Enhance Productivity and Efficiency with Stephen’s Innovation Insights

Innovation Insights by Stephen Shapiro

Although I have dedicated the last 20 years of my life to understanding innovation, I no longer attend innovation conferences, unless I am speaking. Also, I read very few innovation books.


Two reasons. The first reason is that there seems to be very little innovation in the world of innovation; I’ve heard the same messages for years. The second reason is that if I am replicating what others are doing, I am not innovating and differentiating.

Therefore, instead of studying innovation, I spend a fair amount of my time studying pursuits that are “related” to innovation: neuroscience, psychology, sports performance, and magic.

I learn a lot about innovation by studying these disciplines. I’m more innovative when I study more than just innovation.

I call these “purposeful tangents.” (read an article I wrote on this topic)

Given that magic is one of my purposeful tangents, I subscribe to a great video magazine for magicians called Reel Magic. I was watching a video interview with magician Armando Lucero and was blown away by his perspectives. In the video he said that he stopped reading magic books when he was 16 – and this enhanced his creativity and his magic. Instead he studied math, philosophy, and engineering as ways of improving his magic (his purposeful tangents). His belief is that learning information is less important than learning about how to learn.

This is a brilliant example of how innovators – well, everyone – should think.

Reel Magic graciously agreed to let me post an edited 11 minute version of the interview here for you. (I only kept the bits related to purposeful tangents, although the entire interview is fascinating)

I hope you enjoy this. I know I did!

Click here to read transcription of this video

  1. Fascinating article – what a great way to look at one’s field. I particularly love the idea that just because you know the theory doesn’t mean you truly own the knowledge. Thanks for writing and thanks for sharing this video!

    • Thanks Allison! Your point on theory vs. owning the knowledge is so important. That was one aspect of the video I really liked. Learning a trick in a book doesn’t mean you own it. When you create something, you own it viscerally. I also believe that when you learn something from an area that is not your expertise, you need to process it differently. You need to understand the “deep structure” in order to internalize it. Therefore, I believe it is processed at a more profound level.

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