Creating A Culture Of Ideas

from the not-quite-that-easy dept

Nicholas Negroponte is rambling on about what it takes to create a culture of innovation and ideas. His basic argument is that you need to encourage differences of opinion. He points out that innovation is “innefficient… undisciplined, contrarian, and iconoclastic”, which aren’t things that most parents usually want to see in their children, or CEOs in their employees (many CEOs would disagree with this, though). However, it’s necessary for innovation. He points out that the US has been good at innovation because it has always acted as a melting pot of different people with different perspectives, and has a culture that doesn’t frown on failure as much as some others do – making it easier for people to take risks. He then suggests that we need to encourage this risk taking and take it even further. Up until this point, I understand what he’s saying, but then I start to have trouble with the conclusions he comes to. He says that innovation needs to become “precompetitive”, and suggests that it needs to come out of universities and associations of companies that are government funded. This seems to ignore the number of innovations that have come out of the competitive nature of companies. By letting companies build products and let the market weed out the good from the bad – while heavily rewarding the “winners”, a tremendous amount of innovation has ocurred in the US far outside the realms that he discusses. I don’t have a problem with university research or government support of big research projects – but I don’t believe that that’s where all the innovation comes from, either.

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Comments on “Creating A Culture Of Ideas”

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Mike (profile) says:

Re: Competition?

It’s a myth that Beta was “better” than VHS. There are plenty of articles on this subject. Here’s one talking about just a few of the “myths” concerning how the market picked the worse product.

Anyway, I never said that the market chose the best product at all. I just said that market forces do drive innovation. I think history supports that theory…

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