Why Innovation is Tough: the rockets example from Neal Stephenson

February 3, 2011 at 2:21 pm Leave a comment

by Alec Patton

Slate has a really nice piece by Neal Stephenson illustrating the innovation-stifling phenomena of ‘path dependence’ and ‘lock in’ by examining the reasons that rockets – a 1000-year-old technology – are the only method we ever use for getting people and things into space.

Definitely worth a read if you care about innovation. Here’s an extract:

Rockets of the old school aren’t perfect—they have their share of failures—but they have enough of a track record that it’s possible to buy launch insurance. The importance of this fact cannot be overestimated. Every space entrepreneur who dreams of constructing a better mousetrap sooner or later crunches into the sickening realization that, even if the new invention achieved perfect technical success, it would fail as a business proposition simply because the customers wouldn’t be able to purchase launch insurance.

via Space stasis: What the strange persistence of rockets can teach us about innovation. – By Neal Stephenson – Slate Magazine.

Entry filed under: Innovation Policy.

Visiting family in hospital Sukey fights kettling with tech: this is so awesome

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

The Innovation Unit website

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 29 other followers


Twitter Updates

Follow innovation_unit on Twitter

%d bloggers like this: