How The Brightest Minds in Tech Approach Innovation

WalkMe Team
By WalkMe Team
Updated August 2, 2022
“Innovation” is a favorite buzzword among executives. But despite its overuse, understanding the keys to innovation remains a top strategic priority for virtually every company, especially those undergoing digital transformation. Across all industries, the ability to execute innovative ideas has become critical to succeed in a rapidly evolving business world. Companies that strive for agility and encourage innovative thinking are better equipped to solve problems quickly and creatively. Moreover, they will differentiate themselves from competitors and emerge as leaders in their respective markets. The effect of innovation is most clearly illustrated by the ever-accelerating pace of technological progress. Through their unwavering commitment to innovation, the visions of modern tech pioneers have manifested beyond perhaps even their own expectations.

Don’t let digital transformation obstacles stifle innovation.

How can leaders today keep innovation at the forefront? Here are 14 thoughts on the keys to innovation from some of the most successful leaders in tech.

Elon Musk

Founder, CEO and CTO of SpaceX; Co-Founder and CEO and Product Architect of Tesla; Co-Founder and Chairman of OpenAI; and Founder and CEO of Neuralink. Twitter: @elonmusk

“I don’t believe in process. In fact, when I interview a potential employee and he or she says that ‘it’s all about the process,’ I see that as a bad sign… The problem is that at a lot of big companies, process becomes a substitute for thinking. You’re encouraged to behave like a little gear in a complex machine. Frankly, it allows you to keep people who aren’t that smart, who aren’t that creative.”

Source: Wired

Bill Gates

Co-Founder and Former Chairman of Microsoft, Co-Chair of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Twitter: @BillGates

“Software innovation, like almost every other kind of innovation, requires the ability to collaborate and share ideas with other people, and to sit down and talk with customers and get their feedback and understand their needs.”

Source: BBC News

Sheryl Sandberg

COO of Facebook. Twitter: @sherylsandberg

“Endless data show that diverse teams make better decisions. We are building products that people with very diverse backgrounds use, and I think we all want our company makeup to reflect the makeup of the people who use our products. That’s not true of any industry really, and we have a long way to go.”

Source: USA Today

Jeff Bezos

Founder and CEO of Amazon. Twitter: @JeffBezos

“If you never want to be criticized, for goodness’ sake don’t do anything new.”

Source: Business Insider

Ginni Rometty

CEO of IBM. Twitter: @GinniRometty

“The only way you survive is you continuously transform into something else. It’s this idea of continuous transformation that makes you an innovation company.”

Source: Fortune

Steve Jobs

Co-Founder and Former CEO and Chairman of Apple

“Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It’s not about money. It’s about the people you have, how you’re led, and how much you get it.”

Source: Wired

Tim Cook

CEO of Apple. Twitter: @tim_cook

“You look for wicked smart people. You look for people who appreciate different points of view. People who care enough that they have an idea at 11 at night and they want to call and talk to you about it. Because they’re so excited about it, they want to push the idea further. And that they believe that somebody can help them push the idea another step instead of them doing everything themselves.”

Source: Business Insider

Satya Nadella

CEO of Microsoft. Twitter: @satyanadella

“Empathy makes you a better innovator. If I look at the most successful products we [at Microsoft] have created, it comes with that ability to meet the unmet, unarticulated needs of customers.”

Source: Fortune

Safra Catz

Co-CEO of Oracle. 

“Let your customers be your partners; let your vendors be your employees. What’s necessary in this transformation more than anything else is courage and a willingness to change.”

Source: Forbes

Reed Hastings

Co-Founder and CEO of Netflix. Twitter: @reedhastings

“But as an entrepreneur you have to feel like you can jump out of an airplane because you’re confident that you’ll catch a bird flying by. It’s an act of stupidity, and most entrepreneurs go splat because the bird doesn’t come by, but a few times it does.”

Source: Wired

Jack Ma

Co-Founder and CEO of Alibaba

“You should learn from your competitor, but never copy. Copy and you die.”

Source: The New York Times

Sundar Pichai

CEO of Google. Twitter: @sundarpichai

“As a leader, a lot of your job is to make those people successful. It’s less about trying to be successful [yourself], and more about making sure you have good people and your work is to remove that barrier, remove roadblocks for them so that they can be successful in what they do. So that’s how I’ve always thought about it.”

Source: Quartz India

Mark Zuckerberg

Founder and CEO of Facebook

“For any given decision that you’re going to make, there’s upside and downside, but in aggregate if you are stagnant and you don’t make those changes, then I think you’re guaranteed to fail and not catch up.”

Source: Y Combinator

Susan Wojcicki

CEO of YouTube. Twitter: @SusanWojcicki

“Rarely are opportunities presented to you in a perfect way. In a nice little box with a yellow bow on top. ‘Here, open it, it’s perfect. You’ll love it.’ Opportunities — the good ones — are messy, confusing and hard to recognize. They’re risky. They challenge you.”

Source: YouTube

Discover how support for digital learning can strengthen your innovation efforts.

WalkMe Team
By WalkMe Team
WalkMe pioneered the Digital Adoption Platform (DAP) for organizations to utilize the full potential of their digital assets. Using artificial intelligence, machine learning and contextual guidance, WalkMe adds a dynamic user interface layer to raise the digital literacy of all users.