A Thanksgiving Innovation Reflection

As people in the US get ready for Thanksgiving weekend, I was reminded of the story about Joseph Heller told by Kurt Vonnegut in the New Yorker. Bob Sutton has a terrific post on this, which I encourage you to read. Here is the poem:

Joe Heller

True story, Word of Honor:
Joseph Heller, an important and funny writer
now dead,
and I were at a party given by a billionaire
on Shelter Island.

I said, “Joe, how does it make you feel
to know that our host only yesterday
may have made more money
than your novel ‘Catch-22’
has earned in its entire history?”
And Joe said, “I’ve got something he can never have.”
And I said, “What on earth could that be, Joe?”
And Joe said, “The knowledge that I’ve got enough.”

Not bad! Rest in peace!”

–Kurt Vonnegut

The New Yorker, May 16th, 2005

Thanksgiving 2010-4

The knowledge that I have enough is something I struggle to gain myself, but it is well worth striving for. I’m incredibly lucky with what I have in life, and it is enough – more than enough.

It’s another reason that when we think about innovation, it’s important to focus on delivering things that create genuine value, not just novelty. I’d be thankful if we can do that.

(I don’t have permission to reproduce the poem like Prof Sutton does, so I hope it’s ok, because it’s something that everyone should read. The photo is from flickr/Edsel L, under a Creative Commons License)

Student and teacher of innovation - University of Queensland Business School - links to academic papers, twitter, and so on can be found here.