universe. Her relentless pursuit of knowledge and her commitment to scientific exploration continue to inspire generations of scientists and inventors.

In conclusion, Marie Curie's unwavering curiosity and relentless pursuit of the unknown highlight the crucial role of inquiry in the process of innovation. Her commitment to expanding knowledge and challenging established beliefs serves as a lesson for anyone seeking to be more original and innovative. Through her example, we learn that by asking the right questions and fearlessly exploring new ideas, we can push the boundaries of what is possible and make significant contributions to our world. So, let us embrace the spirit of inquiry and follow in the footsteps of Marie Curie, using our curiosity to unlock new possibilities and shape a future driven by innovation.

person holding round clear container
Photo by Drew Hays on Unsplash

Wright Brothers and Risk-Taking: Breaking the Barrier of Fear

The story of the Wright Brothers is a testament to the power of risk-taking and the courage to face one's fears. Wilbur and Orville Wright were driven by a vision to achieve human flight, a dream that seemed impossible at the time. They were not held back by the fear of failure or the skepticism of others. Instead, they embraced the unknown and took bold steps towards their goal.

Risk-taking requires a tremendous amount of courage. It means stepping outside of one's comfort zone and venturing into the realm of uncertainty. The Wright Brothers understood that progress is not made by playing it safe, but by pushing boundaries and challenging the status quo. Their determination to conquer the skies propelled them to take risks that others deemed foolish.

One of the bold decisions the Wright Brothers made was to build their own wind tunnel. At the time, this was a radical idea and required a significant investment of time and resources. However, they recognized the importance of understanding aerodynamics and the impact it would have on their aircraft designs. By taking this risk, they gained invaluable knowledge that eventually led them to develop the first successful airplane.

The Wright Brothers also faced numerous failures and setbacks along their journey. They persevered through these challenges and refused to be discouraged. Orville once said, "If we worked on the assumption that what is accepted as true really is true, then there would be little hope for advance." Through their relentless determination, they were able to learn from their mistakes and make necessary adjustments to improve their designs.

Taking risks always involves the possibility of failure. However, the Wright Brothers were not deterred by these potential setbacks. They had an unwavering belief in their vision and were willing to face failure head-on. In the words of Wilbur, "Every experiment, by multitudes or single individuals, that has a bearing upon the understanding of the problems of flight, is of value, if it tends to eke out the sum of human knowledge." They understood that failure is not the end, but rather a step towards new discoveries.

The Wright Brothers' remarkable legacy of risk-taking and innovation continues to inspire generations of inventors and entrepreneurs. Their story teaches us that to achieve greatness, we must be willing to confront our fears and take calculated risks. As Albert Einstein once said, "A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new." It is through daring to take risks that we can break free from the limitations of the known and make groundbreaking discoveries.

In the pursuit of innovation, it is crucial to remember that fear can be paralyzing. It stops us from venturing into unexplored territories and prevents us from realizing our full potential. By following the example of the Wright Brothers, we can learn to embrace risk-taking and overcome the barrier of fear. As we push ourselves beyond our comfort zones, we open up endless possibilities for creativity and originality.

The Madam C.J. Walker Business Model: Inspiring Entrepreneurial Creativity

Madam C.J. Walker, born Sarah Breedlove, was an African American entrepreneur and the first female self-made millionaire in America. She revolutionized the hair care industry by developing a line of hair care products specifically designed for African American women. Her story of success is a testament to the power of creativity, perseverance, and a strong business model.

Walker's entrepreneurial journey began with a problem. As an African American woman herself, she faced challenges with hair care products that did not cater to her needs. This inspired her to create her own line of products that would address the unique needs of women like herself. She understood the importance of niching down and focusing on a specific target audience, which allowed her to stand out in a crowded market.

One of the bold moves that set Walker apart was her direct sales approach. Instead of relying solely on traditional retail channels, she leveraged a network of independent sales agents who sold her products directly to customers. This not only created job opportunities for women but also allowed Walker to reach a wider customer base. By doing so, she revolutionized the direct sales industry and paved the way for future generations of entrepreneurs.

Madam C.J. Walker's success was not only built on a solid business model but also on an unwavering belief in herself and her abilities. Despite facing numerous setbacks and challenges, she persisted and never gave up. As she famously said, "I got my start by giving myself a start." This bold and empowering quote reflects her unwavering determination and serves as a reminder that success often comes to those who are willing to take risks and believe in themselves.

