Going with the flow – How great ideas sometimes come from following the natural flow of things…..
In our continuing series of articles on the subject of innovation taken from John Bessant’s blog, this one features James Brindley, who was born in 1716, and offers a good reminder of some key innovation themes involved in bringing large scale ideas to fruition and having an impact at scale. He might have been nicknamed ‘the Schemer’, improvising his way to solving engineering problems, but he also understood things like:
- the importance of systems thinking and the need for complementary assets – identifying and putting in place the many interlocking pieces of the puzzle
- the value of prototypes and working models to help persuade and accelerate adoption. Legend has it that when he was presenting his ideas to a sceptical group of Members of Parliament whose approval he needed for the Bridgwater canal route he used a cheese out of which he carved a model of the aqueduct he proposed to build!
- the power of open innovation, learning from the many different sectors and projects he worked with and integrating knowledge from these different worlds – for example, using his knowledge of ceramics to develop the puddling clay liners for his canals
- the importance of business models in laying out the architecture through which ideas can create value. He not only understood the literal flow of water, he was also skilled at managing cash flow, acquiring a reputation for being ‘careful with money’ which undoubtedly helped realise some of the huge schemes with which he was involved.
Read the full article, taken from John Bessant’s blog – here
Image: James Homans on Unpslash