Monday, March 30, 2015

innovation vs. reliability

We can do the same thing over again.

We can do something new and different.

The same thing, the same buttons in the same place to produce the same result they produced yesterday, mean that we have a chance to learn what the buttons do and use them competently.

Something new and different may focus our attention more sharply.  Making new discoveries and finding what our reaction to them is might give new inspiration, new motivation, new excitement.

I think it is wise to consider the value of both innovation and reliability/stability.  Here is a graph of what Google Ngrams found in a comparison of the frequency of the terms "innovation" and "reliability" in many books since 1800 (blue for 'innovation').

I think we are in a pro-innovation period and the graph seems to bear that out.  Similarly, I compared the same two terms in the Amazon Kindle store (400 pages of innovation v. 73 for reliability) and Google Search results (416 million for innovation v. 195 million for reliability).  It is worthwhile these days to try Microsoft's Bing search engine as well.  Innovation turned up 70.1 million results while there were 38.3 for reliability.

"Innovation" seems to be a good stand-in term for something new in many senses but I fear that "reliability" is only one of several good terms to mean continuing on in an unchanged and familiar way.

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