Importance of Social Networks and Idea Execution

The first reason is that Darwin’s network was much, much better than Wallace’s. Darwin was friends with Hooker, Lyell and Huxley. It was Hooker and Huxley that arranged the joint presentation of Darwin’s and Wallace’s papers to the Linnean Society after Wallace submitted his before Darwin was ready to publish The Origin of Species. One of the reasons that Darwin became synonymous with natural selection is that he had pre-existing strong relationships with the people that needed to use and write about the theory. The modern lesson is that your network connections are critically important. When you try to get your ideas to spread, it helps tremendously if you are well-connected within the network of people that can use your idea (and this is true whether your idea is a product, a service, a way of doing things, or a theory).


by Tim Kastelle

Importance of Social Networks and Idea ExecutionI’ve always been a fan of Charles Darwin. I think that he was a great scientist – a careful observer and deep thinker. But I still agree with many of Richard Lewontin’s points from his article about Darwin in the New York Review of Books. The main point that Lewontin makes in the first half of the article is that much of the Darwin fetishism these days is out of proportion to the quality of Darwin’s work. In particular, he tries to move away from the great man theory of science. In doing so, Lewontin cites Alfred Russel Wallace’s simultaneous publication of a theory of natural selection, and the dependence of both theories on a hereditary mechanism as developed by Mendel. So instead of talking about Darwinian evolution, Lewontin maintains that we should be discussing Darwinian-Wallacian-Mendelian evolution.

Fair enough – we probably should be doing exactly that. Or we should be calling it the modern synthesis to recognise the great genetics-based development of evolutionary theory in the 20th century. So why do we still often talk about Darwinism? Darwin and Wallace first published their pieces on natural selection at the same time – they essentially had the same idea. Why did Darwin’s version have the greater impact? I have two reasons for this, and both are important for modern innovators to understand. Leer más “Importance of Social Networks and Idea Execution”