Evolutionary Innovation

One of the big mistakes that smart people commonly make is to think that a great idea sells itself. If this were true, innovation would be fairly simple – just come up with great ideas. Unfortunately, it’s not so easy. Innovation is actually a process – you need to generate great ideas, you need to select the best ones and figure out how to execute them, and you have to get these executed ideas to spread.

These three steps are variety, selection and replication – that’s an evolutionary process. In fact, the history of the idea of evolution through natural selection provides a good lesson in how innovation is more than just coming up with great ideas.

We think of evolution by natural selection as Charles Darwin’s idea. However, the first public disclosure of Darwin’s big idea happened at a meeting of the Linnean Society in 1858 – and at that meeting two papers on evolution by natural selection were read. One was written by Darwin, and the other was written by Alfred Russell Wallace. One of the most powerful ideas of the past 200 years was developed nearly simultaneously by two people. And the initial impact of this great idea was, well, nothing.


Posted by TimothyKastelle

One of the big mistakes that smart people commonly make is to think that a great idea sells itself. If this were true, innovation would be fairly simple – just come up with great ideas. Unfortunately, it’s not so easy. Innovation is actually a process – you need to generate great ideas…

One of the big mistakes that smart people commonly make is to think that a great idea sells itself. If this were true, innovation would be fairly simple – just come up with great ideas. Unfortunately, it’s not so easy. Innovation is actually a process – you need to generate great ideas, you need to select the best ones and figure out how to execute them, and you have to get these executed ideas to spread.

These three steps are variety, selection and replication – that’s an evolutionary process. In fact, the history of the idea of evolution through natural selection provides a good lesson in how innovation is more than just coming up with great ideas.

We think of evolution by natural selection as Charles Darwin’s idea. However, the first public disclosure of Darwin’s big idea happened at a meeting of the Linnean Society in 1858 – and at that meeting two papers on evolution by natural selection were read. One was written by Darwin, and the other was written by Alfred Russell Wallace. One of the most powerful ideas of the past 200 years was developed nearly simultaneously by two people. And the initial impact of this great idea was, well, nothing. Leer más “Evolutionary Innovation”