Saturday, May 10, 2008

Why getting outside our 'circle' could reap huge rewards

From a fascinating article by Malcolm Gladwell in the New Yorker:

"Surgeons had all kinds of problems that they didn’t realize had solutions, and physicists had all kinds of solutions to things that they didn’t realize were problems. At one point, Myhrvold asked the surgeons what, in a perfect world, would make their lives easier, and they said that they wanted an X-ray that went only skin deep. They wanted to know, before they made their first incision, what was just below the surface. When the Intellectual Ventures crew heard that, their response was amazement. “That’s your dream? A subcutaneous X-ray? We can do that.”

I don't post about work here since this more about my family and my random thoughts on things, but this article was very interesting on a couple of levels. First, I love solving problems, even when they aren't related to highly scalable web architectures. Second, I love being in groups of people, many smarter than me, and watching them brainstorm, solve problems and even interact. I have (yet) to get an invitation to TED, but that looks like someplace I wouldn't want to leave.

The history of the phone is interesting (okay, sometimes boring) but it fits nicely into the belief that sometimes talking about our problems, or neat things we've found out, can apply to other industries.

Makes the whole discussion about 'how to innovate' take a different turn, doesn't it?

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