In Search of Novelty

Today's New York Times Sunday Business Section carries an insightful article on invention and innovation entitled "Not Invented Here". A couple of things in particular struck me about the piece. First, was the convergent thinking that characterizes true innovators whether they be engineers, artists or designers. They are insatiable learners interested in all sorts of diverse information and ideas---and adept at strategically integrating this knowledge in the relentless search for novelty and answers. Second, that innovators are restless nonconformists who are unafraid to rebel against the status quo. The artist Paul Gauguin said in fact that "...there are two kinds of artists---revolutionaries and plagiarists". Exactly the kinds of creative types that our modern educational institutions are designed to turn out---right.