“He that will not apply new remedies must expect new evils; for time is the greatest innovator.”

Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

People often mistakenly think of innovation as a recent, technological phenomenon. However, Francis Bacon was clearly aware of its impact 400 years ago.

As I start this quotation blog I’d like to orientate us by seeing the Big Picture. That new iPhone may be very nice but it is small beer when you look at innovation. And let’s not get above ourselves either. Innovation is not confined to humans. We now have excellent data demonstrating that certain animals innovate solutions using tools to access food in the wild and solve ‘food puzzles’ created by researchers.

If you want to get a handle on innovation we need to understand that where we live is the Ultimate Innovation Lab. If you want to see real innovation at work look at evolution.

Our planet is one giant experiment. There have been five mass extinctions of nearly all life forms in its history. That’s the equivalent of hitting the reset button and starting all over again – and again…

Go back 500 million years and there was no life at all on the land.

Go back 450 million years and there were no insects.

Go back 400 million years and there were no trees.

Go back 125 million years and there were no bees, butterflies or flowering plants.

Just try imagining an earth with no bees, plants, insects, trees or creatures living on the land. Same planet completely different world.

Over the last 500 million years the planet we live on has changed beyond all recognition again and again. We think the world we live in is a given and a constant, but in truth it’s continually changing and.re-inventing itself.

So why shouldn’t we do the same?