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The Myths of Innovation by Scott Berkun

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The secondary factors of innovation

The history of innovation reveals many ideas that dominate a field yet are derided by insiders. Any hi-tech device today follows the QWERTY keyboard model, a system not designed for efficiency or ergonomics. The Phillips screw is inferior to the lesser-known Robertson screw, a clever gem of industrial design. [139] The M-16, the most widely produced rifle in the world, has serious jamming and ease-of-use problems. [140] Fireplaces, staples in American cabins and homes, are one of the least efficient heating systems known to man. And HTML and JavaScript are far from the best software development languages, yet they're perhaps the most successful in history. The list goes on, despite the best wishes of all of the smart, goodness-motivated people throughout time. Even today, right now, ideas of all kinds that experts criticize—including those in your own fields of expertise—are gaining adoption.

In Chapter 4, the psychology of innovations' diffusion was explored, listing how individuals make choices that impact innovation adoption. Now, it's time for a broader analysis of influential factors. Looking at history, here are seven factors that play major roles:

  • Culture. The Japanese invented firearms years before Europeans. [141] But their culture saw the sword as a symbol of their values: craftsmanship, honor, and respect. Despite the advantages of using firearms, the innovation was ignored and seen as a disgraceful way to kill (a sentiment echoed by ...

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