How efficiency can kill you – in simple charts

In the previous post I've investigate the antagonistic relation between efficiency on one side and resilience on the other. As that is a pretty abstract subject, I tried to draw up a few simple charts to underpin the story of how efficiency, when taken to extremes, depletes resilience and ultimately promotes system failure. First, let's think of a simple task, the … Continue reading How efficiency can kill you – in simple charts

Efficiency will kill you slowly

Our western societies are obsessed with efficiency. Just think about topics like lean production, just-in-time logistics, energy consumption, time management: we are always trying to make things cheaper, to use less resources, to pack more action in less time, you name it. While these considerations are usually driven by good intent, I'd argue that they can pave the path to desaster … Continue reading Efficiency will kill you slowly

The dynamic ups and downs of human systems

No matter how hard we try to keep things simple and under control, many man-made systems turn out to be – or to become over time – quite complex and unpredictable. Despite our effort. Against our intentions. In stark contrast to our preference for simple, linear, static, controllable, predictable systems. Computer software, stock markets and tax codes are … Continue reading The dynamic ups and downs of human systems

On the unintended consequences of innovation policy …

My appreciation for Ian Morris and his big thinking has been woven into this blog already at a very early stage. He has his finger on the pulse of society's fundamental challenges; his "paradox of development" eloquently paraphrases society's eternal quest for innovation, while pointing out that any solution can only be temporary.

How innovation policy can embrace novelty …

Innovation policy is a complex composition of tools that influence the innovation capacity and success of a society. This set of policies usually does not cover the entire innovation landscape, but leaves the fringes of the landscape unattended. Today, I'll first focus on innovation policy that embraces novelty, i.e., policy objectives especially tailored to novel supply and novel demand. I consider this a forward looking innovation policy.