Great Innovator – Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin is one of America’s famous inventors. He is credited with many innovative ideas including (electricity, bifocals, Franklin Stove, glass armonica, lightning rod)[] and several other ideas. Of course he didn’t invent electricity, but did make many discoveries regarding it.

But that is just the new devices, designs, or products that he created and popularized. He also was a life hacker – design-thinker of life. He incorporated his curiosity, openness to ideas, and bias toward action into his whole life.

Up, sluggard, and waste not life; in the grave will be sleeping enough.
– Benjamin Franklin

Leather Apron Club

Franklin started a secret club called the Leather Apron Club. It was secret not in its existence but in its membership for fear that if people knew they would want to join also and it would become to big. A key element were that each of the members were from distinctly different backgrounds and brought their own perspectives to the discussions.

The Leather Apron Club was called Junto which is a mistaken variation of the Spanish word Junta or “joined”- how fitting that mistakes were baked into the name of this innovative idea.

The Junto met to discuss ideas, problems, business, society and worked together to bring their perspectives together and solve the problems. This is the basis of collaborative problem solving and design thinking.

Defining your Junto

Who is in your Junto? Who are your life-collaborators? Who do you bring together to help solve problems and chew on solutions?

These were the questions that came to my mind as I heard about Franklin’s club. I get to define and decide on the answers to these questions – how great is that?

Franklin didn’t file for patents, he published his ideas (like the Franklin Stove) and shared them with the world so people to adopt them and make the world a better place. Adopt his Junto idea today and you are following in the steps of a great innovator and who knows, maybe someday you can invent electricity yourself!