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.

Exploring the adjacent possible – What we should expect from technology

As innovators, we build our future progress on our predecessors’ past achievements thanks to humankind’s unique capability of social learning, of sharing experiences and ideas. Today, we rely heavily on computers, databases, and the internet to facilitate and accelerate whatever we do. And that includes our social learning capabilities and our creative skills. Hence it’s high time to critically assess technology’s impact and to formulate our expectations: How do we employ technology to support our innovative endeavours? What do we demand? And what can we realistically hope for?

Framing policies on Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (or AI) is hotly debated for all the promise it holds and the concerns it raises. Opinions abound, and they range widely. From hailing AI as the harbinger of an entirely new level of human development, to cursing AI as ushering in the end of all human civilisation. Today, I’ll highlight three recent contributions to the AI discussion that remind us of the wide-open option space we have for policies that can shape the AI we want to have in the future.

Reinventing time

The times they are a-changin’. This Bob Dylan song has a deeper meaning than we usually realise. For our sense of time, of the pace and direction of its flow, transformed several times in human history. And this perception is undergoing significant changes again today. So here’s a short story about our sense of time, how it evolved, and how it shapes our liberties and certainties.

Where’s your innovation focus? – Part 1: Harmony

Innovation is never easy. Regardless of its purpose, you’ll always have a lot to take into account: needs and expectations, resource implications, rules and regulations, the state of the art as well as technical limitations of legacy systems. Wrestling with all these constraints can easily distract you from your ultimate goal. To help you find your innovation focus, I’ll revisit two conceptual maps I’ve discussed earlier to develop a hybrid navigation aid that combines the best of both concepts.