Unlocking ancient innovation to solve tomorrow’s challenges
by Sam Tatam
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Pub Date 10 May 2022 | Archive Date 24 May 2023
When faced with new challenges, it’s easy to feel our solutions need to be equally unprecedented. We think we need a revolution. But what if this is a big mistake?
In Evolutionary Ideas, Sam Tatam shows how behavioural science and evolutionary psychology can help us solve tomorrow’s challenges, not by divining something the world has never seen, but by borrowing from yesterday’s solutions – often in the most unexpected ways.
Just as millions of years of evolution have helped craft the wing and dorsal fin, thousands of engineers, designers, marketers and advertisers have toiled to solve many of the problems you face today. Over time, through intent, design, social learning and sheer luck, we have found what works.
Armed with an enhanced ability to see these patterns in human innovation, we can now systematically approach the creative process to develop more effective ideas more readily and rapidly.
In the same way Japanese engineers reduced bullet train noise by studying the evolved biology of the owl and kingfisher, today we can see how Disney improved the queueing experience in the same way Houston airport made arrivals feel faster (while making people walk further). We’ll learn how the chocolate at the bottom of a Cornetto ice cream can improve an Error 404 message, and what a bowl of M&Ms has in common with a canary in a coal mine.
These are Evolutionary Ideas.
Exploring five of the most critical challenges we face today, we learn how to ‘breed’ more effective solutions from those that have survived. The result is a dynamic and exciting way of solving problems and supercharging creativity – for anyone in any endeavour.
“Sam Tatam connects theory with practical illustrations to make a case for the vital role of behavioural science in modern innovation. A wonderfully valuable book!”– Nir Eyal, author of Hooked and Indistractable
“This book is fabulous and fascinating, teeming with insights about the psychology of innovation, not least that most innovation is not revolutionary but evolutionary.” – Matt Ridley, author of How Innovation Works
“A provocative case for role of behavioural science in contemporary innovation.” – Dilip Soman, University of Toronto, author of The Last Mile
A hothouse of fresh insights, ready to invade your brain and take a life on their own.” – Chiara Varazzani, Lead Behavioural Scientist, OECD
Examples of Evolutionary Ideas explored in this book include:
Japanese engineers reducing bullet train noise by studying the evolved biology of the owl and kingfisher
Disney improving the queuing experience by making visitors interact with the story – by designing fast-moving, long-snaking yet visually short lines, and applying the same level of production found on the rides themselves
Houston airport making arrivals feel faster (while making people walk further)
Evolutionary Ideas provides new ways of thinking about applied behavioural science and the vast opportunity this discipline brings innovation today. Armed with an enhanced ability to see these patterns in human innovation, it is possible to systematically approach the creative process to develop more effective ideas more readily and rapidly.