The Inverted Pyramid of Invention

Everybody has ideas, few put them into action.

“There might be tens of thousands of people who conceive the possibility of the same invention at the same time. But less than one in ten of them imagines how it might be done. Of these who see how to do it, only one in ten will actually think through the practical details and specific solutions. Of these only one in ten will actually get the design to work for very long. And finally, usually only one of all those many thousands with the idea will get the invention to stick in the culture. At our lab we engage in all these levels of discovery, in the expected proportions.” In other words, in the conceptual stage, simultaneity is ubiquitous and inevitable; your brilliant ideas will have lots of coparents. But there’s less coparentage at each reducing stage. When you are trying to bring an idea to market, you may be alone, but by then you are a mere pinnacle of a large pyramid of others who all had the same idea. Any reasonable person would look at that pyramid and say the likelihood of someone getting a lightbulb to stick is 100 percent, although the likelihood of Edison’s being the inventor is, well, one in 10,000. – Kevin Kelly quoting Jay Walker in What Technology Wants.

execution ideas kevin-kelly

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