Human nature predisposes us to maximize our accomplishments while making a concerted effort to balance resource expenditures so we achieve an optimal return on our efforts. All too often what this really means is that we do the easy things that can be done with minimal effort; we grab the low hanging fruit. Traditional incident investigation methodology enables us to reach beyond the obvious reactive solutions. The incident investigation methodology is also an exceptional foundation for safety management system (SMS) development because it supports a holistic approach to reaching the fruit that is ripe for harvesting, the deficiencies that become paradigm changes in the aviation industry. Such achievements require more than dogmatic compliance with established regulations; they require collaboration and resolve. The evolution of incident and occurrence investigation will be presented to demonstrate its exceptional value in safety management and risk mitigation.