Change Agent: Creatology

INSPIRATION BEGETS INVENTION, SAYS SRI CEO CURTIS CARLSON, BUT DISCIPLINE MAKES IT PAY

Innovation is an evocative word. But the image it most frequently conjures--a lone, sleep-deprived genius slaving away in a cluttered garage--is also the most misleading. In reality, says SRI International CEO Curtis Carlson, "you can invent by yourself, but you can't innovate that way." He ought to know. For six decades, SRI, based in Menlo Park, Calif, has endured as a prolific incubator of money-minting ideas, playing a key role in creating everything from the computer mouse to the HDTV standard, which Carlson helped develop. Over the past 20 years, Carlson has searched SRI and countless corporations for the best practices of innovation....

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