The landscape of innovation in bacteria, battleships, and beyond

Terence C. Burnham, Michael Travisano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


We draw lessons from microbial experimental evolution and naval warfare to improve the understanding of innovation in financial markets. Major financial innovations often arise without explicit societal planning because novel approaches can be favored by markets, in a manner strikingly parallel to natural selection. We utilize the concept of an adaptive landscape to characterize environments that increase the speed and magnitude of innovation. We apply this adaptive landscape framework to innovation in portfolio management. We create a general taxonomy for understanding and nurturing innovation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2015565118
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number26
StatePublished - Jun 29 2021

Bibliographical note

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© 2021 National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.


  • Adaptation
  • Experimental evolution
  • Finance
  • Innovation


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