A true inventor doesn’t just patch up a gap. No, they create something new, unexpected and delightful, going beyond the bare minimum and exploring new frontiers and possibilities. They are the game changers – people who saw a problem and dedicated their lives to solving it.
Without them, the world would be a very different place. Their pioneering paths into the unknown paved the way for future inventors to follow and push even further. Here are our favorite quotes from some of the world’s most innovative minds.
The Quote: A professor once told me that if people don’t either love or hate your work, you haven’t done anything.
Who Said It: Tinker Hatfield
Who Are They: An American designer behind many of the best-known Nike shoe designs, most notably the Air Jordan 3 through Air Jordan 30 as well as the world’s first “cross-training” shoes, the Nike Air Trainer. He is Nike’s VP of Design and Special Projects, and oversees the company’s “Innovation Kitchen.”
Our Perspective: Tinker Hatfield has been working behind the scenes at Nike for over 30 years, quietly pumping out some of the most iconic shoe designs of all time. He makes a poignant observation about branding here: if your work isn’t making waves, it’s probably just white noise - effort without impact. If you try to please everyone, your brand is going to be stale and bland; a strong brand attracts some and repels the rest.
The Quote: If you’re not trying to do something better, then you’re not focused on the customer and you’ll miss the possibility of making your business great.
Who Said It: Jonathan Ive
Who Are They: A British industrial designer and the Chief Design Officer of Apple Inc.
Our Perspective: Jonathan Ive is legendary for pushing the world’s expectations of what design is capable of – with his human-centered design focus, he has blown away naysayers and traditional corporate values time and time again. If your brand falls in love with the status quo, watch your back – even the most loyal customers can be lost to the brand that aims to do it better.
The Quote: Let the experience begin
Who Said It: Frank Gehry
Who Are They: An American architect, best known for his revolutionary building designs and labeled by Vanity Fair as the most important architect of our age. His best-known works include the Guggenheim Museum in Spain, the Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown LA and the Experience Music Project in Seattle.
Our Perspective: Frank Gehry understands one very important thing when it comes to branding: the experience is everything. And the most memorable experiences feel like a discovery. They are mysteries slowly being uncovered over time. Does your brand present customers with an invitation to be part of an immersive experience? Or are you trying to get by with shallow taglines and filler content? You only get one first impression, so blow ‘em away. Leave them saying, "Wow! I did not see that coming."
The Quote: The most damaging phrase in the English language is, “We’ve always done it this way!”
Who Said It: Grace Hopper
Who Are They: An American computer scientist and United States Navy Rear Admiral. She is best-known for inventing the original compiler for computer programming language and popularizing COBOL, the first high-level programming language.
Our Perspective: When Grace Hopper invented the first operational compiler, nobody believed her – people insisted that “computers could only do arithmetic”, despite seeing the machine in action before their very eyes. As ridiculous as this sounds, it’s an oddly familiar scene. When it comes to your brand, those who fall in love with tradition and ritual will miss obvious opportunities to be a part of innovation. This kind of blind stubbornness ultimately ends with a tumble down the steep slope of irrelevance. Stay fresh. Stay open. And don't forget Grace.
Continue reading: Branding Definitions #25-28 - The Athletes
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