The Innovation Algorithm
I woke up the other day only to realize that I’m the stupid everyone else is with…
Call me Ishmael. Our obsessive quest for precision and certitude via all things digital is a great white whale that — like Ahab — we chase at our own peril. Of course, great white whales aren’t designed to be caught, only chased. But now — two generations later and well past the point of no return — we find that our ability to innovate in the overwhelming evidence of diminished performance across all social metrics is likewise compromised and greatly diminished.
We need to disabuse ourselves ASAP of the narcotic but tragic notion that innovation is a byproduct of technology, and that every problem will be solved as better technologies inspire better metrics, better methodologies, and better management decisions. This blind and backwards faith in better life through better technology inhibits and truncates our true ability to innovate in much the same manner that our massive inventories of time-saving devices now consume and steal so much of our precious time. As Dr. Phil might ask: “How’s it workin’ for ya?”
In response to the above, I’d like to re-introduce my formula for innovation, the same formula I introduced a couple of decades ago at a digital tech conference when it was already painfully apparent that we had surrendered our individual and collective futures to swarms of youthful, well-funded technologists who — predictably and without delay — converted the financial, media, marketing, and entertainment industries into ersatz extensions of global technology companies. So here’s my formula for innovation…
Ignorance Intent = Innovation.
Translated into less secular terms, the same formula might read…
Uncertainty Faith = Inspiration.
Both are predicated on our willingness to embrace what we don’t know as the path to wisdom. Ignorance, I argued at the conference, has much to recommend it, including an endless supply, its juxtaposition as the first step of every journey, and the lack of demand to drive up the price on the back end. Ignorance, it seems, is a much better place to start a journey than to end one.
Despite what those with vested interests in the vast, technology-driven knowledge industry may claim, few of the world’s intractable problems remain so for a lack of knowledge, a
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