Adjacent Innovation

Extracted 09AUG2011 from

... Thanks to this demise of linear innovation, the next big thing isn’t going to take years of research and development. It won’t be developed in a big scientific lab by dozens of Ph.Ds; it won’t have a public launch date over which the press drools; and it won’t take years to generate millions of dollars.

Instead, the next big thing is going to come from left field. It will bundle together a patchwork of innovations in a seemingly amorphous way. The next big thing will be created by innovating the “adjacent possible.” The term was first used by Steven Johnson, who borrowed it from evolutionary biology. Basically, it refers to any innovation that stems directly from the present...