Blog Post

Is innovation bad for us?

Posted to Gurteen Knowledge-Log by David Gurteen on 28 May 2012



Is innovation bad for us?
WeblogGurteen Knowledge Log
Knowledge LetterAppears in the Gurteen Knowledge Letter issue: 143
Posted DateMonday 28 May 2012 18:44 GDT
Posted ByDavid Gurteen
Linkshttp://www.johnniemoore.com/blog/archives/003029.php ... 
http://www.sveiby.com/articles/CIP-TOC+Abstracts.pdf ... 
http://sveiby.com/articles/UnintendedconsequencesISPIMfinal. ... 
http://www.sveiby.com/articles/aboriginal_thought.html ... 
http://www.gurteen.com/gurteen/gurteen.nsf/id/challenging-th ... 
http://www.gurteen.com/gurteen/gurteen.nsf/id/treading-light ... 
http://youtu.be/rZ1kaQ-tM8M ... 
PeopleKarl-Erik Sveiby

I met with Karl-Erik Sveiby for a few beers while I was in Helsinki recently and was delighted to hear that he has just published a new book Challenging the Innovation Paradigm

At one point early in our conversation, I agreed with Karl-Erik that it was mainly innovation that had got the world into the mess its in today. To which he replied "Well if innovation got us into this mess what makes us think that more innovation will get us out of it?" An interesting point. Sounds like a potential great knowledge cafe conversation.

The problem with innovation is that there are often long term unintended and unforeseen consequences of that innovation. I am sure, for example, that the early technological pioneers of the industrial revolution did not think for one moment about the possibility of global warming.

You might also be interested in this paper of Karl-Erik's Unintended and Undesirable Consequences of Innovation

What is really interesting is what inspired Karl-Erik to think about this in the first place. It was his research into Aboriginal culture when he lived in Australia that resulted in an earlier book of his Travelling Lightly. He learnt that the Australian Aborigines knew very well the risks and advantages of innovation and that there was a darker side - the environmental and society; consequences of new products. Partly as a result of this awareness and taking responsibility for their community and those of other their civilisation lasted 40,000 years or more.

Here are some articles by Karl-Erik inspired by Aboriginal thought and also a video playlist I have created on his work on innovation.

If you are interested in Knowledge Management, the Knowledge Café or the role of conversation in organizational life then you my be interested in this online book I am writing on Conversational Leadership
David Gurteen

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