Breakthrough ideas

May 29, 2009 at 10:38 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

There’s a running joke among hackers that “farmers didn’t invent tractors, they were busy farming”. Meaning that breakthrough ideas don’t come from experts in their industry. The reason is is that the closer an expert is to how something works now, the harder it is to imagine a new and better way of doing things. It’s just the way the brain works, it gets caught up in cliche patterns. Solutions are often not “hard”, but they require cognitive shifts in perception which are simply invisible to the people doing them. As I stated in a previous blog post, the ancient Incas couldn’t see the wheel, even though it’s an obvious idea to us. They manually hauled the stones up the hill or whatever to build their pyramids.

I said this once and I’ll say it again. . . intelligence is overrated in problem solving. More information/intelligence is not needed to solve problems, just a rearrangement of current information and a shift in perception.

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