Managing “blade – Runner”

Mr Miloš Ebner

The future of innovation is in managing change, surprise and volatile, complex environment of the future. Multiethnic, multilingual, multicultural, multifocal, climate-changing and chaotic future described twenty years ago by Ridley Scott in his legendary Blade Runner.

It was stated for many times already that world in 1914 was much more »global« than today. At the same time, we can see lot of evidences that today’s situation on financial markets is pretty similar to that in 1929 and even more to one in 1873.

So, nothing new in the world! Basic rules are still valid and cyclic, “cause and consequence” patterns are still working. So, we have to observe and find (old) patterns in new things. We have to put new tools, new technologies, new ways of communication into same cause and consequence model that is cyclically emerge from ancient past till today.

Majority of us probably agree that bits, neurons and genes will be the building elements of the near future and that networks, biotech, nanotech, neurotech, clean-tech will shape our technological environment in times to come. Health care, longevity, security, clean and sustainable energy are themes that are already clearly emerging from any serious demographic, social or scientific analysis. However well know it is to us today, we do not know which new gates it will open in the future. On the other hand – do we need to know more than that?

For me the pattern is clear: we are (again) entering “the time of Revolution” and the only think we can be certain about the future is the uncertainty itself!

And yes, we already know enough – in such unpredictable, radical changing environment we need to develop ability to adapt fast, to manage change, to cope with surprise, to detect and use new possibilities as soon as possible.

To do that we need models for fast exchange of resources (people, capital, ideas…), global talent search networks, knowledge supply chains and knowledge engineering & sharing, as well as establishing collaborative virtual workspaces, collaborative learning and innovation networks, innovation alliances and pattern recognition models. For sustainable globalization we should strive towards diffusion of innovation and use of open innovation and business models. To cope with that kind of future, education system has to be radically changed and power of intellectual property rights has to be reduced for the benefit of human kind, as well as some other social and economical patterns have to be abolished or modified.

But above all: Radical Future needs right people! People, who can cope with changes: self-motivated, self-confident, self-initiative, flexible, energetic, individuals who know where and how to connect into networks but remain autonomous. People with “dual mind” of future researcher – technical and market-driven, realistic and creative, self-initiative individuals and good team players at the same time. More research managers than typical researchers of the past. People, who understand that knowledge and flexibility are the currency of the future. People, who can observe, communicate, collaborate and innovate in complex, fast changing environment.

Then and only then new perspectives will open and we will be able to say the same thing as applicant Roy in one of the last scenes of Blade-Runner: “I have seen things, you people wouldn’t believe…”!

Article © 2009 Mr Miloš Ebner. All rights reserved.

about the author...

Mr Miloš Ebner

Mr Miloš Ebner

affiliation:   Trimo Dd

position:  Director of R&D

country:  Slovenia

area of interest:  Innovation management

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