Is innovation bad for us?

Karl-Erik Sveiby has a new book out, Challenging the Innovation Paradigm, and here’s a four page pdf summary. It suggests that it’s only in recent generations that innovation has been generally regarded as a good thing and does some interesting digging around the many unfortunate unintended consequences of innovation. The chapter on financial innovation sounds like a pretty good case in point.

I found this other article at Sveiby’s site which appears to be related: Unintended and Undesirable Consequences of Innovation (pdf). The authors argue that

innovation research seems to be built on a fundamental value that “innovation is good”. Whether the value is characterised as fundamentalism or myopia, the outcome is the same: It limits the ability of decision makers and change agents to anticipate unintended undesirable consequences.

It pieces together quite an interesting table of what research there is on the downside of innovation.

The new book heads in the direction of proposing a more reflective approach to innovation, which makes lots of sense to me.

HT David Gurteen for this tweet.

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