The very notion of “innovation” traces back to when Edison perfected his invention factory, later to morph into commercial R&D labs, team-based problem solving—a seismic and permanent worldwide economic shift .
Of all he invented, this was his most significant achievement. Before Edison died in 1931, every major corporation adopted this powerful innovation tool; and it remains fundamental to this day, whether a company does it in their own labs or joins in alliance with other labs.
R&D labs gave birth to legions of project managers who today manage and lead new product development teams all over the world-a process that creates jobs and whole new industries, and continually disrupts the status quo, the very heart beat of capitalism. It has been said of Edison that his life’s work has probably been responsible for one-fourth of all the jobs on planet Earth today; as well as account for 10% of the annual world economy … about $6 trillion.
General Electric had a powerful slogan back in the 1950s-“Progress is our most important product”. Edison is the fellow, in 1887, who unified progress with team-based innovation-exactly what we teach our children in school in STEM classes today. Thanks Tom!