Innovation Origin Stories

We write about innovation and, as an experiment, we’re working on videos. Check out our YouTube channel for all of them.

Here’s our third video about the origin of vaccines. We thought it’s a good time to review the interesting history about how we ended up with the wonder drugs we take for granted to ward off countless diseases.

Check out our second video, about the origin of Interchangeable Standardized Parts. It’s a fun story and a great case study on the power of dormant ideas:

Below is our first video, about strategic addiction as a business strategy. The British created it, addicting millions of Chinese to opium they then traded for tea to avoid paying silver. Today, it’s used for all sorts of legal things like pain killers, cigarettes, alcohol, computer/phone games, and social media.

Our purpose for all these is to describe and teach about people who are at the heart of innovation. Innowiki is a collection of origin stories about those people, how they took the leap from nothing to something, why it matters, and what we can learn from them.

Inventors tend to be interesting and, by definition, the 400 plus innovations inside Innowiki all involve inventors doing interesting and oftentimes wild things. Many were told they had no chance, or their work had no useful purpose but today we use most of these inventions day in and day out. We’re also a collection of business theories, including and especially blue ocean strategy.

Despite the name, we’re not really a Wiki. That was the original goal but, much like Wikipedia emerged from a non-wiki, we went the other way. But it’s a catchy name so kept it.

Besides collecting innovations, we also write about innovation methods, especially blue ocean strategy. If you’re into blue ocean strategy, besides reading the articles here consider subscribing to our blue ocean newsletter at

Our compilation includes over 400 innovations we think are especially impactful. We wrote about them, one-by-one, in short, accurate, and easy-to-digest case studies. We’re constantly adding and updating entries.