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Evolutionary Ideas

Unlocking ancient innovation to solve tomorrow’s challenges

By Sam Tatam

Paperback £14.99 / $18.99
eBook £10.00 / $12.00
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Evolutionary Ideas

Unlocking ancient innovation to solve tomorrow’s challenges

By Sam Tatam

Jacket text

When faced with new challenges, it’s easy to feel our solutions need to be equally unprecedented. We think we need a revolution. But what if this is a big mistake?

In Evolutionary Ideas, Sam Tatam shows how behavioural science and evolutionary psychology can help us solve tomorrow’s challenges, not by divining something the world has never seen, but by borrowing from yesterday’s solutions – often in the most unexpected ways.

Just as millions of years of evolution have helped craft the wing and dorsal fin, thousands of engineers, designers, marketers and advertisers have toiled to solve many of the problems you face today. Over time, through intent, design, social learning and sheer luck, we have found what works.

Armed with an enhanced ability to see these patterns in human innovation, we can now systematically approach the creative process to develop more effective ideas more readily and rapidly.

In the same way Japanese engineers reduced bullet train noise by studying the evolved biology of the owl and kingfisher, today we can see how Disney improved the queueing experience in the same way Houston airport made arrivals feel faster (while making people walk further). We’ll learn how the chocolate at the bottom of a Cornetto ice cream can improve an Error 404 message, and what a bowl of M&Ms has in common with a canary in a coal mine.

These are Evolutionary Ideas.

Exploring five of the most critical challenges we face today, we learn how to ‘breed’ more effective solutions from those that have survived. The result is a dynamic and exciting way of solving problems and supercharging creativity – for anyone in any endeavour.

About the author

Sam Tatam is Global Head of Behavioural Science at Ogilvy. His passion is understanding human behaviour, and his experience comes from organisational/industrial psychology and advertising strategy.

From New York to Nairobi, Sam has led behaviour change projects across virtually every category and continent. Today, he leads a global team of talented psychologists and behavioural economists to develop interventions and shape the communications of some of the world's most influential brands and organisations.


“A hothouse of fresh insights, ready to invade your brain and take a life on their own.”

Chiara Varazzani, Lead Behavioural Scientist, OECD

“A provocative case for role of behavioural science in contemporary innovation.”

Dilip Soman, University of Toronto, author of The Last Mile

“This book is fabulous and fascinating, teeming with insights about the psychology of innovation, not least that most innovation is not revolutionary but evolutionary.”

Matt Ridley, author of How Innovation Works

“Sam Tatam connects theory with practical illustrations to make a case for the vital role of behavioural science in modern innovation. A wonderfully valuable book!”

Nir Eyal, author of Hooked and Indistractable
Published: 10/05/2022
Formats: paperback - ISBN 9780857197870
ebook - ISBN 9780857197887
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