How our innovation structures deceive us

It’s no surprise: for problems that have been around for a while, we usually develop certain structures to deal with them efficiently. Think about structures as organisations like companies or research laboratories, or processes like quality assurance or even the scientific method. Each of these established organisations and ready-made processes are designed for a purpose: to solve a specific known problem. And that’s what […]

What’s wrong with focusing on known problems?

At first glance, there shouldn’t be anything wrong if a society focused its innovation effort on solving its known problems. However, if that focus becomes an obsession, this society will –over time– become increasingly vulnerable to the challenges presented by previously unknown problems. I believe that our structures, our resources, and even our mindset are so committed […]

The Gordian Knot of innovation?

When you think about the flow of useful knowledge through society, and then imagine how that flow enables innovation, you’ll realize a massive entanglement. At first glance, there is a myriad of different connections between people, processes, and locations: these are the tangible pieces of the puzzle. At second glance, you’ll find that they all play some role in the generation, dissemination, and application of useful […]

Ignorance – curse or bliss?

Ignorance is widely considered the curse that prevents human progress, and even the term ‘blissful ignorance’ is usually meant to be derogatory. But could there be reason for a more positive notion of ignorance? Let’s find out. You might take the boyish view of Calvin & Hobbes as a start: “The secret to happiness is short-term, stupid, self-interest.” Of course this is utterly childish, and […]

What is useful knowledge?

Useful knowledge, or rather, the idea of useful knowledge, is central to my concept of the innovation supply chain. But what is knowledge really? And how to identify its useful portion? Obviously, I’m not the first to ask these questions, and I’m certainly not the only one. If you simply google the word knowledge, you’ll get a pretty broad set of […]