Idea Extinction. (Episode 182)

Here’s a reflection after having (an amazing) lunch with Chef Ricardo Muñoz Zurita of Azul Condesa in Mexico City:

“There are few things more beautiful than a novel idea that is born – but there are few things sadder than a great idea that is allowed to go extinct.”

When it comes to innovation we tend to focus on the people who come up with something that has never existed before. And that is great. New and wonderful ideas are one of the greatest gifts humanity is giving itself.

But what about great ideas that die?

Chef Ricardo is passionate about saving old traditional Mexican recipes. He has travelled around the country collecting over 5000 of them to make sure the recipes are saved for the future.

Over a wonderful meal, he told me about one time when he had travelled to a remote village in Mexico and tried this amazing bread made by an old woman. Unfortunately, he did not have the chance to ask her for the recipe at the time.

A few years later, he came back to the village and went back to the house where the woman lived to try the bread again.

Unfortunately, she had passed away.

And she had not written down the recipe for this amazing bread. Someone told Chef Ricardo that the woman’s daughter was living a few blocks away and also baked bread, but when he got to try it, it was – in his words: “a good bread, but not amazing like the mother’s.”

That secret to the wonderful bread had been lost forever with the death of the old woman.

Great Ideas go extinct all the time for a multitude of reasons: people give up on them, forget to document them, get distracted and forget about them or sentiments in society changes. Or the wonder of the idea dies.

People like Chef Ricardo are innovators in a different way than we normally think of them. He is making sure great ideas do not die.



We should celebrate people like Chef Ricardo.

Would love to know your thoughts – post your comment here.

Fredrik Haren – The Creativity Explorer, in Mexico City




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