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The rabbit and the beaver

Aug 29, 2020

Quoting this story that succinctly describes the tension between inventors and innovators from a recent episode on the Naval Podcast with Matt Ridley on How Innovation Works.

Matt Ridley says,

I like to tell the story that Charles Towns, the inventor of the laser, used to tell, of a rabbit and a beaver looking at the Hoover Dam, and the beaver says to the rabbit, "No, I didn’t build it, but it’s based on an idea of mine." That is how inventors quite often think about innovations: "Come on, I had the idea!" But it’s a huge amount of work and talent to turn an idea into something practical.

After reading The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn, I think the Matt Ridley's book How Innovation Works seems like the perfect sequel, possibly covering a broader base than just pure scientific research. Looking forward to reading this!

© 2023 Sanyam Kapoor