Innovators are agents of change. They pursue novelty, often in the face of adversity. To succeed, they need to consider the other agents they are surrounded by. And they must embrace their own agency in all its facets in order to maximise the impact they have.
The agent’s choice
Next to context, purpose, means, and decision-making, an agent must have one more thing: choice. An agent must have some alternative action mode available, so that its decision can choose the better of two options. In this way, the agent reaches its objective through a succession of decisions, each of which achieves a relative advantage: the outcome of the chosen option is better than the outcome of the rejected option.
The agent’s decision-making
Let's turn to the agent’s inner workings: What happens between those inputs and outputs? This requires some information processing, so that the agent compares the outside world with the agent’s purpose, and then discerns —from that comparison— an appropriate response.
The agent’s means
If you imagine an agent as a blackbox, you can first focus on the inputs it can receive and the outputs it can produce. In a second step, you then peek under the hood to understand what happens inside that box, how the inputs are connected to the outputs. Let us begin with the agent’s relations to the outside: What goes in? What comes out?
The agent’s purpose
While agency is necessarily agnostic of any purpose, the agent itself cannot exist without a motivation, a mission, an objective, a goal, in order to orient its actions in a meaningful direction. The very essence of 'meaning' solely depends on the presence of a purpose from which the agent can derive the most appropriate next step.