Posts Tagged ‘cancer’

Finding a Cure for Cancer

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

Malcolm Gladwell has become a favorite management guru for his pithy accounts of how innovation happens. His New Yorker pieces and bestselling books synthesize the latest social science research into counterintuitive narratives.

In Outliers, he debunked the idea that genius is inbred. In Blink he suggested that snap judgments often have more accuracy than reasoned evaluation.

In a recent New Yorker issue devoted to innovation, Gladwell analyzes oncology research. His descriptions of lab science belie the image of the triumphant PI pursuing a clear vision. Often, the biggest breakthroughs come from the least planned experiments. Moreover, the most effective treatments are cobbled together approaches, not a single, miraculous drug.

His account emphasizes the need to allow serendipity in research as well as humility.