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Innovation Myths and the Unsexy Truths About Breakthroughs

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

Photograph by Peter DaSilva/The New York Times

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The Lone Genius

But Musk doesn't innovate alone, and neither does Justin Rosenstein, who started collaboration-software maker Asana with Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz.

"Innovation as a result of a single person's stroke of genius is a myth," says Rosenstein, a former manager at Facebook who led the team that built the "Like" button, among other things. "Real innovation comes from teamwork and from a culture of collaboration."

The "lone genius" idea comes from our culture's tendency to elevate the individual entrepreneur, he says.

"It just doesn't reflect the reality of innovation," Rosenstein says. "You hear about the great men in history. It would be much more accurate to call it the great teams in history."

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