Hedy Lamarr (1913 – 2000) was considered “the most beautiful woman in Europe” and “the most beautiful woman in the world.” However, Rita J. King , in the Linkedin article, “Five Things that the ‘Most Beautiful Woman in the World’ Taught Us About Innovation,” highlights Lamarr’s additional qualities:
Her real accomplishments as an inventor, however, are far more dazzling than “the most beautiful woman on the world” was on screen.
Without her, we might not have cell phones, defense satellites and wireless Internet. So what can we learn about innovation from Hedy Lamarr?
1) Take risks. Hedy fled her country and husband in 1937. “It was his game to keep me prisoner,” she said, “It had been my game to escape. He lost.” On the trip to the United States she landed a Hollywood contract. She also gave herself a new name, Lamarr, after the sea, La Mar.
2) Collaborate. Five years after her film debut, at a dinner party in Hollywood, she met an avant-garde composer and shared her idea to protect US radio-guided torpedoes from enemy interference. She left her number in red lipstick on his windshield so the discussion could continue. The pair patented the invention and presented it to the United States Government for a “Secret Communications System” to help defeat Hitler.
3) Create the Future. Today, the science in this patent serves as the basis for the technology used in cell phones, pagers, wireless Internet and defense satellites, to name a few devices.
4) Don’t rush. “The world isn’t getting any easier,” Hedy Lamarr once said. “With all these new inventions I believe that people are hurried more and pushed more… The hurried way is not the right way. You need time for everything, time to work, time to play, time to rest.”
5) Be Curious. “Hope and curiosity about the future seemed better than guarantees. That’s the way I was. The unknown was always so attractive to me, and still is.”
Hedy Lamarr was beautiful and smart; the five pieces of advice she left us make her an excellent role model.