Most multi-talented innovators end up using their ideas and breakthroughs to make the world better. Breathing new life into their stagnant industries, creating a better world through production. As valuable as this is, even greater progress comes from the polymath. That extraordinary individual with a hunger to explore everything. Willing to expand their abilities in many areas and industries, and views the world as it is, and as it could be.
Here is a list of innovators who did not settle for mastery in a single school of thought. Instead, they worked in many areas of production and trade. Below are six examples of this rare breed; three from the past, and three of the present day and age.Many #innovators did not settle for mastery in a single school of #thought Click To Tweet
Multi-Talented Innovators from the past:
1- Leonardo da Vinci (April 15, 1452 – May 2, 1519)
For any history buff or artist, the name Leonardo da Vinci is recognizable and respected. Leonardo is best known as a painter, but during his lifetime he was also a skilled draftsman and thinker. During the Italian Renaissance, he earned acclaim as a writer, engineer, and inventor.
Because of the tools and technology of his time, many of Leonardo’s ideas remained on paper. He conceptualized many modern day products that are in use today, including:
A man of great imaginative thought, Leonardo’s breadth of expertise earned him the nickname Renaissance Man. It serves him still, making him the best example of an innovator with many talents and abilities. If he were alive today, with access to 21st-century technology, we can only imagine what he would be capable of.
2- Galileo Galilei (February 15, 1564, Pisa, Italy – January 8, 1642, Arcetri, Italy)
Known as the “Father of Observational Astronomy,” the “Father of Modern Physics,” the “Father of Scientific Method,” and the “Father of Science.”
Galileo was the most innovative man of the 17th century’s scientific revolution. His master talent advanced the fields of physics, astronomy, cosmology, mathematics, and philosophy. Not only was Galileo well versed in these areas of study, through innovation he improved on them. Inventing upgrades for the telescope that allowed for a deeper observation of space.
Through his upgrades, the moons of Jupiter, the rings of Saturn, and the phases of Venus are events we can watch. As well as sunspots, and the rough lunar surface. Galileo was a controversial figure during his time. His outspoken idea of the Sun as the center of our star system resulted in an investigation into him by the Roman Inquisition in 1615.
After writing and releasing his book “Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems,” the Inquisition charged him of heresy, finding him, “vehemently suspect of heresy,” and forced to recant.
He spent the rest of his life under house arrest. During this time he wrote one of his best-known works, “Two New Sciences,” in which he summarized his early ideas. These ideas, once unnamed and unexplored, are now recognized as Kinematics and Strength Of Materials.
It is this reason, above all else, that qualifies Galileo is considered a multi-talented innovator.
During that time in history, self-promotion was not something that people practiced. Galileo knew better and sold himself as well as his ideas. Thanks to this skill he became very famous, his thoughts and discoveries gaining lots of attention. While this worked in his favor in his early years, when his theories and ideas began to lose him support he did not compromise his integrity or findings.
Only when threatened with death by the Inquisition did he recant his theory on the Earth orbiting the Sun. But immediately afterward he uttered “E pur si muove” or “And yet it moves” in subtle defiance.
Galileo and his breakthroughs paved the way for the artists and scientists that followed. He continues to serve as an inspiration for all those who gaze into the cosmos today.
3- Nikola Tesla (July 10, 1856 – January 7, 1943)
Nikola Tesla was a Serbian-American inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, and physicist. Despite his lack of fame, he has been the inspiration for fellow inventors, scientists, and innovators for generations.
Tesla’s innovations in electric power changed the industry while it was still in its infancy. While others were attempting to copy Edison and grab onto his success, Tesla was pushing electronics further. Creating new methods of production, transmission, and application. His invention of the first alternating current motor. His development of AC generation, as well as his explorations of communication technology.
But, the main reason Tesla is on this particular list is that he was what is now known as a futurist among creative people.
A brilliant and inquisitive mind that saw what the world could be, and then set about making it so. Despite the fact that his industry was not yet completely realized. Tesla invented and improved rather than sit back and react to the time. He invented electronic oscillators, and meters. He improved on lights, and created the high-voltage transformer that we know today as the “Tesla coil.” He also experimented with X-rays and short-range radio waves.
While all these achievements center around the same field of study, they illustrate a man of many talents and skills. Willing and able to create the type of world that he would rather exist in. Even going so far to mold it with his bare hands.
Multi-Talented Innovators from the Present:
1- Carl Djerassi (October 29, 1923 – January 30, 2015)
Dr. Djerassi is one of the 21st century’s most accomplished polymaths. Before his death, he earned a Ph.D. in organic chemistry in 1945, became a novelist of science-fiction, a poet, and a successful playwright.
