1. All appear to have started with flashes of insight prompted by working on big problems.
2. Research indicates that innovative strategies are sparked by precedents from unexpected places.
3. Breakthrough strategies always involve a 'creative combination'.
4. Breakthrough strategies are created by people, not companies.
This quote from the end of the story ties it all together.
'So what does all this tell us about breakthrough strategies? They rarely come from a typical strategic planning effort. Nor do they typically result from the common practice of generating and evaluating strategic options. ... Instead, they start with individuals working on big, specific challenges who find novel ideas in unexpected places, creatively combine them into innovative strategies, and personally take those strategies to fruition--against all odds.'