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What you can learn about innovation management from Arnold Schwarzenegger

Arnold Schwarzenegger, a man who has reinvented himself again and again. His career is remarkable; there are hardly any celebrities who have been as successful in so many different fields as he has.

Innovation management and the life of Arnold Schwarzenegger have a lot in common.

In this article you will learn what you can learn about innovation management from this remarkable personality.

Mr Universe, Terminator and Governor

Whether he was the world's best bodybuilder at the time, a successful international actor for decades or a political career as governor of California 2003-2007, Arnold Schwarzenegger has a unique concept for success that has role model flair. What can we learn from him when it comes to innovation management?

Three different stages of life, three different success stories, three different factors that are decisive for him. According to him, time, timing and efficiency are the three most important components when it comes to achieving one's goals.

"Everyone has a 24-hour day"

Whether you are the President of the United States, an individual or a company, we all have the same amount of time. The only difference is what is done with it. We may sleep for six hours, but that means we have 18 hours in which to be efficient. The right amount of time management and willpower is required here.

As a company, time is essential for innovation; Apple, Tesla and Co. don't exactly have less to do than other companies. Time does not fall into your lap, it is a conscious decision to take it.

For innovations, time not only has to be taken, but also properly managed; willpower also plays a big role here.

Arnold Schwarzenegger sums it up in this short video:


After that, the following question is important: 

Why should an innovation be implemented?

Here it is essential to create a clear vision and focus on one thing. Arnold Schwarzenegger may have been successful in many different industries, but he was still single-minded in each area and always kept the focus on a certain stage of his life. His strength definitely lies in sticking to his strategy and following his rules.

When it comes to innovation, it is important not only to want to innovate, but to answer the question of why and how this goal can be achieved. Here it helps to create a concrete strategy to realise visions.

Without a clear goal, you wander around, you need a red thread, such as a roadmap, to stick to.

Most innovations do not come about by chance, but by clearly following a strategy. The aeroplane also had a long history until it became the aeroplane that flies in the sky today. It was not invented by chance. 


„It is hard work“

Achieving goals is usually associated with hard work; in order to bring a company successfully to an innovation goal, awareness must be created for the implementation. Innovations are structured projects that usually cannot be realised overnight. Apart from that, it helps to have them accompanied by internal and external experts within the process.

„Don’t listen to the Nay Sayers”
“Don’t be afraid of failing”

Two essential points that are important in the development of an innovation: 

  1. Innovation often has to fight headwinds and counter-players, on the one hand because new things can be scary, on the other hand because "old things" are sometimes seen as better.
  2. There is no one who does not make mistakes.  Even before the innovation is planned, the fear of failure must not be greater. It is better to try and learn from mistakes than not to take the plunge.


Innovation management and the life of Arnold Schwarzenegger have a lot in common, especially as a person who has always found ways to reinvent himself, he was the perfect mentor for this article. Much of his advice and self-imposed rules are helpful for achieving goals and generate motivation, perhaps also motivation for you, so that the path to your innovation goal and the implementation of this goal becomes successful.


Tanja Eschberger-Friedl

With her clear and focused way of working, Tanja supports you with strategic innovation management and the successful development of product, process, and market innovations. Tanja always keeps an eye on the essentials. Holistic solutions are her aim. She applies her specialist knowledge as a scrum master and agility coach to achieve this.

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