The Future Of Innovation Without Psychological Inertia

Mag. Michael Dell

The future of innovation is … disruptive, interdisciplinary, colourful, fundamental change, new paradigms, a curved road, challenging, sustainable and ecological, without psychological inertia. It is full of creative people from different fields, who create higher customer value sharing the vision of contributing to a better world. They work in trans-disciplinary groups and – have fun! Any more dreams? Any more positivism? We should not forget – WE are those creative people, only WE can contribute to this positive view.

“Who knows what tomorrow brings?” I know that some of you reading those few words actually heard the voices of Jennifer Warnes and Joe Cocker, few of you even sang along, inaudibly – a kind of “mental karaoke”. So can I read your thoughts? No, I can’t. Is this foresight? No, it’s not. It’s empathy, metacognition and self-observation allowing people to understand how others might act.

Let’s focus on the future of new product development. It has a need for products, which are sustainable and environmentally friendly, more authentic and less “more of the same”, they have to simplify our daily lives and businesses.

2009 – the 150th anniversary of Darwin’s evolutionary theory. So what and how can WE learn from nature’s IQ? Nature creates outstanding “products” with definite uniqueness and no waste. Humankind still produces three ton cars moving 80 kilos of human luggage. But evolution in its innovation processes of some 100.000 years decided not to invent products carrying luggage, but produced highly efficient flyers, swimmers, walkers or wigglers.

One future scenario for new product development lies in the use of biomimetics, biomimicry or “bionics” (the amalgamation of biology and mechanics) as a creativity technique. Biomimetics is a highly inter- and trans-disciplinary science which helps engineers to understand structures and processes in nature and apply those findings to technology and new products.

In the future ecology will become a “sellable value” (even if, in the next few years, people will not be willing to pay more for ecologically friendly products). Product convergency will increase – products will co-evolve and merge together, based on evolutionary algorithms. In the end nobody will remember that the new product had “parents from different worlds”. We will see smart materials, biomaterials, re-growing product parts, self-adapting materials, things that think and communicate, all of them with a strong tendency towards mass customization.

To cope with this WE have to create new networks and teams; engineers working together with biologists, botanists and medical doctors. We need to learn each other’s languages and become much more flexible than today. We also need new forms of cross-company cooperation and cross-over organisations (particularly between economy and science), with ad hoc teams and the conscious integration of “visionary jesters”. This requires life long eclectic learning, the combination of different fields of knowledge, open-mindedness and - positivism. HAVE FUN INNOVATING THE FUTURE!

Article © 2009 Mag. Michael Dell. All rights reserved.

about the author...

Mag. Michael Dell

Mag. Michael Dell

affiliation:   Ratio Strategy & Innovation Consulting Gmbh

position:  CEO

country:  Austria

area of interest:  new product development

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