May 1, 2011

Myopia, Hubris and Amnesia: Three Reactions to Innovation

Arthur C. Clarke (1917-2008)According to Arthur C. Clarke [1]:

“New ideas pass through three periods:

  1. It can’t be done;
  2. It probably can be done, but it’s not worth doing;
  3. I knew it was a good idea all along.”

These three stages can be summed up as Myopia, Hubris and Amnesia. Which sounds a bit like the famous misquote (?) by Mahatma Gandhi:

“First they ignore you,
then they laugh at you,
then they fight you,
then you win.”

We are all surrounded by innovations of various kinds. If Clarke and Gandhi are right, we are either:

  • myopically ignoring them…
  • laughing and fighting them hubristically or
  • amnesiacally approving of the winners

Which one are you?


    1. Benford, G. (2008). Obituary: Arthur C. Clarke (1917–2008) Nature, 452 (7187), 546-546 DOI: 10.1038/452546a

July 4, 2008

Who Owns Science?

Padlock and Key picture by Imagined RealityThis thing called Science, whatever it is, who actually owns it? Scientists? Technology companies? Industrial Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical companies? Investors? Shareholders? Governments? Universities? Philanthropists? Charities? Publishers? Joe Public? Or none of the above…?

  1. The Scientists. At the front line of any scientific discovery is a scientist, from the lofty heights of the hallowed Professor to the lowly lab-rat or student, slaving away at the bench, scientists work on the front line Science. For most scientists, they make a living from their inventions, ideas and discoveries that they own. Science is their livelihood, © The Author(s).
  2. (more…)

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