This past weekend's Financial Times offers a 13-step process on How to Innovate. David Bodanis provides a few interesting suggestions, viewed through the career of Alexander Graham Bell, less well-known as a tutor to deaf youth in Boston. His motivation as an inventor could also have been his pursuit of one of his students Mabel Hubbard, and the connections or wealth the Hubbard family offered.
Spoiler alert: Bell may, or may not have invented the telephone. German inventor Philipp Reis claims to have a similar device built as early as 1863. But Bell got the girl and married Mabel in 1877 -- a year after patenting the telephone in the U.S.