Sign at Greenfield Village/Henry Ford Museum
Sign at Greenfield Village/Henry Ford Museum

This made me think about the power of setting personal goals for yourself that really matter.  Edison was an inventor who accumulated 2,332 patents worldwide in his lifetime. I think his genius in goal setting was breaking it down to 10 day and 6 month increments.  Take your big goals in life and ask yourself, “What is a 10-day marker of progress?”  And then stick to it.

2 thoughts

  1. Michael – Wonderful that Edison’s extraordinary achievements inspired this post! I believe the final patent count was a bit higher — about 2,386 when combining the 1,093 US patents and 1,293 international patents he received. And I agree that the time-driven nature of Edison’s goal-setting process was indeed a factor in his early success at the Menlo Park Laboratory (which he established at the tender age of 29). However, as Edison observed the collaborative activity taking place at Menlo Park, he realized not everything could neatly be tied to the calendar. He found that Innovation and collaboration work as a continuum rather than as a more linear stop-and-start process. For Edison, creating context around the ideas emerging from his efforts – and those of his teams – became a huge driver of success. Creating context required engaging factors that were not specifically time-bound, like establishing collegiality, grooming catalysts, and fostering activities which spurred rapid communication within the lab. Ultimately, time did not serve as the only factor allowing Edison to achieve his goals. But it was a great starting point! Thanks for delving into the roots of Edison’s genius!

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