How Innovation Works by Matt Ridley

How Innovation Works by Matt Ridley


Innovation is only disruptive when you're looking backwards.

3 Points:

  • Give people the same materials & position in time, and they will create similar things. (Simultaneous Invention.)
  • See innovations coming, look for items with: Long pre-history of failure. Then, a short period with lowered costs. Lastly, rapid improvements by trial and error.
  • Most innovation came before the understanding (science). Action > Understanding.


Favourite Quotes:

History shows that innovation is a delicate and vulnerable flower, easily crushed underfoot, but quick to regrow if conditions allow. [p.10]
The only preventive [for whooping cough in the 1920's] was quarantine and even this worked poorly since nobody knew how long it was necessary to isolate the victims for. [p. 61]
Five years before the first Model T…December 1903, on the East Coast of the United States…a human was about to experience powered flight. [p. 95 - It was captivating that flight came before the popularization of cars.]
It [restaurant industry] is as close as you can get to a permissionless innovation system. Restaurants must adapt or die. [p.173 - Coding is also permissionless]

Would I re-read this?

people who smashed looms because ‘automation destroys jobs’ (195)

What did I implement?

Marketing may be the difference between sucess and failure. Rolling suitcase,

In Summary...