Changing values – Towards a new economy?

Our ideas of value, what it is and how it is generated in the economy, have changed over time. Today’s dominant school of thought, neoclassical economics, lost sight of these decisive questions, as Mariana Mazzucato argues in her 2018 ‘The Value of Everything’. But there are some very recent promising signs that we are starting to have a renewed debate about value and how we want the economy to work for all of us.

Policy innovation at work

Today I’ll present a timely example and, I hope, an inspiring glimpse of how European policy-making actually works. It goes like this: On 4 July, economics professor Mariana Mazzucato spoke in Helsinki about the mission-oriented approach to research and innovation that the Union should adopt. Questions will come readily to your mind: Why now? Why there? Why she? And of course: So what? Let’s go through.

Exploring the adjacent possible – Next steps

Steven Johnson investigated the types of environment that nourish fledgeling innovations, and presented his analysis in “Where Good Ideas Come From”. In his conclusions he explores the available data on about 200 of the most important good ideas of the past 600 years and derives some insightful advice for fostering innovation in the 21st century.

Exploring the adjacent possible – What we should expect from technology

As innovators, we build our future progress on our predecessors’ past achievements thanks to humankind’s unique capability of social learning, of sharing experiences and ideas. Today, we rely heavily on computers, databases, and the internet to facilitate and accelerate whatever we do. And that includes our social learning capabilities and our creative skills. Hence it’s high time to critically assess technology’s impact and to formulate our expectations: How do we employ technology to support our innovative endeavours? What do we demand? And what can we realistically hope for?

Some inspiration for 2019

As the old year draws to a close, the holiday season offers a much-needed break from everyday busy-ness to rest, to reflect, to put recent events into longer-term perspective. It’s the time for racking and stacking and sorting the ideas that have accumulated, and to think ahead. To give my fuzzy observations an initial structure for some systematic follow-up, I’ve composed a preliminary reading list for the new year that I’m sharing here.