A Re-directional And An Eon Perspective On Innovation

Mr Jan P. Grundling

Any individual innovation act and all innovations should always be evaluated in terms of its potential and real contribution to the public good. This evaluation process entails a mental application in which the individual evaluates the value of the innovation idea to the current and the anticipated future situation. Based upon the outcome of the evaluation the individual decides whether to implement the innovative idea or not.

Hence, a critical factor often ignored in the innovation evaluation process, is that we are all infected by a condition known as the “Higher Order Syndrome”. Affected by this syndrome we unconditionally assume amongst others that complex life forms have preference over simpler life forms, and that complex life forms are more intelligent than simpler life forms. The net effect accumulates in a human centric biased innovation process – as Homo sapiens represents the most complex life form on earth - in which the final beneficiary is man and the final evaluation is made by man. Innovations are therefore not only made by man, but also serve the purposes of man. This bias is so strongly built-in that the whole innovation development process has become de-historicized and is preferred to be discussed as an “offspring” of the genetic evolutionary development process of Homo sapiens.

Whilst this approach may be necessary and even useful for the next few decades, the question arises whether this single innovation directional approach is sufficient for the next millenniums and eons when conditions on earth to sustain life continue to deteriorate? Will progress then still be defined in terms of greater complexity or will it be more appropriate to define progress in terms of intelligence moving to more simplistic systems that can survive with less – ultimately when earth dies - as in the case of modern technology where the trend is to make things smaller and simpler? Will it then not be possible to export special kinds of earth life forms even to other places in the universe where conditions demand less consumption of raw and survival materials?

Beginning to redirect innovations also in the opposite direction of understanding and creating intelligent simpler life forms and technologies could just affect the sustainable reproduction and growth of intelligent life on earth and the universe. Further, it will install an innovation approach which serves the interests of all life entities on earth and not only the self-interests of man.

Accompanying the re-directional approach, the adoption of an eonic (109 years) timeframe approach is considered crucial as change in any system normally tends to flow through predictable close change and statistical predictable contained change, to unknowable open-ended change which does not necessarily follows a contingency sequence. In this regard it is assumed that the short-term future will be primarily dominated by close and contained change from which consequences can be deducted. On the other hand, we can only foresee the real long-term future (millenniums and eons) as being open-ended change which will necessitates the establishment of speculative expert teams. These teams should be responsible to create and develop “Life Analysis Protocols”, scenarios and plans for the future and produce abstract innovative ideas on how to deal with the challenges of the far distant future.

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Article © 2009 Mr Jan P. Grundling. All rights reserved.

about the author...

Mr Jan P. Grundling

Mr Jan P. Grundling

affiliation:   Tshwane University Of Technology

position:  Head of the Centre for Entrepreneurship

country:  South Africa

area of interest:  Management of Innovation

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