TED Conversations

CEMS - Community of European Management Schools and International Companies

This conversation is closed.

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?


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Oct 2 2012: When we see change in front of our eyes, it moves very slowly. But, that's not stagnation. You can watch a flower bloom in your garden but watching a time lapse film provides a more stunning perspective on the change that's happening. I agree with your point that lots of innovation is product development and lots of the product development is created just because it can be created - whereas innovation is more purposeful. Massive innovation happens at an ecosystem level where communities of people can co-create to serve the needs of the community and make it flourish. If you look closely at bio-technology, physical science, nano and even music - there's really quite a bit of stunning newness. Yes, we're still basically driving the same cars and flying the same planes. But, since we're also entering an era of massively reduced consumption - many innovations are going to be more virtual and not tangible. And, innovation may come from changes in behavior, e.g. massive simplicity

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.