61 Innovation Quotes That Spark Instant Action


November 21, 2023

Sometimes it feels like the universe is bursting with new ideas, but your brain’s just not catching them. One moment, you’re on the brink of the next big thing, and then you’re staring at a blank page. Inspiration feels like a distant dream, your motivation is on vacation, and let’s face it, the couch is calling your name. 

Even on these days, the spark of innovation is still embedded in your DNA. The truth is that you never really know when that lightbulb moment will strike. 

For those moments when you need a gentle nudge (or a full-blown shove) towards greatness, here’s a curated collection of 61 innovation quotes to kickstart your creativity. They come from the brilliant minds of today, the legends of yesteryears, and the visionaries of tomorrow. Let their wisdom reignite your fire and unleash your inner genius

1. “Whatever you want to do, if you want to be great at it, you have to love it and be able to make sacrifices for it.” 

-Maya Angelou

Graphic shows image of Maya Angelou and her quote about being great at what you love to do.

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2. “The things that make us different, those are our superpowers.”

-Lena Waithe 

3. “I believe you have to be willing to be misunderstood if you’re going to innovate.”

-Jeff Bezos

4. “Success is a collection of problems solved.”

-I.M. Pei

5. “Our greatest glory is not never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”


6. “In a time of great destruction, create something.”

-Maxine Hong Kingston

7. “Share your knowledge. It is a way to achieve immortality.”

-The Dalai Lama

8. “Mistakes are acceptable if they’re the result of moving forward.”

-Andrew Yang

9. “Do what in your heart feels right – for you’ll be criticized anyway.”

-Elenor Roosevelt

10. “All sorts of things can happen when you’re open to new ideas and playing around with things.”

-Stephanie Kwolek

 Image shows mountain at night with one of Stephanie Kwolek’s innovation quotes.

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11. “Never be limited by other people’s limited imaginations”

-Mae Jemison

12. “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”


13. “Design can be a powerful tool for good.”

-Miriam Kamara 

14. “Recognizing the need is the primary condition for design.”

-Charles Eames 

15. “To create, one must first question everything.”

-Eileen Gray 

16. “An idea is salvation by imagination.”

-Frank Lloyd Wright 

17. “Beauty perishes in life, but is immortal in art.”

-Leonardo da Vinci 

18. “Success isn’t about how much money you make, it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.”

-Michelle Obama 

19. “You already possess everything necessary to become great.”

-Crow Proverb

20. “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.”

-Fredrick Douglass 

 Image shows Fredrick Douglass’s quote about struggle and progress.

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21. “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”

-Alice Walker 

22. “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.”

-Shirley Chisholm 

23. “Those who say it can’t be done are usually interrupted by others doing it.”

-James Baldwin

24. “Have a vision of excellence, a dream of success, and work like hell.”

-Dr. Samuel DuBois Cook

25. “Better to get your dopamine from improving your ideas than having them validated.”

-Nat Friedman

26. “The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.”

-Dorothy Parker

27. “Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” 

-Andre Gide

28. “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”

-Marcel Proust

29. “Don’t let yesterday use up too much of today.”

-Cherokee Proverb

30. “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”

-Helen Keller

31. “Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience.”

-Paulo Coelho

Graphic shows Paulo Coelho’s quote about bravery and experience.

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32. “Everyone who is successful must have dreamed of something.”

-Maricopa Proverb

33. “Many business leaders fail to recognize that they’re sitting on acres of diamonds of unmet needs or obvious future opportunities.”

-Russell H. Conwell

34. “The quieter you become, the more you can hear.”

-Ram Dass

35. “The best ideas come as jokes. Make your thinking as funny as possible.”

-David Ogilvy

36. “A dream will not become an innovation if there is no realization.”


37. “You have all the reason in the world to achieve your grandest dreams. Imagination plus innovation equals realization.”

-Denis Waitley

38. “No idea is so outlandish that it should not be considered.”

-Winston Churchill 

39. “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”

-Steve Jobs

40. “When all think alike, then no one is thinking.”

-Walter Lippmann

41. “Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is doing new things.”

-Theodore Levitt

Graphic shows Theodore Levitt’s quote about the difference between creativity and innovation.

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42. “If you do not express your own original ideas, if you do not listen to your own being, you will have betrayed yourself.”

-Rollo May

43. “Money never starts an idea; it is the idea that starts the money.”

-William J. Cameron

44. “If you have always done it that way, it is probably wrong.”

-Charles Kettering

45. “Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.”

-Brené Brown

46. “The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”

-Sylvia Plath

47. “Creativity takes courage.”

-Henry Matisse

48. “Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”

-Albert Einstein

49. “Finding opportunity is a matter of believing it’s there.”

-Barbara Corcoran

Graphic shows image of Barbara Corcoran and her quote about the importance of believing in opportunities. 

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50. “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”

-Maya Angelou

51. “What is now proved was once only imagined.”

-William Blake

52. “A dream will not become an innovation if there is no realization.”


53. “You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can’t get them across, your ideas won’t get you anywhere.”

-Lee Lacocca

54. “What good is an idea if it remains an idea? Try. Experiment. Fail. Try again. Change the world.”

-Simon Sinek

55. “Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.”

-George Addair

56. “There is no innovation and creativity without failure. Period.”

-Brene Brown

57. “If you’re not failing every now and again, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything very innovative.”

-Woody Allen

Graphic shows Woody Allen’s quote about the importance of failure in innovation. 

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58. “If at first, the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.”

-Albert Einstein

59. “They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” 

-Andy Warhol

60. “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”

-Alan Kay

61. “Innovation is taking two things that exist and putting them together in a new way.”

-Tom Freston

Spark instant action today

When you’re on the creative journey, it’s the words of the wise that can light your path. As you find your way through the highs and lows, let these 61 innovation quotes bring you one step closer to taking action. Remember, brilliance can bloom in the most unexpected moment. Every idea, big or small, has the power to change the world. 

Ready to unlock your next great idea? As the world’s leading Innovation Architect, I can help. Read more on my blog page now, or email me today to learn how to nurture creative thinking.

About Carla

Carla Johnson Innovation Creativity Speaker Author

Carla Johnson helps leaders who are often paralyzed by traditional thinking. They suffer from slow growth, an eroding competitive advantage, low employee engagement, and depleted investor confidence. Their teams lack purpose and progress and constantly battle a resistance to change and new ideas.

As the world’s leading innovation architect, Carla’s spent 20 years helping leaders shatter limits and discover undiscovered possibilities. Through years of research, she’s developed a simple, scalable 5-step process that teaches people how to consistently produce inspired ideas that lead to uncommon outcomes.