Part 2 of 6

5 Keys to Driving Results

Louis Patler, Ph.D.

This is the second of a six-part series of blogs that summarizes our research on innovators and innovation. The first blog set the stage for our findings by noting that “game-changing” innovation is rare…and rarely sustainable. In the five following blogs, I will very briefly report the key findings of this 20 year project.

“Look ahead through the windshield, not into the rear-view mirror”

Using an automotive analogy, our data shows that what innovators do is look to the future while learning from the past, looking ahead through the windshield more than staring into the rear-view mirror. One of the questions our research has addressed is “how do innovators do their work from start to finish”?

There is relatively little data on how to move from idea all the way to implementation.

Perhaps the one book that informs our research hypotheses is Thomas Kuhn’s classic The Structure of Scientific Revolution. In it Kuhn argues that a “revolution” in science occurs when a new “paradigm” or world view comes along that can account for the “anomalies” of the prevailing paradigm while at the same time offering up a new structure for science, literally changing how we view the world. Hence Copernicus is replaced by Galileo, Galileo by Newton, and Newton by Einstein. And on it will go. What Kuhn offered that had previously been missing was a coherent description of the “process” and “structure” scientists used to create a true “revolution.”

In the following pages are summarized some important findings from our 20 years of research. This research project is the foundation for the training program Innovating for Results,(IFR), created by Here are five keys insights into the innovation process.

“Focus on the “innovator” rather than the “innovation,” on the “process” more than the “product.”

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.