Policy innovation at work

Today I’ll present a timely example and, I hope, an inspiring glimpse of how European policy-making actually works. It goes like this: On 4 July, economics professor Mariana Mazzucato spoke in Helsinki about the mission-oriented approach to research and innovation that the Union should adopt. Questions will come readily to your mind: Why now? Why there? Why she? And of course: So what? Let’s go through.

The efficiency mindset – appealing, but treacherous

Much of the public debate about innovation is centred on the corporate world, where share-holder value still rules supreme, and where innovation is the key avenue to keep the competitive advantage required to excel in the market. In this environment, efficiency is the prime driver. However, his mindset asks us to implement solutions quickly. The result can be too much emphasis on solutions with too little concern for the underlying problems; too much doing with too little thinking. And that has some unintended, hideous side-effects and long-term implications.

The entrepreneurial mind – upgrade

We live in a VUCA world: it’s volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. These global conditions are the same for everybody, for every organisation. But different types of organisations show different kinds of responses to these circumstances, in particular in the business world. While small entities like start-ups seek to draw their competitive advantage from agility […]

The entrepreneurial mind

When you are asked to describe the essence of an innovative mind-set, you are faced with a dilemma, as expectations are high and preconceived ideas differ widely. The question you receive is often one for concrete advice: Which values should an organisation embrace to implement an innovation culture? How can an individual be more innovative? But […]

The risks of economic narrow-mindedness

It is all too tempting to judge an economy’s health simply by its growth rate. No big wonder then that many economic policies are devised with growth as their only goal. However, this approach grossly simplifies the complexity of an economy’s inner workings. Rather than searching for the one perfect signal of economic success, we should take the opposite angle and try to understand what could go wrong. Today, I’ll offer a more detailed sketch of this concept to illustrate how our own economic narrow-mindedness makes us susceptible to economic failure, i.e., how a singular focus on growth blinds us for many important aspects of economic health.