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Why Rising From the Ashes Is Vital for Disruption, Innovation Good (almost) always follows bad.

By Amy Cosper

This story appears in the May 2016 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Nigel Parry/CPI
Amy Cosper

"Every renaissance comes to the world with a cry, the cry of the human spirit to be free."
—Anne Sullivan

Right now Silicon Valley is hoarding outsize credit for innovation and disruption of the status quo. I call B.S. Innovation and disruption have gone on for eons, and they're driven by something so obvious that we rarely talk about it: the resiliency of the human spirit in the face of life-crushing odds. It's called survival, and through it, we innovate our way out of the abyss.

I know this from experience. Three years ago, my house and all my worldly possessions burned to the ground in a swift and terrifying forest fire. After the ashes cooled, I couldn't wait to don a hazmat mask and gloves, grab a sieve and a shovel and go through the ruins, hoping to reclaim my former life by finding some artifact or treasure. I never found one. Eventually I let go because, really, how long could I keep digging for something I would never find?

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