How change begets more change

Back in 2002, Carlota Perez published an original, daring and bold concept that describes our long-term social development. For her, technology, economy, and society each play a vital role, each of them by itself drives change, as much as it is driven by the changes of the others. Here’s a very initial introduction to her thinking.

Formatting our world

The language we speak, the organisation we live or work in, and the technology we use all have one thing in common: they format our world. They shape how we think about it, how we see it, how we behave in it, and how we interact with it. All that formatting has tremendous advantages in our day-to-day lives. Yet it also provides an explanation for the challenges innovators face when they develop something novel that does not fit any of the pre-established formats.

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.

How to have more insights

The cognitive psychologist Gary Klein proposed the triple path model to explain how we have insights. Furthermore, Klein systematically searched for hindrances and encouragements to having insight. It should be interesting to compare his findings with Steven Johnson’s analysis of the conditions that make good ideas flourish. Good ideas need insights, and conditions for the success of one should promote the other. Let’s find out.

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?