Innovation is a hostile act

For many good reasons, innovation is widely appreciated as a positive force, as the driver for progress and prosperity. But make no mistake: innovation has serious downsides, at least for some, at least sometimes. Even though these negative impacts are far outweighed by the positive effects, they are the source of considerable push-back and utter resistance to innovation. And it would be too easy to dismiss justified concerns as irrational, dump, backwards-oriented, or fear-mongering. It’s time to cast some light on the hostility even the best intended innovator might be faced with. It’s time to acknowledge that innovation itself is a hostile act. Here’s why.

Economic trajectories into the future

The Digital Revolution started only about 40 years ago. While much of it is still in the future, some of the challenges and opportunities ahead are already clearly visible. In essence, there are two major forces at work: One is the breakthrough of information as the next dominant economic fuel, the other is the diversity of economic realities around the globe. Today, I’ll take a deeper look at this diversity and how it might evolve in the future.

What drives an economy in the very long run?

Just a few weeks ago, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced the decision to award this year’s Nobel Prize in Economics to Paul Romer for integrating technological change into macroeconomic analysis. That’s a good reason for thinking through the long-term history of innovative activity, for investigating how technological change itself changed over time, and what the future might hold for us.

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

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 […]