The Future Of Innovation ... Innovating For Sustainability

Dr. Edna Pasher

Only innovative thinking and innovative doing will make it possible for our civilization to survive. In these turbulent times it is clear that we need to re-invent our organizations and our businesses and our economic systems in order to survive.

Big problems need a very high level of innovation in order to be solved. High level of innovation cannot be achieved by individuals. It will take all of us to save us! It takes collaboration at a level we have not seen before. “The Tragedy of The Commons” can only be stopped through win-win solutions – where everybody understands the gains through the new way of doing things right. ("The Tragedy of the Commons" by HYPERLINK "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garrett_Hardin" \o "Garrett Hardin" Garrett Hardin first published in the journal HYPERLINK "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science_(journal)" \o "Science (journal)" Science in HYPERLINK "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1968" \o "1968" 1968 describes a HYPERLINK "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dilemma" \o "Dilemma" dilemma in which multiple individuals acting independently in their own self-interest can ultimately destroy a shared resource even where it is clear that it is not in anyone's long term interest for this to happen.)

For too many years we have left the economy to be led by “The Invisible Hand” which has become very greedy and corrupt because of lack of effective rules. We need to invent new rules and keep them! (“The invisible hand” is a HYPERLINK "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metaphor" \o "Metaphor" metaphor coined by the HYPERLINK "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economist" \o "Economist" economist HYPERLINK "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adam_Smith" \o "Adam Smith" Adam Smith who argued that, in a free market, an individual pursuing his own self-interest tends to also promote the good of his HYPERLINK "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Community" \o "Community" community as a whole through a principle that he called “the invisible hand”).

We must and we can stop “the tragedy of the commons” and the greed of “the invisible hand”! With information and communication technology (ICT) we have really become “a global village” (first coined by Marshall McLuhan) and it really takes a village to raise a child. We can no longer afford to just make sure that our children get the proper education but not a promise of fresh water and clean air! Innovative solutions will emerge out of “conversations on questions that matter” in “World Cafés”. (The World Café is an innovative yet simple methodology for hosting conversations. These conversations link and build on each other as people move between groups, cross-pollinate ideas, and discover new insights into the questions or issues that are most important for them. The World Café makes visible the collective intelligence of any group, thus increasing people’s capacity for effective action in pursuit of common aims.)

My vision for the future of innovation is that it emerges out of multiple perspective conversations in conversing families, conversing organizations, conversing communities, conversing cities, conversing regions, and a conversing world! Some conversations will be conducted face to face and others will be on-line dialogues. But they will all focus on how we can save the planet for future generations! This is the future of innovation worth inventing! Let`s behave as a real global village and re-invent the village conversations for sustainability. And where there is a will there is a way!

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Article © 2009 Dr. Edna Pasher. All rights reserved.

about the author...

Dr. Edna Pasher

Dr. Edna Pasher

affiliation:   Epa Edna Pasher Associates

position:  President

country:  Israel

area of interest:  Innovation Management, Sustainable Development

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