Coolness is not innovation

Michael Gilbert writes:

Coolness is not innovation. That which is innovative is not always cool. More importantly, that which is cool is not always innovative. Indeed, cool can be seen as inherently conservative. If an invention is not already well on its way to adoption in certain (possibly small, probably themselves cool) circles, then it is too obscure to be cool. Even if we’d never use the actual word “cool” to define our choices, the desire for coolness is powerful. It provides us with the appearance of innovation without the inherent risks of the real thing. Mistaking coolness for innovation is far from trivial. It leads to large scale investments in promises of change that do not materialize. It causes genuine innovations, which don’t tap into established tropes or status in the same way, to languish in obscurity.

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