Solving Problems with Disruptive Innovation

We believe many of the world’s biggest problems will be solved through disruptive innovation. 

Paragon has been fortunate to be involved in projects that represent disruptive innovations to medicine, climate science, sport development, physics, and energy production.  Ultimately we hope these will be used to help end the suffering and poverty affected many parts of the world. 

Many others also feel this way, including entrepreneur and philanthropist Naveen Jain. The following is a quote from Mr. Jain.  

“(The people) who will come up with creative solutions to solve the world’s biggest problems –  ecological devastation, global warming, the global debt crisis and distribution of dwindling natural resources, to name a few – will NOT be experts in their fields. The real disruptors will be those individuals who are not steeped in one industry of choice, with those coveted 10,000 hours of experience, but instead, individuals who approach challenges with a clean lens, bringing together diverse experiences, knowledge and opportunities…

….And while experts will have a part to play in solving today’s looming crises where incremental evolution is needed, I believe that non-expert individuals will drive disruptive innovation. Here’s why.  Myopic thinking.  Sure — there will always be a need for experts, who will continue to drive steady incremental advancements in fields such as biotechnology, environmental sciences, or information technology.  But I believe that the best ideas come from those not immersed in the details of a particular field.  Experts, far too often, engage in a kind of myopic thinking. Those who are down in the weeds are likely to miss the big picture… 

The human brain, or more specifically the neo-cortex, is designed to recognize patterns and draw conclusions from them. Experts are able to identify such patterns related to a specific problem relevant to their area of knowledge. But because non-experts lack that base of knowledge, they are forced to rely more on their brain’s ability for abstraction, rather than specificity. This abstraction–the ability to take away or remove characteristics from something in order to reduce it to a set of essential characteristics–is what presents an opportunity for creative solutions… (Further) the digital revolution has also meant a revolution in access to information… giving us a greater base from which to “think big.”

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