It Still Takes People to Solve the Really Hard Problems

This blog is inspired by the article “Slow Ideas” in The New Yorker by Atul Gawande which discusses how some innovations spread swiftly, but many important ones are much slower, mostly because they involve changing people and culture.

“Slow Ideas” starts off with a history lesson of the adoption of anesthesia versus antiseptics, both incredibly novel advancements in medicine discovered in the mid 1800’s. Anesthesia turned out to be adopted much more quickly than antiseptics simply because it had immediate, obvious benefit to a surgeon’s experience. Imagine not having to rush through a treatment on a thrashing painful patient. Antispectics, on the other hand, provided a benefit to patients that was only realized over many days, and was dependent on many factors being made antiseptic, and later, sterile.


Reenactment of first etherized operation.
[SOURCE] This image is in the public domain due to its age.

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