A supply chain for innovation

Supply chain: the term suggests a pretty simple and manageable process that delivers a given product. It sounds rather well-defined: all process steps and all necessary ingredients are known in advance. And it seems linear: one process step’s output is the another step’s input. As long as you follow the recipe and put in the right ingredients […]

Chinese turning points

One of the lesser known historical figures is the 15th century Chinese admiral Zheng He. Although he was arguably one of the great explorers, on par with Columbus, da Gama, and Magellan, the memory of his journeys quickly faded away. The history of his discoveries is a story about the impact of policy on innovation, for good and […]

Post-factual innovation?

When I learned that the Oxford Dictionary had identified ‘post-truth’ as the Word of the Year 2016, I really felt like I was slapped in the face. For somebody with a passion for science and knowledge, it just hurts. But it is true, the one new concept that dominated public discourse in 2016 was that thing […]

Where did growth come from?

… or more precisely, where did the idea of growth come from? That’s one of the questions I’ve been fascinated with for a long time. And reading Joel Mokyr’s recent A Culture of Growth, I feel like getting closer to an answer. Before and after the Industrial Revolution With the benefit of historical hindsight, and at a […]

Where from? Where to?

Looking for a good read for the upcoming festive season, I was actually stunned to find a small number of very recent publications that broadly cover the essential questions of humanity: Where do we come from? Where are we going to? The following presents something like my personal reading list that will keep my busy into the New Year: just four thought-provoking books […]