A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from December 12, 2011
“Innovate or die”

"Innovate or die” is a popular slogan for business innovation. The computer industry frequently used the saying since at least 1996, and it was used by Microsoft Corp. and its founder, Bill Gates. Business author Tom Peters issued a DVD titled Innovate or Die! (1997).

The saying “innovate or die” has been cited in print since at least 1958. The “-or die” formulation has had a long use in American history, reflected in New Hampshire’s state slogan of “Live free or die.”


Google Books
The Economic Order;
An introduction to theory and policy

By Paul T. Homan
New York, NY: Harcourt, Brace
1958
Pg. 302:
With business, however, it is frequently innovate or die. Hence the constant search for inventions and even the tendency to support invention and scientific research within the corporate structure.

Google Books
Dun’s Review and Modern Industry
Volume 71
March 1958
Pg. 34:
PRODUCT PLANNING FOR FUTURE PROFITS
RICHARD D. CRISP
“Innovate or die!” In any industry, over the long run, that’s the iron law of the market.

Google Books
The Meaning of Modern Business:
An introduction to the philosophy of large corporate enterprise

By Richard Sedric Fox Eells
New York, NY: Columbia University Press
1960
Pg. 225:
Nevertheless, “customer satisfaction” may be only a shibboleth that really means “innovate or die” in a hard competitive market. It is simply expedient to coddle the reluctant buyer.

15 September 1966, Tucson (AZ) Daily Citizen, “Of birds and beer and lady gridders” by Don Schellie, pg. 21, col. 1:
“Innovate or Die” was the announced title of his talk.
(A public relations man for a brewery, talk before the Tucson Ad Club—ed.)

Google Books
The Case for Capitalism
Edited by Michael William Ivens and Reginald E. Dunstan
London, published in association with Aims of Industry by Joseph
1967
Pg. 43:
Not for nothing is ‘innovate or die’ the watchword of the world’s most successful companies.

Google Books
The Entrepreneurs:
Explorations within the American business tradition

By Robert Sobel
New York, NY: Weybright and Talley
1974
Pg. 377:
Innovate or die might well be the motto of the American entrepreneur, and it has been that way since the nation’s founding.

15 May 1983, Springfield (MA) Sunday Republican, pg. F8, col. 1:
“Innovate or die” is an adage that more and more companies are taking more seriously. Business knows that new products are essential to retain or increase sales, to maintain consumer interest, to keep trade support and to sustain recognition by the financial community, according to Martin J. Friedman who edits “New Product News” for Dancer Fitgerald Sample Inc.

Google Books
Managing Technological Innovation and Entrepreneurship
By Michael J. C. Martin
Reston, VA: Reston Pub. Co.
1984
Pg. 47:
That is, quite simply a company must “innovate or die.” The process of innovation is fundamental to a healthy and viable organization. Those who do not innovate ultimately fail.

Google Books
The Investment Banking Handbook
By J. Peter Williamson
New York, NY: Wiley
1988
Pg. 463:
With the rise of the commercial paper market in the 1970s, U.S. money center banks have been faced with a clear choice: innovate or die.

21 March 1988, St. Petersburg (FL) Times, “Takeovers altering retailing Series: Retailing” by Mark Albright, Business, pg. 13:
“What’s really happening is that the less-profitable, less-innovative chains can’t compete with stores like Wal-Mart and The Limited, the mass merchandisers and speciality stores that have put together cheaper and faster distributions systems,” says Roger Blackwell, a professor at Ohio State University’s Center for Retailing. “Today it’s innovate or die. I think in the future there will be only two dominant department store chains left: Macy’s and May Department Store Co.”

Google News Archive
4 March 1990, Boca Raton (FL) News, “Test-marketing today is a high-tech art” by Pamela Brown, USA Weekend, pg. 13, col. 1:
“Competition is fierce,” says Marty Friedman, editor of New Product News. “Companies must innovate or die.”

