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Friday, February 14, 2014

Nothing New Under the Sun

The saying goes that there's "...nothing new under the sun" meaning that many inventions and innovations are a combination of previous elements or improvements on a pre-existing idea. Given our current highly technical society we may think that we're the ones who have made the biggest contributions to innovation. I sometimes see blog posts or articles where the author thinks that they have just discovered something so new and brilliant. Not always true. I came across a post last year where the author had just "invented a new way of brainstorming." Actually the Greeks had used this technique over a couple of thousand years ago based on the famed Oracle of Delphi. During the 1950s both the government and the Rand corporation take credit for formalizing it into the "Delphi Method."

So I couldn't resist the story in Inc Magazine with the title "A Brief History of Innovation" which points out a few products that we now take for granted that were brought to life in-whoa-the last century! A few examples: Hard hat (1919), Parking Meter (1935), and Shopping Cart (1937). I can see the importance of both the hard hat and the shopping cart, but I really wish the parking meter had not seen the light of day.

Bottom line, though, research your subject's history. What you think is your brilliant idea may have been there along. It's your job to make sure that your idea or product is truly an innovative improvement.

Take a look at 11 Innovations That Changed History. Also, check out more articles, videos and games at


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