About the Book

Innovating is a human endeavor no one has previously codified as a profession. At a time when people worry about producing investor pitches, getting funding, and aspiring to place overhyped products, this book describes that a different world is possible.

Innovators are the explorers of our times. This book is a manifesto for doers to embrace their doing as an instrument for exploration. It is also an explorer’s guide into the impossible—by analogy with Arthur C Clarke’s laws of prediction. Clarke posits:

When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong. The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
— Arthur C Clarke

The book shows a path: Accept that you will learn by being wrong as you venture into the impossible in search for that thing others will come to appreciate as magical—an “innovation”—when your turn comes to tell your story in hindsight. 

Innovating builds from a decade of exploration for a better way to get you innovating right away. In that time, I have turned iTeams at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) into an innovation reactor from which we’ve steered more than 150 MIT technologies to impact. Worldwide, more than 3,000 individuals —undergraduates to senior executives have experienced different aspects of what is now the book’s content through my collaborations with industry and my teaching at MIT and internationally in Europe, Asia, and the United States. 

The book is premised on learning and in a way, informed by my background in artificial intelligence (AI) and the quest to make computers behave intelligently. Specifically, Innovating builds on lessons about what makes human intelligence and learning so difficult to mimic in computers. We do not learn by formula; we learn through practice and by engaging in sensory-rich experiences that you cannot  get from any ready-made recipe. The content of the book engages you in that practice.  The book contains rich and elaborate illustrations that summarize and help build a visual anchor to the contents.

My ambition is to make the ideas in Innovating universal so we can channel the rush of money and enthusiasm into fulfilling much bigger dreams: teleportation, flying cars, space exploration, tailored health, a more sustainable planet, building your own dream job, and so on. I want readers to know they get to pick their own next-to-impossible hunch and that they have a simple way to make it possible.  

This book is about how you go about creating a new world of opportunity around that next-to-impossible idea. It sets doers on a path to seize unexplored opportunities using what they already have and know. It removes the angst of conceiving an earth-shattering solution on day one, replacing the “fear of failure” that pushes many to compromise too early with an appetite for learning by being wrong. 

Enjoy, explore, do. 

Luis Perez-Breva