‘Bad boy’ American composer and pianist George Antheil and 1940's Hollywood superstar Hedy Lamarr invented and patented an underwater artillery weapon for use in World War II. The history of the world is filled with innovative creations, designs, and contraptions most of which have never seen the light of day, let alone occupied a drawer in the patent office. It has occurred to me that those who discover or invent new things do so from four different motivations, or grounding points. 1. They are unconditionally driven by individual nature and chemistry. 2. They are conditionally rewarded by powerful interests, such as employers, entrepreneurs, or award committees. 3. They don’t have the ‘right’ tool for the job, spawning the aphorism: ‘necessity is the mother of invention.’ 4. When presented with plenty of free time, mostly males (females typically do not enjoy a wealth of free time) will quickly become bored, resulting in a free-wheeling practice of: turning things upside down, fiddling with things, taking things apart, removing objects or creatures from their natural habitat, setting something on fire, bouncing, throwing, tasting, curling, twisting, popping, puncturing, etc. anything nearby; in essence playing, experimenting, exploring, and perhaps inventing something new.
A Collection of Writings on Nature, Science, and Art by John Holland