The cycle of collaborative innovation

People want to collaborate, to create together, to learn from each other. And yet the reality of our human existence is that we are separate from each other, sometimes in distance, sometimes in time, often in both.

So we develop tools to help us compensate for the reality of our mutual separation. Yet those tools, even as they give us greater power over reality, end up changing our reality. This is because they provide us with the capability to support even greater separation in distance and time.

Cave drawings lead to the written word, which leads to printed books, then the telegraph, radio, television, the internet, smart phones, augmented reality, and whatever lies beyond that.

Domestication of horses leads to the wheel, then the cart and chariot, eventually the train, the automobile, and whatever comes after that. Our eternal desire to bridge our separateness causes us to create ever greater capabilities for civilization to support wider and wider distances between us, both in time and in space.

This flow of mutual influences creates a cycle which could be called the “cycle of collaborative innovation.”

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