Generosity Matters

Neonatal incubators were invented in Paris by an obstetrician who, when taking a lunchtime walk in the park, noticed an incubator hatching eggs. As cruel or odd as it may sound to us today, he decided to make a version for human babies.

Those neo-natal incubators proved such a success at saving lives, that for many years they’ve been among the first pieces of equipment to be shipped into war zones and disaster areas. The trouble is, they were always hard to maintain. At least until another bright spark had the idea of using car headlights to keep them warm – because anyone can change a light bulb.

So which development is more significant? Of course, the answer is neither. The contexts are different, but both are saving lives, and that’s what counts.

Advertising may not be saving lives, but we could do with remembering this incubator example in our creative departments. Historically the tendency has been to come up with an idea and then guard it jealously as your own, regardless of the processes and iterations that might be necessary to maintain and build its relevance across platforms and over time.

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