Inevitably reborn: the reawakening of extinct innovations

J Goldenberg, J Libai, Y. Louzoun, D Mazursky, S Solomon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In our innovation-driven world we tend to lay concepts that have lost their attractiveness to rest and rush to embrace the next giant leap. However, in most fields of creation, patterns of reawakening of old, extinct innovations can be found. It often looks as if new technological and social concepts have a life of their own, survival instincts and adaptive properties: They simply refuse to die. Should these phenomena be resolved on an ad hoc basis or are they grounded in the foundation of social behavior or evolutionary processes of technology? In conditions in which continuum equations would predict the extinction of a population, the presently offered microscopic representation proves that individuals self-organize in spatiotemporally localized adaptive patches that ensure their survival, resilience, and development as a collective. A similar treatment can explain why so many innovations are inevitably reborn. Accordingly, in assessing the value of social ideas, trends and even wants we ought to consider longer time frames following the decline of innovations, otherwise we might prematurely and erroneously discard successful promising concepts.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)881-896
JournalTechnological Forecasting and Social Change
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2004


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