Innovation Myths and the Unsexy Truths About Breakthroughs

By Mark Milian - 2014-04-01T16:15:07Z

Photograph by Getty Images

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Best Ideas Bubble to the Top

As someone who has worked alongside visionary entrepreneurs such as Peter Thiel at PayPal, Reid Hoffman at LinkedIn and Jack Dorsey at Square, Keith Rabois has learned something about innovation: It usually doesn't come from the rank and file.

"Innovation is top down, not bottom up," says Rabois, who also points out that the process "is driven by a specific idea" coming from the C-suite.

"It's not like you do all these experiments and collect all this data and then you get something innovative," he says.

Of course, a great idea must be followed by great execution. Strong leaders can organize a company around new ideas and will a product into existence, Rabois says.

How do you get reusable rockets and mass-market electric cars? 

"Think Elon Musk," he says.

Related: Atop the Electronics World, Samsung Now Chasing Innovation