Cities, companies, and innovation – An emerging narrative

The work of Geoffrey West and his team is truly fascinating. In their cross-disciplinary research on complex adaptive systems, they looked for common underlying principles that could be applicable to biological systems and social systems alike. Of course I’m particularly interested in West’s observations on social systems like cities and companies; and the different roles they play in innovation. Today, […]

The effects of decentralisation in the innovation landscape

The decentralisation of resource flows has significant effects of the roles of the innovation protagonists. Even though the innovation landscape itself essentially remains unchanged, the interactions across that landscape evolve toward unprecedented dynamics. The innovation landscape is shaped along two axes: problems that demand for a solution, and ideas for potential solutions. Within that landscape, we then find four different […]

How decentralisation enhances our innovation capacity

A few months ago, I started to take a deeper look into resource flows and how their patterns evolved over time. What the emerging flow patterns for information, energy, and material all have in common is the strong trend towards the decentralisation of distribution networks, which over time led to a genuine democratisation of access. As a result, today everybody can […]

How an emerging pattern of material flow could empower innovation

Trade and manufacturing are two cornerstones of the human endeavour, together they shape a society’s flow of tangible, material goods. As discussed in a brief history of material flow, trade and manufacturing have evolved only very slowly for most of our history, with the significant exception of the period after the Industrial Revolution. Today I’ll present snapshots of […]

When energy flow broke free …

From an energy perspective, you might split the entire history of mankind in just two phases: one before, and the other after the Industrial Revolution. Before that incisive event, an archaic pattern of energy flow ruled: muscle was the main source of energy to fulfil human needs; this source was decentralised and easily available to everybody, but […]