Innovation by Those Outside the Field

In many instances, people outside of a particular field produce innovations. For instance,

•    The ballpoint pen was invented by a sculptor.

•    The parking meter was invented by a journalist.

•    The Wright brothers were bike mechanics, not aeronautical engineers.

•    Kodachrome film was developed by a musician. (source unknown)

Sometimes those inside a field or domain are so glued to existing systems and processes in place that they fail to see new possibilities. Futurist Joel Barker calls this “being stuck in one’s paradigm.” A paradigm is the rules of a given systems—the way things work within that particular domain. People living in a defined paradigm accept rules as they are. People outside the ...

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