Our needs for innovation

Against our best effort, the order that we seek to establish with our means for innovation does not last forever; as if a ‘hidden force of anti-order would systematically undermine all our endeavours. This ‘force’ takes many forms as it harnesses a variety of mechanisms.

At the most basic level, the ‘things we build’ suffer from physical degradation and chemical decomposition; their effectiveness and functionality deteriorate over time.

At the sophisticated level, living organisms (and life-like forms of organisations) are subject to biological mechanisms that cause their ageing and death, a gradual loss of functionalities that eventually ends their existence.

Amongst humans, agency plays a particular role, because it teams up with imagination and intent to serve as our innovation engine. You can use it to meet your goals, just as others can use it to meet theirs. Now think about somebody who has a plan that deviates from yours. Given sufficient resources, she will likely implement her plan to solve her problem, while her efforts stop you from achieving your goal and even give you additional problems.

At the most abstract level, the social, political, economic, and technological structures we devise are not inherently stable. Their collapse is the result of rivalling concepts and ideas that gain support and are implemented at the expense of the established structures.

Taken together, our means and needs for innovation define the human world of innovation. Yet, many of those means and needs are not specific to humans; we do not own them to ourselves. They are much older than Homo Sapiens, as they date back to the origins of life itself.

This is the fourth in a series of short posts on the origins of innovation.

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