Zadra Creative Blog

Ideas Build on Ideas

How one idea leads to another.

What was the original inspiration for the modern computer? Some say it was the Chinese abacus, invented in 300 BC. Others say it was the “Difference Engine”, conceived by J.T. Muller in 1786. Still others point to the Zuse Z3 created by Konrad Zuse in WWII.

In reality, the modern computer is the direct result of several million years of human experimentation and contribution by untold millions of humans just like you and me. Sure, today’s computer is a beautiful and complex thing, but it’s made up of many parts, each of which can be considered a separate breakthrough, invention or precursor. The primitive wheel, lever, needle, awl, pulley, diode, vacuum tube and transistor all built on one another over countless centuries to eventually lead us to the powerful and elegant little laptop on your desk today.

 We’re All in This Human Adventure Together

Ideas build on ideas. Your idea inspires my idea—and one idea leads to another. The primitive tea kettle inspired Robert Fulton to invent the steam engine, which led us to the gas combustion engine, which led us to the modern rocket propulsion system, which took us the to the moon and back.

That’s how innovation works in today’s companies, communities or countries too. We’re all in this human adventure together. Every insight and idea counts and contributes. No one, no matter how brilliant, does anything of real consequence entirely on their own.

Isaac Newton put it this way: “If I have been able to see farther than others, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants.”

An excerpt from the upcoming book Trust Your Crazy Ideas by Dan Zadra and Toby Cowan. Click here to reserve your advance copy. 

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