Inventing the Future, Edison Style

Can we learn to be innovative? What factors allow us to establish a vibrant relationship with the future?

Thomas Edison was the most outstanding figure in an era marked by an extraordinary confluence of American innovation – including the work of Alexander Graham Bell, Henry Ford, George Eastman, Harvey Firestone, John D. Rockefeller, George Westinghouse, and Andrew Carnegie – that accelerated America’s leadership in global business.Edison understood that innovation is much more than invention. Through the establishment of his two extraordinary laboratories at Menlo Park and West Orange, NJ, Edison drove innovation on many levels, including strategic technological, product/service, process, and design innovations.

How did Edison excel in so many different kinds of innovation?

Thomas Edison’s great grand niece, Sarah Miller Caldicott, will retrace her famous relative’s footsteps and explore his timeless methods to innovation success in a talk that will inspire and inform. Her approach is based on Edison’s Five Competencies of Innovation.

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Inventing the Future, Edison Style

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sarah Miller Caldicott

Sarah Miller Caldicott

A great grandniece of Thomas Edison, Sarah Miller Caldicott has been engaged in creativity and innovation throughout her life. Inspired by a family lineage of inventors dating back five generations, Sarah spent the first 15 years of her 25-year career as an executive with Global 500 firms including Quaker Oats/Pepsi and the Helene Curtis subsidiary of Unilever. Working with global teams, Sarah spearheaded major innovation initiatives in North America, Europe, and Asia. Concerned that America risks losing its innovation edge, Sarah spent three years researching Edison’s innovation methods with experts at Rutgers University. She co-authored the first book ever written on the subject of Thomas Edison’s world-changing innovation methods. Entitled Innovate Like Edison: The Five Step System for Breakthrough Business Success, Sarah’s book has been translated into 5 languages and is used as an innovation textbook in graduate and undergraduate programs across the US. Sarah's newest book, Midnight Lunch: The 4 Phases of Team Collaboration Success, has just been released from Wiley publishing. Midnight Lunch reveals how to develop collaboration as a backbone for innovation success in the digital era.

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In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
 
— Russ Wright
 
"While I understand the intent behind this phrase" Expound please. What do you understand to be the intent behind that phrase?
 
— Ken
 
Thank you for this article! I'm the pastor of a small church. My gifting is in teaching and we are known for aiding Christians in becoming Biblically literate. Visitor's often comment on God's presence being very real in our services. But we just don't seem to be growing. I have some soul-searching, etc. to do and this article provides some solid ground from which to proceed. Thank you again.
 
— Jonathan Schultheis
 

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