Where Art And Literature Fuse With Science And Engineering

Where Art And Literature Fuse With Science And Engineering

Dr Adrian Gundy

A re-print of my original contribution to the book The Future of Innovation in 2009. You can read all the entries here, The Future of Innovation

Innovation is a word that sparks off great debate and discussion wherever it is mentioned in any place in the world. It means different things to different people, can be measured differently, and innovation success can be measured in many different ways. It is a word of great mystery, a word that creates some tension and division, as people use it to describe the different things that they wish to do. Today we have conflict, or least a divergence of opinion. As I reflect into the future, I see the same thing continuing.

So, am I really saying that innovation will not develop or change in the next 3 to 5 years? No, not all. The winners in innovation will be those people who can understand it enough to be able to use it in the workplace to solve problems and create opportunities. Innovation can be done by people, who are very highly educated, or with well-developed technical skills, or with people who have little or no education, in a formal sense, but they do require training to acquire the new innovation skill set. Future successes will be delivered through a potent mixture of different people with different expectations and experiences sharing together.

Where I think the conflict and disagreement of how innovation works will be most pronounced or seen is in the area of what we call ‘Open Innovation’ — the idea of sharing with others from outside of your organisation and your normal areas of work and influence. Already there are examples where this collaborative innovation has been very successful for example the Chinese motorcycle industry. However people often get hung up on nondisclosure agreements and intellectual property, and these are the barriers to open innovation — a lack of trust and missing personal synergies.

Some of these new open innovation opportunities may well be found in the collaboration of the Arts and Literature with Science and Engineering; or in the joining together of Business and the Community; Government and the Citizen. I suppose you could say it is the next stage development of PPP — Public Private Partnership, which has its fans and critics, its successes and its failures. The point is, it is when you meet and match people from different interests, geographies, histories and experiences, skill sets and expectations then you get the friction for creating ideas that genuinely take you to new and different places, and this is where the breakthrough innovation that creates enormous new wealth is to be found.

Some say it is in the area of business model design that is where innovation is developing. I see this aspect of innovation as providing the clues and pointers to the skills that we need to take innovation to this new level. But I believe it will be the fusion of business model and open innovation that will be the source of the new ground breaking, innovation breakthroughs.

Original Article © 2009 Dr Adrian Gundy. All rights reserved.