RGS Guildford courtyard with students

Reflection: Innovation

When we think of innovation, we often think of grand milestones, such as the first mass production of a car, or the people behind those milestones, like Henry Ford; however, there is much more to innovation than just the gleaming achievements.  Innovation takes hard work, passion, and belief, which often go unnoticed.  If Ford did not believe in his production lines that ultimately led to cars becoming affordable for the first time, perhaps cars would still be exclusively for the mega-wealthy, rather than a symbol of modern society like it is today.  Henry Ford himself said, “enthusiasm is the irresistible surge of will and energy to execute your ideas”.

His passion for innovation can also be transferred to our own day-to-day lives.  Go create what you have always wanted to create.  Go research what you have always wanted to research.  Go do what you always wanted to do.  Not only will you be more satisfied with yourself, you may well also leave a tangible mark on the world, maybe even for generations.  Most things in our lives have come from innovation.  The internet?  Innovated by Tim Berners-Lee.  Aeroplanes?  Innovated by the Wright Brothers.  Ballpoint pens?  Innovated by Lazslo Biro.  There are so many more innovations that have a large impact on our lives.

However, innovation does not have to be on such a large scale, and you do not have to be Henry Ford to be an innovator.  The personal, small-scale innovations can be the most rewarding.  As we get closer to exams, it may be finding a new way to revise that is best for you, or it may be finding the perfect pace to run for the train at 4.00pm.  The ‘little’ small-scale innovations can also become something much greater.  For example, in 1968, the first blue LED was created.  While this in itself was ‘just’ an innovation of a new light, it paved the way for greater innovations, such as the first LED colour screen, which are now so common.

Innovation is about doing.  Everyone can have brilliant ideas or thoughts, but the hardest part is about putting it into action.  Thomas Edison, one of the greatest innovators of all time, himself said, “the value of an idea lies in the using of it.”   So, use your ideas, and become an innovator in your own life.

Alexander Davies
Senior Prefect