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Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: The Key to Innovation

https://fs.blog/2020/04/shoulders-of-giants/

fs.blog

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: The Key to Innovation
Innovation doesn’t occur in a vacuum. Doers and thinkers from Shakespeare to Jobs, liberally “stole” inspiration from the doers and thinkers who came before. Here’s how to do it right.

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Innovation at work

Innovation at work

When you look at great geniuses like Newton, for example, it can be easy to imagine that their ideas and work came exclusively out of their minds. But that is seldom how it works.

Innovation doesn’t occur in a vacuum. Regardless of how unique a work seems, if you look a bit closer, you will always find that the creator mastered what other people had already figured out.

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Everyone gets a lift up

We get to see further than our predecessors, not because we have a greater vision or greater height, but because we are lifted on their gigantic stature.

There are giants in every field. Don't let them intimidate you. Take from anywhere that resonates with you and inspires or fuels your imagination. Build upon it and improve it. Doing this will make your work authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent.

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The "Not invented here" syndrome

'Not invented here syndrome' is a term for situations when we avoid using ideas, products, or data created by someone else, and instead develop our own even if it is more expensive, time-consuming, and of lower quality.
The syndrome can also show up as a reluctance to delegate work.
Creating a new solution may be more exciting, but new solutions create new problems.

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    Steve Jobs

    “Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it. They just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while; that’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.

    Steve Jobs

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    Building on other inventions

    Steve Jobs is often shown as a revolutionary figure who changed how we use technology. In reality, he stood on the shoulders of the many unseen engineers, students, and scientists who worked for decades to build the technology he improved upon.

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    How Shakespeare got his ideas

    How Shakespeare got his ideas

    Much of Shakespeare's plays came from prior works.

    • Hamlet took inspiration from Gesta Danorum, a twelfth-century work on Danish history by Saxo Grammaticus, consisting of sixteen Latin books.
    • Holinshed’s Chronicles likely inspired Macbeth and King Lear.
    • Parts of Antony and Cleopatra are copied verbatim from Plutarch’s Life of Mark Anthony.
    • Romeo and Juliet was built upon the 1562 poem The Tragicall Historye of Romeus and Juliet from Arthur Booke.

    However, if you take a look at any of the original texts, you will find them dry, unengaging, and lacking any sort of poetic language. So he took these texts and turned them into works of literary art.

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    The adjacent possible

    Why can't people come up with their own ideas? Why do many people come up with great ideas but don't profit from it?

    Each new innovation or idea opens up the possibility of additional innovations and ideas. At first, there are limits, but those limits are continually expanding.

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    Laying the groundwork

    Technology, art, and other advances are only possible because someone else has laid the groundwork.

    Shakespeare could write plays because other people had developed the structures and language that became his tools.

    What new doors can you open, based on the work of the giants that came before you? What opportunities can you see that they couldn't?

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    SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

    Joel Mokyr

    “Technological progress requires above all tolerance toward the unfamiliar and the eccentric.”

    Joel Mokyr

    What society needs to be technologically creative

    • A social infrastructure: society needs a supply of creative innovators who are willing and able to challenge their physical environment in order to better themselves.
    • Social incentives: there need to be incentives in place to encourage innovation.
    • Social attitude: a creative society has to be diverse and tolerant. People must be open to new ideas and individuals.

    Joel Mokyr

    Joel Mokyr

    “Invention occurs at the level of the individual, and we should address the factors that determine individual creativity. Individuals, however, do not live in a vacuum. What makes them implement, improve and adapt new technologies, or just devise small improvements in the way they carry out their daily work depends on the institutions and the attitudes around them.”

    5 more ideas

    The A Player

    The A Player

    Many stories have a lone person, who is unknown but eventually becomes a hero due to his years of toiling and getting success. We like to think of this ‘heroic’ feat as something done exclusive...

    The Leader With A Team

    The job of a leader is to get the right team, which according to an estimate provides three times more output than an average team.

    The work of a leader isn’t as simple as hiring the best talent, and merely putting smart people together as a team is not an effective strategy.

    Individual Intelligence Vs Group Intelligence

    Any combination of individual intelligence does not make an intelligent group, no matter how logical it sounds on paper.

    The ‘A’ Players, the cream of individual intelligence, bring in drive, integrity and the ability to mentor, but all of which is not possible without the collective effort of other players of the team, who are not A players.

    Succumbing to the Availability Bias

    Succumbing to the Availability Bias

    After a particularly stressful event, most people prepare for a repeat of the same challenge they just faced. From the micro level to the macro level, we succumb to the availability bias and get re...

    When Disaster Strikes

    When a certain disaster or calamity happens, we work towards ensuring that the same calamity can be dealt with in the better way, the next time it happens. The pain or loss that we suffer motivates us to do so.

    We forget in our preparation and resource allocation to the ‘last’ disaster, that we have neglected many other things that are more likely to happen.

    Expect The Unexpected

    • Life has a tendency to surprise us, and we will be most likely smacked with something totally unforeseen and unrelated to the last disaster, that one was prepared for.
    • A better strategy is to realize that it is inevitable that life will hit us unexpectedly, and to grow and learn from the same.
    • Being adaptive, flexible and resilient would increase our adversity quotient, making us strengthen our inner resources, and enrich our experience.