Issue 5 – Creative Destruction

download-issue-5Creative destruction.

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Profilbilde Anniken NordbyIn 1889, the chief of the US Office of Patents said that everything that is to be invented has been invented. This might be one of the most incorrect assumptions ever made about the future. More than a hundred years and thousands of innovations later we feel confident about the fact that most innovations are still to come.

Lately I have experienced that outside the world of innovation studies, the perception of innovation is quite different from what we are taught. Innovation is mainly understood as developing products for economic purposes. When economic gain is the main goal of innovators and entrepreneurs, the concept of innovation is reduced to a simple tool in the hands of capitalists. Before a new product or service is brought to the market the potential value is calculated. But seldom is the value of the potential disruptive powers taken into account. New ways of doing things make old ways and old knowledge redundant. This creative destruction is a natural part of the development cycle, and the ability to adapt to these changes is vital for the sustainability of modern society. The problem occurs when these powers result in products replacing perfectly good solutions and create consumer necessities far beyond real needs. An example of this may be when natural food is no longer good enough and has to be enhanced in order to be healthy for us, or when one third of consumers replace their functioning products just because a new model is released.

Our challenge is to understand and take advantage of the potentially disruptive powers of new innovations, accept the uncertainties and create new and sustainable solutions for the world. We have to be brave and dare to demand that innovation is not just used as a tool for economic growth. We need to interrupt bad routines from the past and create new groundbreaking knowledge and alternative responses to solve the challenges of today. Remember, for an invention to become an innovation it is not enough to come up with a good idea. We have to be brave enough to risk the uncertainty, implement the invention and be willing to embrace the changes that follow. This will ultimately lead us to achieving responsible innovation.

Anniken Nordby
Executive Editor
TIK MA Student