New Publication: “The Incalculable Element” by Emily A. Davis

May 19, 2023

The Andrew W. Marshall Papers

"The Incalculable Element": Ancient Innovations for Modern Security Problems

Emily A. Davis

We are pleased to announce the publication of the Andrew W. Marshall Paper, “The Incalculable Element”: Ancient Innovations for Modern Security Problems, by Emily A. Davis. Emily was the grand prize winner of our paper prize on Creative Bursts & Intellectual Outliers, which asked people to examine how creativity among peer groups or within an organization comes about, is fostered, and is maintained.

Within an individual’s career or an organization’s lifetime, there may be a period when they are especially creative or part of a “flaring of intellectual outliers,” defined by Augier, March, and Marshall as “small groups of thinkers who briefly, but decisively, influence the development of ideas, technologies, policies, or worldviews.” Occasionally, individual and organizational factors interact to help encourage or cultivate creativity with constructive and innovative results.

This paper takes the reader on a journey with the Syracusan general Hermocrates, demonstrating his brilliance as an intellectual outlier who inspired several creative bursts. Emily also offers the reader a meditation on limitations, intellectual flexibility, and partnership.