Creative Destruction: From Genesis to Picasso to Apple Computers

According to Jeff DeGraff, half of the challenge for innovators "is having the courage, the temerity, the will to actually stop doing something, which is infinitely harder than starting something new."

What's the Big Idea?

"And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them."
-Genesis, 6:7

The motif of the creator/destroyer is common to all world religions, but certainly not unique to religion. "The urge to destroy is also a creative urge," Pablo Picasso famously said. And this binary relationship is the essence of innovation, says Jeff DeGraff, "Dean of Innovation" and new blogger on Big Think.

So how can businesses and individuals embrace creative destruction? Let's say you have the great American novel in your head, what will enable you to give birth to that creation?

Watch the video here:

What's the Significance?

DeGraff says his favorite example of an innovative company is Apple. Apple made a very dangerous move by ceasing production on what were essentially "clones" of Microsoft products, a move that cost the company hundreds of millions of dollars. Yet this destructive move cleared the way for the iMac. 

Similarly, DeGraff points out that Microsoft owned the operating system DOS, which represented over 80 percent of all operating systems in the world. So what did they do? They killed it, in order to clear the way for Windows. So what's the key lesson for innovators here? DeGraff says "half of the challenge is having the courage, the temerity, the will to actually stop doing something, which is infinitely harder than starting something new."

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Follow Daniel Honan on Twitter @Daniel Honan

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Can the keto diet help treat depression? Here’s what the science says so far

A growing body of research shows promising signs that the keto diet might be able to improve mental health.

Public Domain
Mind & Brain
  • The keto diet is known to be an effective tool for weight loss, however its effects on mental health remain largely unclear.
  • Recent studies suggests that the keto diet might be an effective tool for treating depression, and clearing up so-called "brain fog," though scientists caution more research is necessary before it can be recommended as a treatment.
  • Any experiments with the keto diet are best done in conjunction with a doctor, considering some people face problems when transitioning to the low-carb diet.
Keep reading Show less

If you want to spot a narcissist, look at the eyebrows

Bushier eyebrows are associated with higher levels of narcissism, according to new research.

Big Think illustration / Actor Peter Gallagher attends the 24th and final 'A Night at Sardi's' to benefit the Alzheimer's Association at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on March 9, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
  • Science has provided an excellent clue for identifying the narcissists among us.
  • Eyebrows are crucial to recognizing identities.
  • The study provides insight into how we process faces and our latent ability to detect toxic people.
Keep reading Show less

Want to age gracefully? A new study says live meaningfully

Thinking your life is worthwhile is correlated with a variety of positive outcomes.

Surprising Science
  • A new study finds that adults who feel their lives are meaningful have better health and life outcomes.
  • Adults who felt their lives were worthwhile tended to be more social and had healthier habits.
  • The findings could be used to help improve the health of older adults.
Keep reading Show less