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 […]

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 […]

The Third of the Grand Revolutions

There’s a lot of talk about the Digital Revolution and the effects it had, has, might have. Let’s take a step back to put things into perspective: Could it be that this revolution is a lot larger than we usually think? Are we currently experiencing the beginnings of a major transformation not only of our technological base, but of the very […]

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, […]

Three days, three breakthroughs

Wow, what a ride! Just between 10 and 12 December 2015 –within the blink of an eye–  three events occurred that we will likely consider breakthroughs in a couple of years: the Paris Agreement, the launch of OpenAI, and the first successful run of Wendelstein 7-X. While one of those events is widely agreed as historic, the other two currently […]