Thinking versus Doing

Greg Satell offers an interesting post about why it takes so long for academic research to translate into commercial products – around 30 years.

His purpose is to critique the “agile business model”. Greg’s point is that becoming more agile to take up the next big thing ignores that long pre-commercialization phase.

It is a good point — and a point worth thinking about more deeply. At least part of the reason for this long incubation period is that it is difficult to imagine how new ideas can be used. We are trapped in our mental boxes, defined by what we can do now.  So, Xerox just didn’t see what use a PC might have and walked away from giving birth to the digital age.

If this is a cognitive limitation, we can overcome it with better cognitive tools. That is reason to be optimistic.

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