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The Centre for Optimism

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Optimism and Innovation

Optimism is the underpinning for innovation, entrepreneurship and creativity. 

These callings require resilience, experimentation and the understanding that failed experiments are on the pathway to success.

Glenn Barnes,  Joint Chair, Australian Citizens for Democratic Renewal

"Optimism is the font from which innovation flows.”

Jefferson Harcourt, Grey Innovation Group

Innovation and optimism are peas in a pod – they drive and influence one another,  and in many ways are central to the human experience.”

Brad Roberts, Xinova

"Optimism is the core of innovation: that there’s a better way"


Dr Martin Parkinson AC PMC, former Secretary, Australian Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

“Optimism drives curiousity which in turn fosters innovation and invention. So whatever the challenges we face, it’s better to tackle them with an optimistic bent, confident that nothing is insurmountable given enough will and effort.”

Lisa Chikarovski

“Optimism drives us to look at the ‘solution’ in the context of a ‘problem’ - it changes the negative connotation of ‘problematic’ into an opportunity to think about how we can do better.  Striving to improve is the underlying driver of innovation - the desire to make the world a better place.”

Robert Noyce, Intel’s Co-Founder

Optimism is an essential ingredient of innovation. How else can the individual welcome change over security, adventure over staying in safe places?”


Dr KH Kim

Want to Innovate? Science Says, “Be Optimistic!”


Associate Professor Kate Fox, RMIT

"Optimism is having the security to fail on your own terms knowing that you will be backed in despite the outcome."

“I believe optimism is the sparkle in our world. It is the optimists that believe positive change IS possible; they are the innovators, pioneers and changemakers that persist and continuously work towards a more positive world.”


Minerva Tantoco

"Reward people for bringing up problems. In order to innovate, you need to be an optimist but not a blind optimist."

Dr Cecilia Hilder

"We can’t have innovation without optimism - hope and confidence about the future. We now think of innovation in economic terms - about the wealth it will create - but innovation is creativity, it is doing and believing in making life better. Innovation is, in turn, optimism.  We all have moments where it is hard to be optimistic, but those of us who have had very difficult things happen know that things get better. It is our obligation to show those around us the truth and the power of optimism."

Evan Shellshear,  Author of Bestseller Innovation Tools

"The driving force behind disruptive innovation is a belief in the possible, a belief in progress, a belief in something better. "The Case for Optimism" embodies this disruptive perspective and gives us the mindset and drive to achieve it.”


Adrian Furner, Managing Director, Kommercialize

"It took James Dyson over 5000 versions to create his 1st vacuum cleaner.  To be a successful innovator you need to be resiliently optimistic or get lucky."


Rob Solic, Australia Wide Engineering Recruitment

"The obstacle is the difference between the optimist and the pessimist. The optimistic leader is an innovator, not distracted by obstacles which cloud the outcome"


Matthew Rascoff, Associate Vice Provost for Digital Education and Innovation, Duke University

“Optimism is crucial for all education leaders, doubly so for education innovators. The strange thing about optimism is that it is so infectious. It is a conversation-borne virus. Usually carriers don’t even know they’re transmitting it—but those on the receiving end always do.


Peter Riddles AM

"Optimism and innovation are virtually connected, each becoming the motivation for the other."

Lynn Wood, Founder of Ideaspies

"Optimism is essential for innovation. Fortunately it can be learned."

Optimism Can be Learned

Chris Reddy, Leadership Coach

"All innovation, change and progress must come from a belief that things can improve for the better.   Innovation requires change. Change is not possible without optimism and the idea that we can overcome obstacles and challenges."


Oludotun Babayemi, co-founder of Nigeria’s Connected Development

“Optimism drives imagination, with it, we exist, without it, we become inexistent.”


Paul Ramadge, Managing Director, The PLuS Alliance

“To dream, to imagine, to think about the world in new ways, to set out to make a positive difference, and to inspire others to join you . . . herein is the essence of optimism and innovation. Here's to the thousands of exceptional leaders who embody this spirit.


Paul Pastulovic, Yarra Valley Water

"The relationship between optimism and innovation is perfectly summed up in the line from the Frank Sinatra song Love and Marriage... ‘you can't have one without the other’"


Melis Senova, Author of “This Human”

“We are creative beings and have the ability to change our perceptions of reality just by changing our minds. If we are optimistic in our mindset, we perceive our reality positively, which then encourages us to go about creating more of it.”

Kylie Hargreaves, Chair of the Australian Ocean Energy Group

"What makes me optimistic? The fact that when the human spirit combines both innovation and kindness, extraordinary outcomes are inevitable." That's what , told me!

Dewi Savitri Wahab, Advisor to the Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs on Social and Culture matters.

"With optimism, we can be innovative and creative and thus, be a part of solution."

Dona Tantirimudalige

"Where necessity might be the mother of invention, without optimism, invention would seldom grow beyond the embryonic. What do I mean by that? Well, I believe optimism is critical in every step towards innovation. The drive to dream of what might be possible unconstrained by the perceived restrictions of the status quo requires optimism. The courage to not only envision the future you want but to step into planning and creating that future requires optimism. The willingness to step away from the theoretical and into action requires optimism. And when facing failure, the resilience to dust yourself off, regroup, learn, and try again (or try something different) requires optimism. Every step towards innovation requires optimism."


Rob Hartnett author, "It's all Possible: How to live an epic life and unleash the high-performance hero within you."

I don't believe I have ever met an innovator who is not an optimist. It didn't matter if they were in technology, film, arts, business or sport. It is impossible to innovate as a pessimist. When you are innovating you are asking “what could be” you are challenging the existing process, the existing thought. The reality is when you are innovating you are saying no to facts: That is facts as they are currently understood.

"Every innovator has looked at those who have gone before and said with respect, “great work, but I think there is a better way”. Think of Roger Bannister and the four-minute mile. Think of Einstein and then Stephen Hawking. Think of Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. Think of Sir Edmund Hillary. All innovators in their own way and all optimists for what is possible.

"Optimism allows us to understand that we see the world not as it is, but as we are with our current level of thinking. Innovation always requires a new level of thinking and optimism frees us to think at a higher level and inspire those around us."


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