After some recent #innochat debates (www.innochat.com) around innovation including the future of Nations, of the US, and of innovation itself and how it needs an organizing framework to work more efficiently, I wanted to dig a little deeper, to get my own head around all of this. We do have real problems in the world and we need to find solutions but something strange is happening and I was not sure I understood it. So I’ve been on a little investigative journey that is beginning to make some good sense, well at least to me.
A host of financial contagion has been heaped upon us progressively in recent years.
Our past business models are not sustaining us, to take us forward. We have made this ‘rod for our own backs’ by producing thousands of competent managers, risk-adverse not risk- taking managers, with our business leaders continually look over their shoulders or in the rear view mirror who have become short term in most of their actions. Governments still take ‘adversarial’ positions. Business still seeks short term results. The end result of much of the activities of the past decade have led us to build a ‘failure framework’, one more sustaining old model being layered on top of other equally out dated approaches, and not the ones that can shift us truly up a gear or two, into a new age of prosperity.
I would argue we are in a worryingly desperate situation, on a broader front than just products and sectors alone, when it comes to applying innovation. What I believe that does need tackling through innovation is at a higher level, at the society level, and this is where there is a truly ‘urgent’ need for fresh innovative thinking, to sow the seeds of real, lasting change. Products and sector change comes as a result of this shift of focus to the higher level of innovation engagement as it forms the ‘call to action’ framework.
I believe it is through social innovation we see the greatest call for change. We are faced with enormous challenges like aging populations, climate change, migration, social divides, chronic diseases, growing behavioral problems, diversity challenges in cities and countries, transitions into adulthood, addition, crime and punishment, learning disabilities, education inequality, conflicts and mutual resentment, rising long-term health related conditions, the effects of affluence and a greater search for happiness and community belonging. These are the truly ‘desperate’ areas of innovation need, that should hold our attention and we become galvanized behind to change- we need true innovation, innovations that alter our world for the better. Today much of what we do is simply incremental. Is this good enough, I for one don’t believe so?