I did once explain the need for reform in politics to a conservative friend like this:

Effective and popular bills have already been passed.
Effective but unpopular bills have not been passed yet (most of them).
Ineffective and popular bills have already been passed (some of them).
Ineffective and unpopular bills are extremely rare.

The decisive variable in politics isn't only effectiveness, but also popularity - which leaves us always some potential for improvement.

It's similar for innovations (also in military affairs).
The variable "popularity" can be replaced by "plausibility" (or other variables - let's stick to plausibility for now).

There's certainly much potential for improvement/innovation in equipment, tactics, operational art, strategy, logistics, wartime policy.

We can search for innovation potential the normal way - just for effective+plausible - but we won't find much potential for improvement this way.

Instead, we should consider to look for implausible but effective changes.

That's quite difficult, especially if you don't have a unit at hand for experiments; the human brain depends a lot on plausibility. But some things are only implausible and seemingly paradox on the surface. That was described very well in the book "Strategy: The Logic of Peace and War" by E.N. Luttwak.

There are other variables that reduce the likeliness of effective innovations. These variables represent human weaknesses. Technological lock-in, tradition, necessary effort, (no) profit opportunity for arms industry and so on.

Sven Ortmann

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