You search for a car - not an engine

Sunday, March 25th, 2012 by hinrich

Science

What is the right balance between the time spend exploring potentially innovative technological solutions created externally versus the time spend creating innovative solutions build on mature technologies?

At times technological innovations appear to me like the beautiful facade of a house: nothing behind to actually live in. Some people and even some providers of novel technologies never get to build the house.

In other words, we constantly change the engine (e.g., we increase the horsepower, make it more fuel efficient, etc.) but we never build a car. While this is good for car engine manufacturers, it is bad if you are looking for transport to reach your destination.

To me biostatistical techniques are the steering wheel, the biological experiment is your point of departure, the experimental design is the travel route you have planned, and your destination is biological understanding.

How is changing the engine helping us to get to our destination if we have not planned the route and have no means of steering?

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