There’s no mystery to why good ideas spread at a fast pace
History reveals solutions to immediate problems are quickly grasped while those with delayed effects are usually overlooked
Everyone loves a good idea. It’s even better when the idea becomes a tangible innovation, a better mousetrap that anyone can use and every mouse should fear. The awkward truth, however, is that even in a polished form, good ideas can be slow to spread.
Anaesthetic and antiseptic offer an instructive contrast. Both were developed in the mid-1800s. Anaesthetic spread faster than a hula-hooping craze. Dr Atul Gawande explained in the New Yorker, “within seven years, virtually every hospital in America and Britain had adopted the new discovery”.