There is an ancient Indian parable of the ‘blind men and an elephant’, in which each one perceives the elephant differently. Just ask a room full of academics, entrepreneurs and policy makers to describe "innovation" and you will always get a different answer from each one.
Mapping the human genome took over 13 years and remains a milestone in collaborative human endeavor. A similar journey is currently underway in the field of innovation, as practitioners and thinkers from all over the world collaborate to rapidly advance our understanding of the true nature of innovation. This is the first in a series of posts as I set out on the quest to decipher the innovation code.
Business model innovation, disruptive innovation, radical innovation, social innovation, open innovation, frugal innovation and inclusive innovation and so on: there is now a veritable alphabet soup of innovation. The lines are blurred and there are many overlaps, but none of them truly describes the elephant!
Born in clusters, hotspots, and ecosystems – new stars are added to the innovation universe everyday. Add to it the fact that we live in a hyper connected world, the speed of innovation is now increasing exponentially. Is Singularity, as predicted by futurist Ray Kurzweil closer than we think?
Innovation is the new space race. The east has been steadily gaining ground as the west struggles to sustain its advantage. At stake, is the planet we call home.
Not surprisingly, all this has led to a burgeoning industry of measuring innovation. Today, there are more innovation indicators and measures, ratings and awards than the number of elephants left on the planet!
Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of this innovation boom is the role of culture. Is the European view of innovation a much more ‘social’ one than the American ‘winner takes all’ approach? If Switzerland has a risk-averse culture, how then does it rank as the world’s most innovative and competitive nation?
Follow me, as I unravel the jargon and embark on a journey to discover the true nature of innovation.