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Art is either plagiarism or revolution (Gauguin)

December 28, 2006

Three quotes today courtesy of my bloglines feed from the quotation page. One in the title, two below.

Every great advance in natural knowledge has involved the absolute rejection of authority

Thomas H. Huxley

When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong

Arthur C. Clarke

All relate to the problem of innovation and discovery. People tend to confuse symptoms with causes in management theory, and one such confusion is the focus on creativity programmes. Creativity to my mind is a symptom of innovation rather than its cause. So if you create the pre-conditions for an innovation ecology you will then find evidence of creativity along with innovation itself. I covered those preconditions in two previous posts, here and here.
However as these quotations indicate, innovation in in the history of human systems has generally required pig headed obstinacy in face of establishment orthodoxy. Huxley and Clark make this explicit, Gauguin is more subtle.

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