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63: Innovation

A Thousand Things to Talk About
A Thousand Things to Talk About
63: Innovation
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63-crazyidea

What is/was your best crazy idea?

Show notes and links:
Diffusion of Innovation (Amazon)
John L Leal (Wikipedia)
Innovation Isn’t an Idea Problem (Harvard Business Review)


Full episode text

Innovation isn’t easy. Hell, innovation is really hard, and not just because “thinking creatively” or “thinking outside the box” often seems to come at odds with “how to make it happen” or “is this logically possible.”

Truth is, get a beer or three into most of us – or a joint or two, for those so inclined – and it seems like crazy good ideas can just flow. Nearly everyone I’ve asked this question – and I’ve asked hundreds – have at least one or two good ideas up their sleeve.

Fact is, crazy ideas often change the world. From Virgin Galactic to chlorinating water in order to make it safe to drink, the best thing about crazy ideas is that sometimes they actually work. So how about your best crazy idea? Is it one of those?

In one study reported on by the Harvard Business Review, it was found that introducing uncertainty into a group situation increased how much the group stated that they valued creativity, while also reducing how willing to embrace creative or “crazy” ideas they actually were in practice.

In other words, crazy ideas could be great – but they’re also scary, and humans don’t tend to do well in scary situations. So how do you tell the difference between a “good” crazy and a “bad” crazy? In the 1962 book Diffusion of Innovation, which introduced the idea of “early adopters”, Everett Rogers explained the five factors that influence if a new idea will be accepted: relative advantage, compatibility, complexity, trialability, and observability.

So I’m curious what your best crazy idea is – and if you think it would work.