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THE NEXTDDS Student Ambassador Blogs

Innovation and the Internet

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We want to be creative as individuals and dental professionals. We want our organizations to be innovative. We want to see breakthroughs in science and technology. How can we create good ideas? Where do we find them?

 

I believe the answer lies in our environment. I have found that ideas often don’t arise at a “eureka” moment of great insight. In fact, the best ideas take a long time to evolve—lying dormant in the back of our minds, taking years to mature and become tangible. The history of innovation suggests that the best ideas arise from the collision of many mature, tangible thoughts—forming something bigger than themselves. We don’t always have the full vision of what we want to create but, over time, with trial and error and a long incubation, these thoughts can manifest to be a leap in the right direction.

 

It is when many such leaps occur in synchrony that a breakthrough happens. We must create systems and centers where such thoughts can come together and create something larger than the sum of their parts. History has shown that these spaces foster the growth of ideas, such as the coffee houses during the Age of Enlightenment. These were spaces where ideas could mingle and take on new forms.

 

This calls into question the internet: our modern day “environment” and ”space” to share ideas. It is apparent that we are moving away from deep, focused, contemplative states of mind into a faster-paced, multi-tasking way of life. Is this overwhelmingly connected lifestyle going to lead to less complex thought? Is this going to lead to less innovation? I think not.

 

The historical increase in connectivity, from Alexander Graham Bell to Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee, has been a key driver of scientific and technological innovation. Simply put, more connectivity has led to more innovation. Our ability to reach out and exchange ideas with other people and borrow ideas from others has been the primary engine of creativity in this world. We may live in a more distracted world, checking Facebook and Instagram constantly, however this is how we connect with people. This is how we find missing pieces to our puzzles. This is how we create breakthroughs.