In 1943, Dr. Djerassi worked for CIBA in New Jersey, developing Pyribenzamine (tripelennamine). His first patent and one of the first commercial antihistamines, this was the first step he made on his journey to become known as the “Father Of the Pill.” During his time at Syntex, he completed that journey by creating the first generation of oral contraceptive pills.
Known today as the birth-control pill. Carl Djerassi is a perfect representation of the old world of genius, and the resources of the new world. Embracing the technology and research of the 21st century in science and creativity.
When he began writing, he used his expertise to explore the science fiction genre and theater. His debut novels, “Cantor’s Dilemma” and “Bourbaki Gambit,” portrayed lives of real scientists. A character study of intellectuals, with all their accomplishments, conflicts, and aspirations.
This type of writing became known as Lab-lit, and it makes Dr. Djerassi an innovator of modern literature as the creator of a new sub-genre. After earning success with his literature, he began writing plays.
He completed his first An Immaculate Misconception, in 1998. It dealt with the in vitro fertilization procedure ICSI. Following Misconception came six other theatrical productions. The last, Insufficiency, in 2012, is a bitter satire of both the scientific community and academic environments.
A doctor, a novelist, a poet, and playwright Dr. Djerassi is a perfect bridge between the old world and the new. An innovator of the highest order, and a herald of hope in the continued appearance of talent and innovation among mankind.
2- Steve Jobs (February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011)
If you’ve been awake in the last 20 or so years, you’ve heard the name, Steve Jobs.
Despite dropping out of Reed College, Jobs became an entrepreneur and leveraged his success into many areas. He became a businessman, an inventor, and an industrial designer, always advancing the industries he stepped into.
He was the co-founder and CEO of Apple Inc, chief executive officer of Pixar, a member of The Walt Disney board of directors, and the founder and chief executive officer of NeXT. Due to their contributions to the tech industry, Jobs and Steve Wozniak are two of the pioneers of the microcomputer revolution.
Speaking of the great and powerful Woz, let us take a moment and determine why Jobs is on this list, but Wozniak is not. It is not because one was smarter than the other, or because of fame or charisma.
No, the only reason that Wozniak is not on this list is that he had a more focused specialty, the computer. Jobs, in comparison, and due to his lack of ability to write code or build a computer processor, was more versatile in his innovation. Unrestrained, per say, in his way of thinking.
Steve Jobs seemed to operate under the impression that any product was subject to change. Capable of being better, faster, and more beautiful with enough effort. His peers in the industry saw computers as an exclusive tool for experts and scientists.
Jobs believed that the computer belonged to the people. He believed that it could be an extension of a person’s very body. A tool that should attract the eye and utilized with as much ease as possible.
While we placed plastic CD’s into our disk players, Steve saw a bulge, interrupting the figure of man. He saw an opportunity to create something smaller, sleeker, and more advanced in the iPod. He possessed an unlimited imagination that saw a company that used computers to create and design.
Make no mistake; Steve Jobs was a true multi-talented innovator. He understood that quality was one of the most important things in life and that everything can be better.
3- Elon Musk (Born: June 28, 1971)
Elon Musk is a South African-born Canadian-American business magnate. An investor, engineer, and inventor, he is one of the most innovative and talented individuals alive today. As well as one of the wealthiest.
He is the founder and high-ranking executive of several successful and ground-breaking companies. Among these are SpaceX, Tesla Inc, OpenAI, and Neuralink. He is also the founder of X.com, which merged with Confinity and took the name PayPal. Elon Musk has been and currently is, at the forefront of some of the most innovative inventions and developments of the last two decades.
As of May 2017, his estimated net worth is $15.2 billion, making him the 80th-wealthiest person in the world. In December 2016, he ranked 21st on the Forbes list of The World’s Most Powerful People.
Musk has displayed and expressed concrete goals for his products and companies. As well as ambitious altruistic ideals. He has stated in the past that the goals of his companies, SolarCity, Tesla, and SpaceX, revolve around his vision to change the world and humanity.
Goals include the reduction of global warming through sustainable energy production and consumption. Also, reducing the “risk of human extinction” by “making life multi-planetary” through the establishment of a human colony on Mars.
Alongside his primary business, he conceptualized a high-speed transportation system known as Hyperloop. He proposed a VTOL supersonic jet aircraft with electric fan propulsion, referred to as the Musk electric jet.
With every product and new design, Musk reveals himself to be one of the most generous innovators of his time. A multi-talented designer, and the most proactive futurist… ever. Indeed if he manages to fulfill the goals of SpaceX, he will have changed the course of human history. Having taken the first permanent steps towards a new, interplanetary epoch of humanity.