Do you subscribe to the bell curve theory? The one that talks about 3% of people being innovators and 14% early adopters etc.? I don’t. It’s too fatalistic and generalised. I doubt those measuring it have sufficient access to innovators as I’ll explain, and generally use their world view to determine a false innovation datum point.
Determinism likes to talk about emerging technologies – things appearing from the fog that hides innovation. “Aha!” they say, “there’s some innovation” and start trying to measure it from the high-church of their own belief. Others are just amplifiers, which doesn’t bother the innovator one bit, like when they were kids, the TV was always on, but they just kept building their robot anway.
Here’s the thing about people who like to innovate. They don’t label it and are very hard to spot.
They’ve been doing it all their lives and learned early that most of what they tinker with should and will be consigned to their grave-yard .
Every innovator has one – a hugh junk pile of objects, ideas and train-wrecks made from all manner of things. They are not about to subscribe to the innovation to integration idea, let alone see their efforts and ideas be plotted on someone else’s bell curve. They are more likely to have built an iPhone app and ditched it than worry which one is the best.
They like social-cyphers. There’s nothing worse that someone with a measuring stick trying to weigh your experiments.
The 3% of people are more likely to be people writing or trying to interpret innovation than actually doing it in order to avoid the slide to early majority of the imagined bell-curve and currently quite lucrative it seems.
Meanwhile, the innovators are building more robots – and watching their experiments in society to see what happens because they know world can always be improved. Since childhood, they’ve used innovation to generate knowledge of how the world works and what’s in it. People are a useful variable – if slightly tricky to deal with.
Innovators subscribe to performance before graveyard methods.
History is littered with seemingly un-qualified people who have achieved amazing things this way. Most of what ends up commercialised has been wrested away from innovators, and in their view, usually ruined. You might see a computer genius who now prefers to paint squares endlessly in his mansion. It’s the painting that matters, not the mansion – but they are smart enough to enjoy a bonus.
This isn’t to say innovators are a un-educated, rebels without a cause. They are and do. In pursuit of their goal, they will tick every box needed to achieve their goal as they know eventually, they will succeed.
They don’t become bored because they’ve learned to pay attention to what they are doing and make it meaningful. They accept life presents great periods of grunt work that needs to be done in order to fund the experiments.
Innovators are adept at blending in unlike amplifiers who make a lot of noise. They never stop paying attention to their experiments and if it suits them to hide in crowd, so be it.
They’ve been paying attention to what technology can do for their experiments, and we’re probably on usenet posting messages to alt.cyberpunk at the age of 12. They understood the network effect way before the World Wide Web existed. They noticed it in history class, reading about Panzer commanders and consigned that observation to the grave-yard until it became useful.
The Internet is the perfect billion person hide out, easily defended, easily encoded – and almost impossible to see unless they want you to.