Evolution Trumps Innovation

Why start from scratch when you can learn from previous mistakes?
By Logan Gelbrich, CCFT ,

Imagine locking 10 of the smartest men and women in the world inside a room with the task of developing the world’s greatest personal computer. In scenario one, they’re to start this process from scratch (without prior knowledge or experience with a PC). In scenario two, they’re given the current best personal computer on the market along with the time and space to develop their project.

Though in the first scenario the group may still have the talent and resources to innovate something incredible, I’d argue that their time would be better spent and their product would potentially be the best if they were able to evolve the current leading device. After all, the creators of the current best PC invested time and energy, made mistakes and evolved previous devices to create their current one. Why not take these lessons, avoid the same mistakes and start from something substantial rather than from nothing on day one?

Shane Sweatt and the thought leaders from Westside Barbell are a prime example of this. In fact, their entire strategy for coaching and their advice for other coaches is to first master an effective method. It’s only when one thoroughly understands a method that he or she can evolve it. Conversely, innovating something new is likely neither an efficient use of time nor an effective program in such short notice.

With the explosion of performance-based fitness via CrossFit, weightlifting, powerlifting and strongman in recent years, there’s also been a rise in the number of coaches in the field. These coaches want to stand out. Innovation is a common strategy for these coaches to add value to their offerings, whereas I think coach Sweatt would argue mastery and evolution is the better strategy.

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