Tuesday 26 November 2019

Innovation is a controlled chain reaction (2019)

Innovation is a never ending cycle which started deep in our pre-history. It proceeds in a controlled chain reaction. The  fuel for this reaction is our instinctive need to tinker with what we find, and to share with others what we know. There are also factors which slow down this chain reaction. These include the energy needed to translate an idea or invention into an innovation, and the morass of human tradition.

(a) A simple chain reaction, where each yellow box spontaneously gives rise to two new boxes. Very rapidly, the number of new boxes completely fills the space. This is an uncontrolled, or explosive, chain reaction. (b) Here the same chain reaction interacts with a set of control factors. Where a reaction is inhibited (when an arrow crosses a blue circle) the chain of reactions on that path stops and is shown greyed out. The degree of control on the chain reaction can be altered by varying the spacing between the blue control circles.