How did one figure out how to use soap.. or make it ? What to eat what not to eat? How to grow a crop? How to find electricity… ? Then you suddenly think about how we don’t have such revolutionary discoveries or inventions today, or at least none that we know of or appreciate. Brings me to think, is each generation dumbing down? Where are the Aryabhattas, the Newtons, the Shakespeares, the Da Vincis of today? (Please don’t judge the list, it’s random, and I’m too lazy to research and make a more comprehensive one..) So, on putting some thought and weighing against evolution, dominance of the stronger genes, that conclusion wouldn't be so true. Come of think of it, we’re really innovating in fields of technology, phones and video games to say the least. Then why don’t they impress us as much as inventing the telephone? Or making the first soap bar?
I think it is because, those innovations were need-driven. They solved a problem, as compared to ones now which are more luxury-driven. We already have a comfortable set of inventions, tools and sufficient knowledge. We know about gravity, we have electricity, we can do basic math and can easily communicate. Hence, the innovation today mostly seems an improvement.
Maybe to really create something revolutionary, one should start looking at questions that need to be answered, problems that need to be solved. From what I understand Need seems to be a bigger motivator than Luxury. Maybe when a seriously gifted and curious individual spends time in improvising an already good gadget or thinks he can be the next Zuckerberg by some really cool idea, that genius is looking in the wrong direction.
There are many needs we still have to fulfill, they may seem altruistic, but they are problems that need to be solved. Maybe innovators probably need to look for a different motivation. Maybe a unique contribution.. to health, to education, to alternative energy models, to sustainable honest political models, to viable economic opportunities for all… Altruism might not equate to profit on face-value, but a need-driven innovation would probably be revolutionary, profit would then just be one of the perks.
Think of it, I would always buy something that I need before something that I want.