Innovation is critical to the success of any product or business, but today it’s so simple to test and measure iterative innovation that we forget that there is a whole other class of innovation – the long shot. You just can’t get to these innovations through a process of marginal gains which makes them much riskier and more challenging to individuals and organisations.
In this entertaining and gripping talk, Tim shares several stories about innovation, contrasting the British Olympic Team’s focus on optimising a series of marginal improvements to the open ended development process that led to the Supermarine Spitfire fighter plane and mapping the human genome.
Not all innovation is marginal. So often we match the two together. Both areas of innovation are vital. People who bet on long shots don’t have success all the time. They often fail. But we owe it to them to share the risk a little more.
Tim Harford is a senior columnist for the Financial Times. His long-running column, “The Undercover Economist”, reveals the economic ideas behind everyday experiences and his first book, “The Undercover Economist” has sold over one million copies worldwide in almost 30 languages. As a broadcaster, Tim has presented television and radio series for the BBC, most famously “More or Less” on Radio 4. He is an evangelist for the power of economics, wisely used, and has spoken at both TED and PopTech.