Can individuals still find the next big idea?

Specifically, the number of Americans engaged in R&D has jumped by more than twentyfold since 1930 while their collective productivity has dropped by a factor of 41.

“It’s getting harder and harder to make new ideas, and the economy is more or less compensating for that,” Bloom said. “The only way we’ve been able to roughly maintain growth is to throw more and more scientists at it.”

The paper spelled it out bluntly in numbers: “The economy has to double its research efforts every 13 years just to maintain the same overall rate of economic growth.”

Source: Big ideas are getting harder to find

In the future, it will more likely be teams of researchers finding the next big idea, not individuals. For example, Apple has 300 people working on the camera alone!

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