The Gordian Knot of innovation?

When you think about the flow of useful knowledge through society, and then imagine how that flow enables innovation, you’ll realize a massive entanglement. At first glance, there is a myriad of different connections between people, processes, and locations: these are the tangible pieces of the puzzle. At second glance, you’ll find that they all play some role in the generation, dissemination, and application of useful […]

A supply chain for innovation

Supply chain: the term suggests a pretty simple and manageable process that delivers a given product. It sounds rather well-defined: all process steps and all necessary ingredients are known in advance. And it seems linear: one process step’s output is the another step’s input. As long as you follow the recipe and put in the right ingredients […]

Post-factual innovation?

When I learned that the Oxford Dictionary had identified ‘post-truth’ as the Word of the Year 2016, I really felt like I was slapped in the face. For somebody with a passion for science and knowledge, it just hurts. But it is true, the one new concept that dominated public discourse in 2016 was that thing […]

Where did growth come from?

… or more precisely, where did the idea of growth come from? That’s one of the questions I’ve been fascinated with for a long time. And reading Joel Mokyr’s recent A Culture of Growth, I feel like getting closer to an answer. Before and after the Industrial Revolution With the benefit of historical hindsight, and at a […]

On the freedom and responsibility of science

The freedom of science is a highly valued and widely appreciated principle. Or so I thought – until Andy Borowitz reminded me of the contrary with his recent news satire in The New Yorker, in which he mocks the growing anti-knowledge attitude in some parts of the U.S. political establishment. Thus triggered to think twice, I’ll dwell a little […]