Want innovation? Forget invention, learn to execute

Richard W. DeVaul
5 min readApr 14, 2021
Circus performers executing their art, circa 1890, Library of Congress

When I ask what innovation is, I often hear the term “invention.” Sometimes I hear “design.” Almost never do I hear “execution.” And yet, without execution there is no product, no service, no impact. Overvaluing invention and undervaluing execution leads to poor resource allocation and underperformance in most innovation-focused organizations.

innovation is not driven by…

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Richard W. DeVaul

Founder, mad scientist, moonshot launcher. Writes on innovation, entrepreneurship, and social/queer issues. ex-CTO of Google X. @rdevaul on twitter