“Every culture has examples of extraordinary men and women who propelled humanity forward in the fields of philosophy, ethics, the sciences, athletics and the cultural arts. They have challenged existing paradigms by exercising their God-given talents.”

—Dr. Hyun Jin P. Moon

“Successful innovation is a feat not of intellect but of will. Its difficulty consists in the resistance and uncertainties incident to doing what has not been done before.”

—Joseph Schumpeter (Economist, 1928)

Innovation doesn’t simply require talent, knowledge, or even all the business or typical entrepreneurial skills you might think are required to push out new ideas and make them desirable or effective. For many great innovators throughout history, coming up with creative solutions or inventions to make peoples’ lives easier was a matter of heart and willpower, not dollars and smarts.

One of the most famous American inventors once said, “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” Thomas Edison also famously said, “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.”

Being an innovative leader is not about having all the right answers all the time. But with determination guided by a moral vision, these innovative leaders have the willpower to endure failure, pick themselves up and come up with better and better ideas, determined to solve a problem that will benefit the greater community and even world.

It is not enough to be innovative alone. Essential to successful innovation are four key qualities emphasized by Dr. Hyun Jin P. Moon:

  1. Live for the Greater Good
    The great innovators of our time were not motivated by money, fame or prestige.  They were driven by the simple desire to make a difference in the world. We all want to make a contribution to humanity. Our dreams are part of how we will make an impact.
  1. Make Your Dream Bigger
    The capacity to dream big is one of the most important components of life and accomplishing anything that is worth noting. Small dreams for the ancillary products of larger dreams fizzle out.
  1. Own Your Dream
    Even a grand dream remains a pipe dream without ownership. When pursuing a dream challenges are guaranteed, setbacks are absolute.  The results are hidden around the corner from the turbulence. There are people who set out to make a difference but back off once success comes to live happily ever after. They are not remembered. Those who are remembered are the ones who stick to their dream through success and failure.  A successful innovator owns their dream.
  1. Work with a Team
    A successful innovator can create a team around their dream. Success is never the result of one person. Success comes with the help of many people along the way. Leaders can draw people and organizations to a common objective, and bring out the best from them.

“Follow your heart even when it leads you off the well-worn path, and that will make all the difference.” - Steve Jobs

In his 2005 speech at Stanford University, famous Apple innovator Steve Jobs said, “Follow your heart even when it leads you off the well-worn path, and that will make all the difference.”

Successful innovation has to be rooted in a desire to serve the greater good through an ambitious dream that one refuses to let go of and can draw others to it.

What is your dream for the greater good?