Pushing Innovation

Seems that everywhere you turn these days, there's talk about innovation. Maybe a lot of the discussion started with the death of Steve Jobs in October, when so many reports pointed to Jobs as a key technology innovator and innovative leader. When Jeremy Pollard wrote his Embedded Intelligence column for the October issue of Control Design (Jobs had just left Apple, but then died before we went to press), he called it "iInnovation," of course.

I've seen several companies since then that seem to specialize in helping companies to innovate. I wonder, actually, what the best way is to "be innovative." If it doesn't come naturally to you, are there ways to foster innovative thinking?

And what about developing innovative thinking among our younglings? Is there a way to teach innovation?

I've been looking around for answers to these questions, and will tackle this subject in my Live Wire column in our February issue. But I’d really love to hear from you about innovation. Can it be taught? Can it be forced? What do you do to keep innovation alive in your machine design?