Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries, by Safi Bahcall Physicist and biotech entrepreneur Safi Bahcall brings science to the vital debate about why and how innovative companies suddenly stagnate or winning creative teams turn into losers. Whereas much of the literature has focused on cultural issues, he homes in on structural questions, notably the science of “phase transitions” — such as the “tug of war” between binding and entropy in water as it reaches freezing point. “Small changes in structure, rather than culture, can transform a rigid team,” he writes, relegating the full innovation equation to an appendix, for those who want to check his working. The “loonshots” of the title are the crazy breakthrough ideas that flourish if the two states can be held in balance. If not, they are frequently crushed or starved by organisations that have started to freeze into unimaginative bureaucracies. Bahcall makes the idea sing by ...

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