Taking the emphasis off innovation

Roland Harwood questions where innovation is taking us:

You could argue that our most pressing global challenges – such as the financial crisis and climate change – are as a result of too much innovation, which lead to unsustainable growth with catastrophic results.

I was reminded of Sveiby’s recent focus on the downsides of innovation, which I blogged here.

Roland continues

Rather perhaps it is time that we rethink our desire for unfettered growth and relentless innovation and replace it with a more sophisticated approach to innovation which reflects the complexity and interconnectedness of the challenges we now face and the world we live in.

He goes on to make some excellent arguments for moving towards open systems as one way of getting to this point. I liked his point that the bigger and more complex a closed system is the more prone it wil be to chaos.

One way of interpreting Roland’s post is that he’s really arguing for openness being what we aim for, rather than innovation. That relates to something I wrote three years ago, when I speculated about taking the emphasis of innovation itself:

Instead, why not talk a little about the things you notice and care about, and listen a lot for what other people notice and care about. Once people talk about the concrete things of their experience, it’s actually pretty natural for ideas for improvement to emerge.


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