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Da Vinci: The Ideal Innovator

Updated: Jul 8, 2020

Leonardo da Vinci is revered as one of the greatest artists of all time. His major works, such as the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper, have inspired the world for more than 500 years as global icons in Renaissance art.

Da Vinci's paintings and sketches have been distinguished by their stunning realism in perspective, motion, proportion and depth. A mysterious something in his construction of the people, structures and nature in his paintings draws the viewer in and captivates their imagination.

What was it about him that enabled him to create art so distinct and unique in its power to capture our world in such realistic and emotional ways? Yes, he possessed the base requirement of artistic talent. But many of his day had equal or superior raw talent.

Duality Mindset

The thing that I believe really set Da Vinci apart was the duality of his mindset. He wasn't merely an artist, interpreting and recording what he saw, or even what he felt. Da Vinci was also an engineer and technician who studied the world around him in painstaking detail, both qualitatively and quantitatively.

He is (in)famous for dissecting dozens of cadavers in order to understand the internal composition of the human body. His research actually pioneered the study of human anatomy. He would scientifically break down and describe subjects as minute and obscure as the tongue of a woodpecker. He would observe the motion of water for hours so he could recreate it realistically.

He then applied what he'd learned to his art and architecture, taking it to a level of accuracy and connection that no other Renaissance artist could approach. In fact, many of his paintings and architectural designs incorporate mathematical formulas and proportions like the Fibonacci Sequence and the Golden Ratio, which have been discovered to be scientifically pleasing to the eye.

As a commissioned engineer, Da Vinci combined his technical knowledge and research with his artistic ability to develop advanced and functional designs for everything from bridges, city plans and aqueducts to tanks, helicopters and submarines.

Science Enhances Innovation

Innovation is widely seen as an artistic endeavor in today's business world. Like many left-brained pursuits, it is considered largely unpredictable, relying mostly on creative inspiration and a bit of luck. Sometimes this approach results in a great work of art; more often though, the "painting" doesn't really appeal to the audience as intended.

Just as it did for Da Vinci, a scientific approach can enable superior innovation for you.

Utilizing Lean Six Sigma, a scientific, data-driven process optimization approach, variability and defects are driven out of the innovation process, and efficiency is built in. In this way, innovation evolves from a "fun" (creative, random and frequently unsuccessful) exercise to a "boring" (highly-refined, predictable and consistently successful) business function.

If your innovation art could use some engineering precision, let me know. I can help you innovate like Da Vinci and create a masterpiece.

Daniel Small

Founder & CEO

Da Vinci Innovation


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