Madam C.J. Walker's story is not just about her individual success but also about the greater impact she had on her community. She recognized the importance of giving back and empowering others. Walker used her wealth and influence to support causes she believed in, such as education and women's rights. This legacy of philanthropy continues to inspire entrepreneurs today to not only focus on their own success but also on making a positive impact on society.

In conclusion, Madam C.J. Walker's business model and entrepreneurial journey serve as an inspiration for aspiring innovators and entrepreneurs. Her ability to identify a problem, create a unique solution, and build a successful business from scratch is a testament to the power of creativity and perseverance. By embracing her story and incorporating her lessons into their own endeavors, individuals can truly unlock their entrepreneurial creativity and make a lasting impact on the world.

"I am not satisfied in making money for myself. I endeavor to provide employment opportunities for thousands of the racewomen of America." - Madam C.J. Walker

a woman's hand holding a bottle of lotion
Photo by ian dooley on Unsplash


Steve Jobs taught us the importance of breaking the conventional wisdom and thinking differently. He said, "Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower." By challenging the status quo and embracing risks, we can truly make a difference in the world.

Similarly, Archimedes showed us the significance of eureka moments and the role of creativity in unleashing new ideas. As he famously said, "Give me a lever long enough, and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world." These eureka moments can come when we least expect them, and it is important to nurture our creativity to capitalize on them.

Furthermore, Thomas Edison's persistent perseverance serves as a reminder to never give up and to learn from our failures. As he once stated, "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." Edison's determination shows that setbacks are merely stepping stones towards success.

Nikola Tesla demonstrated the art of thinking differently and challenging the norms. He said, "The present is theirs; the future, for which I have really worked, is mine." By thinking beyond the present and envisioning a better future, we can push the boundaries of innovation.

Likewise, Einstein's reliance on intuition highlights the power of trusting our inner instincts. He famously said, "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant." By combining intuition with analytical thinking, we can unlock new possibilities and make groundbreaking discoveries.

Marie Curie's pursuit of the unknown emphasized the role of inquiry in innovation. As she once said, "Nothing in life is to be feared; it is only to be understood." By embracing curiosity and the quest for knowledge, we can uncover new solutions and contribute to society in meaningful ways.

The Wright Brothers showcased the importance of risk-taking and breaking the barrier of fear. As Orville Wright once stated, "If we worked on the assumption that what is accepted as true really is true, then there would be little hope for advance." By daring to challenge established beliefs, we can soar to new heights and achieve breakthroughs.

Finally, Madam C.J. Walker's entrepreneurial creativity and unique business model inspire us to think outside the box and embrace our own individuality. As she wisely stated, "Don't sit and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them." Through innovation and perseverance, we can create our own path to success.

In conclusion, history's greatest inventors have left behind a treasure trove of lessons on originality and innovation. Their stories and wisdom remind us that greatness lies within all of us, waiting to be unleashed. Let us embrace our imagination, think differently, trust our instincts, persist in the face of failure, and fearlessly pursue the unknown. As Albert Einstein once said, "The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination." So let us imagine, create, and change the world.

1Isaacson, W. (2011). Steve Jobs. Simon & Schuster.
2Isaacson, Walter. Leonardo da Vinci. Simon & Schuster, 2017.
3Gleick, James. Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman. Vintage, 1993.
4"My Inventions: The Autobiography of Nikola Tesla" by Nikola Tesla
5"Tesla: Inventor of the Electrical Age" by W. Bernard Carlson
6"Nikola Tesla: Imagination and the Man That Invented the 20th Century" by Sean Patrick
7"The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution" by Walter Isaacson
13Isaacson, W. (2007). Einstein: His Life and Universe.
14Calaprice, A. (Ed.). (1996). The Expanded Quotable Einstein. Princeton University Press.
15Isaacson, W. (2007). Einstein: His Life and Universe.
16Albert Einstein, interview by G. S. Viereck, October 26, 1929, The Saturday Evening Post.
12Robert Tierney, "Marie Curie and the Science of Radioactivity," (Chicago: The Rosen Publishing Group, 2003), 56-78.
13Susan Quinn, "Marie Curie: A Life," (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995), 132-154.
14McCullough, David. The Wright Brothers. Simon & Schuster, 2015.
15"On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C.J. Walker" by A'Lelia Bundles
16"Madam C.J. Walker: Inventor, Entrepreneur, and Philanthropist" by Laura La Bella