Necessity is the mother of invention, right? It’s also one of the parents of innovation. But if you have a narrow set of experiences, then your ability to see what is necessary or what could be improved never fully develops and the world stagnates.
Sorry to be the bearer of doom and gloom here.
The point is, the more we experience, the more we can draw from when solving problems. We can’t be expected to look at a process or tool, decide whether or not it’s a good process or tool, and then decide what adjustment we’d like to make to improve the process or tool without something to base that on. Now, someone would look at that last statement and say, “Well, that’s a good thing, right? If you don’t have lots of experience, then you won’t be going around tinkering with things.” No, it’s not a good thing. Progress comes from tinkering, and as we’re all learning the hard way, stagnation is even more troublesome than progress. The world wants to change. Why not float along?
Innovation isn’t just about solving problems; it’s also about improving. It’s being able to look at a process or tool and consider the possibility of changing one thing to make something run more smoothly, or to experiment with combining current processes and tools into something more useful, more efficient. Without a range of experiences, you’d never have anything to inspire those thoughts.
The ability to see connections between completely different processes or tools and to see how to repurpose or adjust one to take on useful qualities of the other is what keeps our society progressing forward (for better or for worse), and it only grows by gaining experience with a wide variety of situations, practices, and objects.