Efficient Solutions from George Washington Carver

Photo of George Washington Carver, peanut innovator

George Washington Carver, the peanut innovator. (Courtesy of the Missouri government website: http://agriculture.mo.gov/img/pics/gwc_240.jpg)

Another tribute in support of Black History Month (February). A little outside of that date, but who’s really counting? – TCW

George Washington Carver

George Washington Carver is known as the inventor of hundreds of uses of the peanut. His productivity and the myriad efficient solutions he created helped revolutionize an ailing agricultural industry that was being decimated by the cotton boll weevil. Although he was an inventor and a scientist, his focus was continually on serving the needs of the people around him. What are some of the take-aways from Dr. Carver’s illustrious career?

Be Resourceful

When Dr. Carver joined what later became the Tuskegee Institute, his budget as the director of the Agricultural Department was extremely limited. Therefore, he had to be extremely resourceful. To find equipment and other items for his lab, he searched the trash around the school and other areas in town and recycled or repurposed the items he found. By seeing problems and issues as challenges and not as epic fails, you too can generate effective and efficient solutions to the roadblocks you encounter.


Sometimes, the best way to determine efficient solutions to problems is to attempt to explain something or to instruct others in that area. Dr. Carver was a professor at both Iowa State University, where he was previously a student, and at Tuskegee Institute, where he was also an administrator. Although he was already a prolific innovator, his having to explain concepts to others helped him to generate new ideas and innovations and to identify gaps in his thinking. Similarly, explaining or teaching others helps you to better understand that which you really know well and that which you do not. You can then obtain additional information or training to help yourself or others in your “iffy understanding” areas. Doing this can help you become more of an innovator.

Growth is a continual process. If you are not growing in some way, you are stagnating. Focusing on innovating in your business or in your personal development and increasing your exposure to new concepts and ideas can help you strengthen your business and your role as a leader.