Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Will Non-Experts Fuel Future Disruptive Innovation?

Highly successful entrepreneur and philanthropist Naveen Jain has published an interesting essay on the Forbes website.  Jain argues that non-experts will fuel much of the future disruptive innovations.  He challenges Gladwell's emphasis on experts in his book, Outliers.  Jain explains that the experts won't necessarily be the ones to solve some of the world's most challenging problems. 

Jain offers two main reasons.  First, he explains that experts can often be quite myopic.   Second, Jain argues that information is widely available these days, not restricted to a few experts.   Moreover, technology is moving so quickly that expertise seems to become outdated much sooner than in the past.  Here is an excerpt that describes his thinking:

The human brain, or more specifically the neo-cortex, is designed to recognize patterns and draw conclusions from them. Experts are able to identify such patterns related to a specific problem relevant to their area of knowledge. But because non-experts lack that base of knowledge, they are forced to rely more on their brain’s ability for abstraction, rather than specificity. This abstraction—the ability to take away or remove characteristics from something in order to reduce it to a set of essential characteristics—is what presents an opportunity for creative solutions.

Do you agree with his arguments?