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How to Use History to Sell Innovation

Innovation depends on a web of previous wonders. Once you recognize that, you gain access to an array of metaphors and language that can help you explain what you’ve created, how it works, and why it matters. (1)

Dip into any field of art—literature, painting, music, dance—and you’ll quickly discover that the concept of “originality” is problematic. 

Was Shakespeare the most original playwright of his time, or just the cleverest borrower of plots and characters? Was Picasso an iconoclast, or by so obviously defying the “rules” did he also show them reverence? 

When I was immersed in the world of literary scholarship, much of my thinking was shaped by theories of “intertextuality.” Intertextuality ackno…

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