This article in the Atlantic discusses a potential bias in experts to reject creative ideas.
My favorite connection here is to the “high-concept pitch.” To sell an idea, make it the “right level” of new: somewhat new, but not too new (regardless of how new it actually is).
In Hollywood, the “high-concept pitch” offers a useful example. Film producers, like NIH scientists, have to evaluate hundreds of ideas a year, but can only accept a tiny percentage. To grab their attention, writers often frame original ideas as a fresh combination of existing ideas. “It’s Groundhog Day meets War of the Worlds!” or “It’s Transformers on the ocean!” In Silicon Valley, where venture capitalists also shift through a surfeit of proposals, the culture of the high-concept pitch is vibrant (Airbnb was once eBay for homes; Uber, Lyft, and Zipcar were all once considered Airbnb for cars; now, people want Uber for everything).
This article makes me like the Silicon Valley practice of the “high-concept pitch” a little more. The problem with it is that it’s intellectually flaccid… but I can see how this helps to put new ideas, regardless of how new they really are, right into the sweet spot of “the right level of newness.”
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