How stupidity can lead to innovation

It sounds crazy, but it’s true.

There’s a famous philosophical phrase that goes along the lines of “The more I know, the more I realise I don’t know”. I first came across it in my Philosophy II class as a freshed-faced student at Rhodes University. It speaks to the realisation that the more we discover about a subject, the more we uncover seemingly endless complexity and depth around that subject.

So apply this to the web. In many ways it shows how people who have been involved in the web for a long time can be tainted. A person new to the field is more likely to make radical decisions and statements that may seem brave and brilliant, but they may merely be based on a lack of knowledge more than anything else. There’s often a fine line between bravery and stupidity too. So many projects will crash and burn, but then again some may just be the next big thing.

Paradoxically, if you ask any expert that has been around for years to consider a radical, innovative proposal. It’s more likely they’ll apply their mind to an issue and possibly get bogged down in the tremendous complexities, complications and issues they see. They’ll probably dismiss it and it won’t get off the ground.

Ok, these are wild generalisations, as it tends to be with any macro-level analysis. But it shows that any project needs a healthy mix of experts and fresh, outside minds. It also speaks to the need for a multidisciplinary approach. (Bring in outsiders eg: sociologists when building social network-type functionality). It also speaks to the need to take risks online: If you get your production right (ie so you develop cheaply and quickly), then these become calculated risks.

Hmmmm… (*strokes figurative, non-existent beard on chin*).

Comments (2)

  1. Hi Matt

    It comes from Socrates “wisest is he who knows he knows nothing”

    Loved those classes 😉


    Tuesday, February 17, 2009 at 2:37 pm #
  2. matt wrote::

    @Martijn yeah, that’s it. thanks!

    Tuesday, February 17, 2009 at 4:00 pm #

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  1. TU:s framtidsblogg on Thursday, February 19, 2009 at 7:13 pm

    […] webbutvecklaren Matthew Buckland tar sig an just ämnet innovation på sin blogg – med rubriken ”How Stupidity Leads to Innovation”. Hans poäng är att en av de främsta motorerna bakom innovation är dumhet, för mycket […]