Understanding innovation in 2014 …

When I launched this blog only three months ago, I did that with a passion for understanding innovation and in the intention to commence a learning journey that would hopefully be inspiring, surprising, and encouraging. Now, at the end of the calendar year, looking back at the first few legs of the journey, I can say that I found my personal objectives met, not the least thanks to the constructive feedback you provided. I’m grateful for your comments, ideas, and observations, and I’m committed to making this blog an attractive venue for provoking thought and engaging discussion on innovation at the intersection of technology, business, and society.

Based on the story so far, it’s safe to say that there are three recurrent themes for 2014 that will run through my posts in the course of the coming year. These themes have considerable overlap, still I sense it will be useful to sketch them separately here today, to give an idea of the kinds of questions I’m likely to address over the months to follow.

Science and technology – So far I have addressed the essence of technology and its interaction with society. Now it’s time to look more closely at science itself, its nature, its purpose, its utility. I’ll dive into some historic considerations on how science developed to where it stands today; and I’ll offer some thoughts in the future of science as well. Under this heading, I’ll cover the need for on the benefits of international collaboration in science and technology as well. Finally, I think that knowledge plays an essential role in innovation, hence I’ll offer my thoughts on this non-rival resource.

Society and politics – Over the last few weeks I have discussed the role of political and economic institutions, and I touched upon the importance of business organisations.  Still I think it’ll be useful to delineate the roles of politics and of business more clearly. Part of that discussion will have to deal with entrepreneurship, what that is and why it is so important for innovation to succeed. Within this broad theme, there is the question of the impact of S&T on society (does it deliver what society needs). As a flip side, I’ll also look into the effect of policies on innovation (to what extent can society control innovation).  There is the specific topic of directed technology, but in more general terms, it’s a question of innovation demand and society’s ability to ensure that it is met.

Business and economics – I’ve touched on economics in the context of institutions already. For 2014, I see a need to address to role of innovation in economic growth. Within that broad context, I’ll pay specific attention to Schumpeterian Waves, to their contraction, and to General Purpose Technologies as well. Additional elements of that discussion are disruptive innovation, and innovations in infrastructure.

Cutting across these three themes, I’ll continue looking into innovation literacy, and I’ll add competition in innovation, and innovation fitness to the list of topics that merit further attention and discussion.

I don’t have a predefined programme or itinerary for this journey in 2014. Rather, I’ll continue on the meandering route that unfolded over the previous months.

I hope that you will find my ideas and thoughts as inspiring as I found your comments and feedback.

Best wishes for 2014.

Comments

  1. Have an innovative 2014! Look forward to reading more of you in the days to come!!

  2. I look forward to the innovation fitness part of your thinking. This innovation fitness, negotiating the innovation landscape and combining with dynamic capabilities to traverse it occupy part of my ongoing thinking. Take a look at this dedicated web site on this, when you have time.

    Do have a successful entry into the New Year and your continued learning journey.

    http://innovationfitnessdynamics.com/

    Finally my journeyman article: http://paul4innovating.com/2013/08/29/the-innovation-journeyman/

    • Thanks a lot. That’s a really rich resource of ideas, thoughts and concepts to reflect upon and to draw from.
      “Landscape” and “fitness” are important topics that I’ll certainly spend more time on. So far I only touched upon “institutions” and “organisations”, but I haven’t developed a clear view on how they define the innovation landscape, to what extent they might do so exclusively, or whether there are landscape components that are important yet outside reach for institutions or organisations. I’d like to add a few ideas on competition as well, and that’s probably the starting point for my endeavour into 2014.
      I enjoyed your journeyman post, especially the reflection on “orchestration”: this offers an elegant metaphor to capture both, the discipline and the art that make innovation such a challenge and so much fun.
      Best regards
      Ulf

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