Comment 64464

By Eric (registered) | Posted June 02, 2011 at 15:32:38

My sense is that when most people talk about innovation they either don't understand it or place little to no value on creating the conditions for it to take place. (By the way, I'm not meaning this to be a criticism of the author of this article. It's simply a general observation.)

Have you ever read Implications of a Systems Perspective for the Study of Creativity by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi? This is the best statement I know of for thinking about the conditions required for the cultivation of creativity. In short, if we're ever going to see a substantial increase in innovation we have to change a number of things in our society. Of those many things, we must for instance begin creativity enhancement programs in all the schools. Alas, this works against the testing mania imperatives of No Child Left Behind. It would also require investing substantial sums in teacher education, when it seems the country would rather invest in a new weapons. It will be resisted by dogmatic and conservative elements in some cases--after all, creativity is often associated with rejection of norms. Unlearning conservative psychological orientations (dogmatism, conventionalism, lack of openness to new experience, etc.) will be a huge uphill battle. And, in addition to the crime of spending money, increasing innovation society-wide requires a long term vision. (Did you know that the Netherlands is currently working with a 200 year out program to reduce carbon emissions? Long horizons like this are a near blasphemy in American society.)

Perhaps the best innovation we can make right now is in learning how to increase innovation. Does our culture have sufficient wisdom and intelligence to do this? I don't know.

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