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Stefan Endriss

CEMS - Community of European Management Schools and International Companies

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Is our age of innovation actually an age of stagnation?

Sure, there's been plenty of innovative ideas and solutions recently and over the past 20 years. The internet and, as an addition to it, mobile has brought us a lot of useful innovations that changed the way we live and do business. If you only think about how much easier our life and especially doing business has become through E-Mail and online banking for example. but this is the point: All the big innovations that took place over the last decades have been linked to IT, internet and mobile, while other areas of greatest importance see a surprising stagnation, especially if you take into account that todays computing power should accelerate innovations in these other fields too. Take the automobile and aircraft industry: We're basically driving the same cars (from a technological point of view) and flying in the same planes as we did fifty years ago. No doubt, there has been progress in safety, comfort and fuel consumption, but this seems to be slow development, what's lacking is any disruptive innovation. So, is a lot of the stuff thats labelled innovation actually "product development", which in my oppinion, usually doesn't qualify as innovation? How to foster disruptive innovations in these fields?


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  • Sep 29 2012: If you look at when the cars and planes were being changed, they were providing us with something we didn't have before. As of now, we can already go from one side of the planet to the other without stopping, so innovation in that area simply isn't needed. Internet and communications on the other hand, have provided us with a level of connection which allows us to get in contact with another person instantly, no matter where they are. We got something we didn't have before.

    Innovation is always happening. There is no "age of innovation". It happens where we need it in the same way stagnation happens in areas where innovation isn't needed.
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      Sep 29 2012: Indeed, and Internet is also a very new thing whereas stuff like cars and planes have been around for many decades.
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      Sep 30 2012: So what's the next great human innovation? The nets done,it's just a communication medium,it's not like you can jump in it and travel to the States like in the comic story of Nemesis and Torquemada from 2000ad,it's development is complete.We're moving into the electric era but we haven't got a clue how to power the big transportation units,will we shrink down to Eco-zones? Stefan pointed out a big glitch in the sustainable energy movement and going nuclear isn't actually a good idea,a few warships yes, but every ship? When we see major Airlines dumping their fleets onto the market then we will see how people will react if they have to take a ship somewhere,irrational as this may seem,no one has come up with a better option for air transport,we should've built a large complex dedicated to new material creation alongside the Hadron,i couldn't care less about particle physics if i have to learn how to sail.our current innovations are just that,current.It's the roads and the air that producers a countries wealth and we are facing the probability of losing the air,god we don't have enough land to produce the fuel for the current air traffic,anyone got any thoughts on this?

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