"The essence of Darwin's disruptive genius was his ability to think about nature not as fact—but as process, as progression, as history." -Siddhartha Mukherjee, The Gene: An Intimate History
A related quote (from my Favorite Quotes page):
"I have been speculating...what makes a man a discoverer of undiscovered things, and a most perplexing problem it is. Many men who are very clever—much cleverer than the discoverers—never originate anything. As far as I can conjecture, the art consists in habitually searching for the causes and meaning of everything which occurs. This implies sharp observation and requires as much knowledge as possible of the subject investigated." -Charles Darwin (The Autobiography of Charles Darwin)
That also reminds me of a quote from Charlie Munger relating to turning information and knowledge and cleverness into something useful:
"We read a lot. I don't know anyone who's wise who doesn't read a lot. But that's not enough: You have to have a temperament to grab ideas and do sensible things. Most people don't grab the right ideas or don't know what to do with them."