radical Insights.

Weekly Research and Commentary on the Future of Business and Technology.

Seeing the World as a Puzzle of Possibilities.

Nov 28, 2023

This week, let’s explore a fundamental truth about innovation: it’s less about creating from the void and more about cleverly piecing together what already exists. The myth of innovation as a bolt of lightning from a clear blue sky is just that—a myth. True innovation is often a recombination of the familiar.

Reflect on Thomas Edison’s insight: “I never had an idea in my life.” He perceived his inventions not as novel creations but as reassemblies of existing elements. This idea isn’t confined to history; it resonates loudly in today’s world of innovation. Consider the iPhone, not a creation ex nihilo, but a symphony of pre-existing technologies – touchscreens, internet connectivity, and a mobile operating system – brought together in a transformative manner.

This concept is central to futures thinking. Being a (practical) futurist isn’t about possessing some mystical foresight but involves connecting dots, identifying patterns, and envisioning how they might merge into future realities. Innovation isn’t just about inventing from scratch but about recognizing the playground of possibilities around us, where existing ideas can interweave and evolve into something new.

Innovation is about seeing the world as a dynamic puzzle. Each piece, each existing idea, has the potential to find new meaning and use in different combinations. This understanding transforms our approach to the future – not as a distant, unknown realm, but as an evolving narrative shaped by the present.

So, let’s remember, the future isn’t a far-off mystery. It’s a narrative being woven from the threads of our current world. Each of us has the potential to be an innovator, to be a futurist. It starts with observing, questioning, and imagining “What could be?” instead of merely “What is?”