Looking for innovation at the American Museum of Natural History


\nWhen it comes to innovation, is it too much of a simplification to say that there are two types of people -- creationists and evolutionists? Creationists believe that most innovation results from a random spark of creativity somewhere within the organization. These folks tend to focus much more on the "fuzzy front end" of innovation, and rely on creativity-inspiring tools such as brainstorming to push forward the innovation process. In contrast, evolutionists believe that most innovation results from a long, hard slog of continuous innovation, as each small bit of innovation builds on itself in a recursive manner. Instead of focusing on the "fuzzy front end" of innovation, these folks tend to focus on the "process" of innovation.


As you might have guessed from the format and layout of this Endless Innovation blog, I tend to place myself in the evolutionist camp of innovation. (Oh, and for any Bible-thumping bloggers out there, my "belief system" about innovation says nothing about my "belief system" when it comes to religion, spirituality and the cosmos). Anyway, if you are inclined to take an evolutionist view of things, though, the new "Hall of Human Origins" exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City looks quite interesting. (Especially the milky white vials of DNA from 40,000-year-old Neanderthals!) The permanent exhibit opened over the weekend (February 10-11), and I hope to get up to the Upper West Side sometime within the next week or so in order to refine my thinking about the evolutionist view of innovation. Anyway, here's a brief blurb about the exhibit from the New York Times:

The museum’s new permanent exhibition on human origins, which opens\ntomorrow, merges notable achievements in paleontology and genetics,\nsciences that have made their own robust evolutionary strides in recent\nyears. Each introduces evidence supporting the other in establishing a\ngenealogy extending back to protohuman species that arose in Africa\nfrom earlier primates some six to seven million years ago.


These two scientific threads run through the exhibition like the strands of the DNA double helix. Ellen\nV. Futter, the museum’s president, said the "mutually reinforcing\nevidence" was organized in the exhibition to address three fundamental\nquestions: Where did we come from? Who are we? And what lies ahead for\nus?

[image: The Hall of Human Origins]


​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
  • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Keep reading Show less

Why the ocean you know and love won’t exist in 50 years

Can sensitive coral reefs survive another human generation?

  • Coral reefs may not be able to survive another human decade because of the environmental stress we have placed on them, says author David Wallace-Wells. He posits that without meaningful changes to policies, the trend of them dying out, even in light of recent advances, will continue.
  • The World Wildlife Fund says that 60 percent of all vertebrate mammals have died since just 1970. On top of this, recent studies suggest that insect populations may have fallen by as much as 75 percent over the last few decades.
  • If it were not for our oceans, the planet would probably be already several degrees warmer than it is today due to the emissions we've expelled into the atmosphere.
Keep reading Show less

Why modern men are losing their testosterone

Research has shown that men today have less testosterone than they used to. What's happening?

Flickr user Tom Simpson
Sex & Relationships
  • Several studies have confirmed that testosterone counts in men are lower than what they used to be just a few decades ago.
  • While most men still have perfectly healthy testosterone levels, its reduction puts men at risk for many negative health outcomes.
  • The cause of this drop in testosterone isn't entirely clear, but evidence suggests that it is a multifaceted result of modern, industrialized life.
Keep reading Show less

Health care: Information tech must catch up to medical marvels

Michael Dowling, Northwell Health's CEO, believes we're entering the age of smart medicine.

Photo: Tom Werner / Getty Images
Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • The United States health care system has much room for improvement, and big tech may be laying the foundation for those improvements.
  • Technological progress in medicine is coming from two fronts: medical technology and information technology.
  • As information technology develops, patients will become active participants in their health care, and value-based care may become a reality.
Keep reading Show less