Kings, Peasants & Innovation

Posted on

March 13th, 2017


Long, long ago in a place far, far away, a king ruled a country of peasants.  They hunted, gathered, and farmed.  They built buildings and a castle for the king.  They fought for the king when the neighbors attacked.  All of the peasants did as they were told.  Nothing less, and nothing more.  The king was very pleased with this, as his loyal subjects faithfully executed his orders.  He was a happy king.

Until one day, the neighboring kingdom attacked and sacked the village, destroying the castle.  The king and his peasants were forced into servitude for the new king.  All of the peasants did as they were told.  Nothing less, and nothing more.  However, they noticed the peasants in this kingdom were different.  They carried out their orders, but were not told exactly how their duties should be carried out – only their end goals.  They were also rewarded when they exceeded their goals.

Therefore, the peasants in the new kingdom had an incentive to create and advance their methods.  They fertilized crops with different materials to increase the farming yield.  They built sound structures that were more difficult to penetrate.  And they created advanced weaponry that allowed them to penetrate the walls of their neighboring kingdom and overthrow the formerly happy king.

These peasants had become innovators.  They constantly sought better, faster, and more efficient methods for reaching their goals.  And they were rewarded by their king consistently for their efforts.  In fact, he was so impressed with the production of his people that he distributed the indentured peasants to work as their assistants.  Thus making the peasants not peasants at all really.  Now, they were managers.

Originally Posted by John Scranton on September 29, 2011