Innovation: Tortoise or Hare?

This week there has been intensely interesting conversation on a-mail about some of the new innovation at the company: sofware and services. This article in Wired talks about a new theory about two kinds of people that drive innovation.

"Conceptual innovators,” as Galenson calls them, make bold, dramatic leaps in their disciplines. They do their breakthrough work when they are young. Think Edvard Munch, Herman Melville, and Orson Welles. They make the rest of us feel like also-rans. Then there’s a second character type, someone who’s just as significant but trudging by comparison. Galenson calls this group “experimental innovators.” Geniuses like Auguste Rodin, Mark Twain, and Alfred Hitchcock proceed by a lifetime of trial and error and thus do their important work much later in their careers. Galenson maintains that this duality – conceptualists are from Mars, experimentalists are from Venus – is the core of the creative process. And it applies to virtually every field of intellectual endeavor, from painters and poets to economists.

I wonder what type is driving Microsoft now, as opposed to the 90s? What type does the "industry" need? I see hand waving about companies that start with a G grabbing up the C.I.s, is that a bad thing neccessarily if what we need and what we have are E.I.s?

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