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17.10.10

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Hi Friends!
Yes. It is hard to believe. But true. It is a myth that people love new ideas. People do not accept new ideas when they see one. But that is not enough reason not to have ideas.
Read this excerpt from the book " Myths of Innovations" by author Scott Berkun.
Imagine it's 1874, and you've just invented the telephone. After hi-fiving your friend Watson, you head down to Western Union— the greatest communication company in the world—and show your work. Despite your excellent pitch (a century before Power-Point), they turn you down on the spot, call the telephone a useless toy, and show you to the door. Would you have given up? What if the next five companies turned you down? The next 25? How long would it take to lose faith in your ideas?
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Fortunately, Alexander Graham Bell, the telephone's inventor, didn't listen to the folks at Western Union. He started his own business and changed the world, paving the way for the mobile phone in your pocket. Similar stories surround innovators like Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, whose page rank ideas were turned down by AltaVista and Yahoo!, the dominant search companies of the day. George Lucas was told all kinds of no by every major Hollywood studio but one, for the original Star Wars screenplay. And, don't forget that Einstein's E=mc2, Galileo's sun-centered solar system, and Darwin's theory of evolution were laughed at for years by experts around the world.
Bell is often credited as the inventor, but Elisha Grey merely failed to file his patent a few hours sooner. Second, Western Union did reject Bell's proposal, but it's unclear how strong their rejection was.
Every great idea in history has the fat red stamp of rejection on its face. It's hard to see today because once ideas gain acceptance, we gloss over the hard paths they took to get there. If you scratch any innovation's surface, you'll find the scars: they've been roughed up and thrashed around—by both the masses and leading minds— before they made it into your life. Paul C. Lauterbur, winner of the Nobel Prize for coinventing MRI, explained, "you can write the entire history of science in the last 50 years in terms of papers rejected by Science or Nature." Big ideas in all fields endure dismissals, mockeries, and persecutions (for them and their creators) on their way to changing the world. Many novels in classics libraries, including James Joyce's Ulysses, Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and J. D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye were banned upon publication; great minds like Socrates and Plato even rejected the idea of books at all.
The love of new ideas is a myth: we prefer ideas only after others have tested them. We confuse truly new ideas with good ideas that have already been proven, which just happen to be new to us. Even innovators themselves read movie reviews, consult Zagat restaurant ratings, and shop at IKEA, distributing the burden of dealing with new ideas. How did you choose your apartment, your beliefs, or even this book? We reuse ideas and opinions all the time, rarely committing to the truly new. But we should be proud; it's smart. Why not recycle good ideas and information? Why not take advantage of the conclusions other people have made to efficiently separate what's good and safe from what's bad and dangerous? Innovation is expensive: no one wants to pay the price for ideas that turn out to be not quite ready for prime time.
There is an evolutionary advantage in this fear of new things. Any ancestors who compulsively jumped over every newly discovered cliff or ate only scary looking plants died off quickly. We happily let brave souls like Magellan, Galileo, and Neil Armstrong take intellectual and physical risks on our behalf, watching from a safe distance, following behind (or staying away) once we know the results. Innovators are the test pilots of life, taking big chances so we don't have to. Even early adopters, people who thrive on using the latest things, are at best adventurous consumers, not creators. They rarely take the same risks on unproven ideas as the innovators themselves.
The secret tragedy of innovators is that their desire to improve the world is rarely matched by support from the people they hope to help.
 How true this analysis is! Genuine innovative ideas do face tremendous resistance and non-belief. People just do not want to accept innovations, unless they are tested and proven. This brings up the critical question we raised in the last post. Can we afford to wait long enough for people to accept our ideas? How do we carry our ideas on EduNXt forward when people do not support our thinking? When we face resistance? Think about it.

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