Accepting Radical Innovation

Accepting radical innovation

I came across the concept of radical innovation back in my Intel days. This is the sort of innovation that generates a leap forward in capability. Contrast this with evolutionary innovation, where things gradually evolve and improve. We are much more familiar with evolutionary innovation but when radical innovation comes along, you would think we would jump on it. But that’s often not the case, there can be a reluctance to accept it. Why is this?

Radical Innovation In Action

Here’s a simple example from our house construction project. We purchased a plot of land covered in blackberry vines, small bushes and trees and some large trees. I rented a machine called a brush hog to clear the vines and I excitedly bought my first chainsaw. It would be fun clearing the small trees and bushes. I hired arborists to take care of the bigger trees. This all felt very familiar, especially once I got used to the chainsaw. It turned out to be quite hard work, removing all of the cut material. But hey, it just has to get done and I’d better get used to it.

Then we started our construction and an excavator arrived at our site. We still had lots of small trees and a couple of large 40-50ft hawthorn trees to remove. The excavator driver offered to take care of them and within 10-15 minutes the work was complete. The hawthorns pulled out of the ground roots and all, leaving a pile of debris ready for disposal. This amount of work would have taken days and costs several thousand dollars. It was complete in minutes. For me, it was an example of radical innovation and here’s the video to prove it. 🙂

This wasn’t the first time an excavator cleared a construction site, in fact it is the norm. The problem was my lack of understanding and reluctance to believe it. I had been told the excavator would clear the site in no time, but I was comfortable with the status quo. It was no problem, I could cut all these by hand. Now I’ve seen it in action, there’s no going back.

Are You Open To Change?

My guess is you aren’t building a house so you won’t be using an excavator any time soon. But what about AI or ChatGPT? They have the potential to radically improve our ability to work and learn. Are you exploring it to see what it could do for you or are you sticking to your comfort zone like me?