Google Books
August 1992, Popular Science, “Bike to the Future” by Marcelle M. Soviero, pg. 100, col. 1:
David Schultz and Robert Egger, product designers for Specialized Bicycle Components in Morgan Hill, Calif, and both avid cyclists, have a serious motto: “Innovate or die.”

Google Books
April 1995, Popular Mechanics, pg. 48, col. 2:
Specialized’s motto is “Innovate or die,” and the Electra Globe is a good example of the company’s forward thinking.

CNET News
October 18, 1996 5:15 PM PDT
Innovate or die on the Net
By CNET News.com Staff
If Netscape Communications is David to Microsoft’s Goliath, then FTP Software (FTPS) may be one of several bugs trying to get out from under Goliath’s foot.

OCLC WorldCat record
Promoting innovation: innovate or die
Author: I Harvey
Publisher: [London] : Heyden, [c1976-
Edition/Format:  Article : English
Publication: Interdisciplinary science reviews : ISR. 21, no. 2, (1996): 169
Database: ArticleFirst

OCLC WorldCat record
Innovate or die, minister warns industry leaders
Publisher: Horton Kirby, Kent : Innopress Ltd.,
Edition/Format:  Article : English
Publication: Eureka. 16, no. 2, (1996): 18
Database: ArticleFirst
Other Databases: British Library Serials

OCLC WorldCat record
Innovate or die : a personal perspective on the art of innovation
Author: Jack V Matson
Publisher: Royal Oak, Mich. : Paradigm Press, 1996.
Edition/Format:  Book : English

OCLC WorldCat record
Innovate or die!
Author: Thomas J Peters; Von Polk; Linda Klemstein; Katalin Groh; Van King; All authors
Publisher: Cambridge, MA : Enterprise Media, ©1997.
Edition/Format:  DVD video : CD for computer : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary: Tom Peters discusses why organizations have to stay ahead of the curve and adapt themselves to the ever changing face of business. If unable to perform this task a business will fail.

OCLC WorldCat record
It’s Innovation - Don’t miss the main message of our time: Innovate or die!
Author: Tom Peters
Publisher: Provo, Utah : Learning Associates International,
Edition/Format:  Article : English
Publication: Executive excellence. 15, no. 1, (1998): 20
Database: ArticleFirst
Other Databases: British Library Serials

7 March 1998, Sacramento (CA) Bee, “Gates stayed true to form as master of the message,” pg. D1:
“I need to innovate or die,” Gates said in the quote of the hearing.
(Microsoft’s Bill Gates speaking before a Congressional committee—ed.)

OCLC WorldCat record
Innovate or die : business thinking outside the square.
Author: Jack Collis
Publisher: New south wales : HarperCollinsPublishers, 2007.
Edition/Format:  Book : English
Summary: Outlines the importance of original thinking to give you the edge on the competition. Drawing on his many years of experience as a marketing manager, the author uses anecdote and example to illustrate new ways to approach business and to succeed at it.

SmartPlanet
Is innovation’s importance overrated?
By Mark Halper | December 12, 2011, 5:17 AM PST
There’s an old adage that says “innovate or die.” Given recent trends in China, however, I’m wondering if innovation is overrated. Perhaps the phrase should read “innovate or live.”

Two weeks ago, SmartPlanet noted that China is moving away from simply being a great copier and manufacturer, as it emerges as a powerhouse of innovation. My colleague Andrew Nusca cited a Harvard Business Review story noting that, ”The Chinese government’s latest five-year plan emphasizes the need for long-term investment in research and development, to shift China from being ‘factory to the world’ to being an innovation-driven, knowledge and service economy.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityWork/Businesses • (1) Comments • Monday, December 12, 2011 • Permalink


I’m really pleased to read about “Innovate or die!” In any industry, over the long run, that’s the iron law of the market. Love this article to read. Thanks for this allocation. smile

Posted by Andrew clark  on  05/14  at  06:09 AM

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