Tuesday, 22 May 2007

The First Principle of Hyperinnovation.

Many moons ago, a tutor of mine gave up the fact that a student studying science at high school has the opportunity to learn more about the laws of physics than Sir Isaac Newton ever did, or could have known in his time.

Since that day, I’ve long wondered how knowledge develops, how ignorance can blossom to enlightenment, how seemingly mystical breakthroughs in understanding come from simpler, less structured understandings; but more, how complex innovations, such as the SpaceLab, originate from much lesser innovations?

After much thought and deliberation over the years, it became clear that the answer may lay in the ‘synergy’ that emerges from the many interconnections amongst ideas. In fact, we find that the output or whole activity is greater than the sum of individual agents: 1+1+1+1=6?

The secret: 4 agents in a network have 6 possible interconnections.

In math terms, for every agent that joins a network, so the number of new interconnection possibilities, and thus innovations, goes up geometrically. There is in fact a principle of innovation at work here. I call it the First Principle Of Hyperinnovation:

The potential for Hyperinnovation is proportional to the number of meaningful interconnections between agents. Meaningful as in those interconnections that hold a level of perceived or authentic value.

As an indication of the potential for Hyperinnovation, the number of possible (meaningful or otherwise) interconnections, is toward one half the square of the sum of agents in a network.

Thus, 10 agents in a network would have 45 possible interconnections. 100 would have 4,950 possible interconnections. 1000 would have 499,500 possible interconnections. 1,000,000 agents would have over 499 billion possible interconnections.

The payoff: for every new scientific discovery, consequent technology, every new idea, every piece of knowledge coupled to a network, so the number of innovation possibilities increase dramatically, so driving the synergy among ideas further and faster up-hill.
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