Your reasoning falls short. Linus isn't the driver of new features. He's the head maintainer. Many other people contribute code they need to do new things. He vets it and makes sure it doesn't break the rest of the kernel. He enables other people to do the innovative things by giving them a well-maintained place to put them.
It's true that Linus is simply the head of the maintenance tree, but the fact that he isn't the driver of new features seems to support my thesis that he doesn't have much need to look ahead very far. That function is generally handled by others lower in the tree, or completely outside of it.
I'm not sure I see my logic failure. Could you elaborate? Am I emulating Eliza?