I was once told by one of my college professors, who coincidently had a PHD in Organic Chemistry from Harvard, that most of innovation and discovery is a matter of using something you already have to do things that it wasn’t meant to do. While there are a lot of examples of pure innovation and discovery that don’t necessarily follow that narrative, I do see what he means, and I tend to agree with him.
A really great example of this jumped out at me recently that reminded me of what that professor had told me. It was a video of a doctor who had several terminal leukemia patients and decided that in a last ditch effort, since they would absolutely positively die from their condition, that he would take a normally fatal virus and adjust it ever so slightly so that it would kill those leukemia cells.
And it worked.
The idea really is quite simple, but there is a reason most doctors didn’t try it: because it didn’t seem right, they likely didn’t bother to try. From that, one could conclude that we probably are a bigger roadblock to ourselves and our ideas than others and circumstance.
Everyone in this world is good at something, whether they know it or not, and therefore, they too absolutely have the capacity to solve old problems in new ways by applying their skills unconventionally.