The Future Of Innovation Is A Wicked Matter. Here A Few

Mr Camilo Drago

The future of innovation as a discipline is a wicked matter.  Here A aew thoughts about the future of innovation, including why conservatives may punish innovators !

Jim Dator’s, University of Hawaii, says that no one can predict the future; but we can and should forecast ‘alternative futures’ in order to invent our ‘preferred future’ as the portion of the future that can be explained by past or present conditions is diminishing. In fact, novelties not experienced in the present are becoming increasingly important for explain the future. This situation of increasing uncertainty provides opportunities because it gives us the chance to influence the future – if we can understand the major factors of change, and envision our preferred future.

What then do we want the future of the innovation discipline to be? Are there trends supporting our desired futures?

A formal and consolidated management field such as Marketing?

Innovation knowledge is growing rapidly (+274.000 titles at Amazon.com, as more courses and degrees).

A strategic perspective key in most companies board’s?

Government, trade bodies and NGO are generating initiatives to put the innovation priority at the highest organizational level.

A useful and established management function for creating value through innovations?

As the innovation knowledge is progressing, it is increasing the numbers of experts looking for implementation within organizations.

A source of solutions to humanity’s problems?

There are multiple innovative social-cause initiatives being conducted worldwide.

A way of life, a ubiquitous creative culture, an attitude to change and uncertainty?

Companies, government, media, educators, even parents, are fostering both creativity and innovation values as good principles to live by.

We might doubt if these trends will be enough to take us to the preferred futures. Innovation is a wicked issue and there are also negative trends:

As the rate of change in the world is escalating, we can be sure that there will be developments beyond our current imagination, with unpredictable consequences for the innovation discipline.

If in the future most organisations become masters of innovation, being innovative (products) will be only be a minimum condition for competing, not a differentiator. Innovation passion for the sake of change will become irrelevant. The innovation buzzword and fad around it may pass away but the essence (value-addition) of the activity might remain.

The current financial crisis is an historical inflection point and will generate a large lasting effect not only in the economy, but in social and cultural development… including innovation (starting with a reduction of innovation investment for future years?)

Another collateral effect: As innovative financial instruments and practices are being criticized for contributing to the world’s financial disaster, people may become increasingly sceptical of the promise of win-win innovation, distrusting the only idea of innovative options, favouring old-fashion, down-to-earth “mattress” savings methods, not the innovative ones!

Who to blame when savings evaporate? When things go so wrong, some revenge must be expected. There are new risks for innovators and, in a world of empowered stakeholders, conservatives may punish innovators.

Article © 2009 Mr Camilo Drago. All rights reserved.

about the author...

Mr Camilo Drago

Mr Camilo Drago

affiliation:   Universidad Diego Portales

position:  Lecturer

country:  Chile

area of interest:  Innovation & Marketing Strategy

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