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Inspiration may be instant, innovation is less soInspiration may be instant, innovation is less so

Inspiration may be instant, innovation is less so

  This article on Frog Design's website (Slow Innovation: good ideas take a long time to perfect) is a good reminder for those of us who have a penchant for raging against the painfully, painfully slow rate at which innovation takes root in human systems. Unless there is catastrophic disruption (which gives rise to other kinds of problems that are even slower) most of the important changes we experience and for which we are working, will not be instant hits. Even more sobering, there are aspects of social/cultural change that are quite likely more sluggish than our adoption of new technology.

Milton Friesen
2 minute read
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Reposted from the Cardus After Hours blog (RIP).

 

This article on Frog Design's website (Slow Innovation: good ideas take a long time to perfect) is a good reminder for those of us who have a penchant for raging against the painfully, painfully slow rate at which innovation takes root in human systems. Unless there is catastrophic disruption (which gives rise to other kinds of problems that are even slower) most of the important changes we experience and for which we are working, will not be instant hits.

Like a new band that meets with "instant success" (after struggling through years of mind-numbing travel, set-up and take-down dullness, and unremarkable gigs), inspiration that immediately turns into innovation with wide adoption and impact is about as rare as good hair at Trump Tower or a Stanley Cup in Toronto.

Even more sobering, there are aspects of social/cultural change that are quite likely more sluggish than our adoption of new technology.

Welcome to the glaciated speed demon of culture change, a veritable circus of paint-drying wonder.

This assertion of slow adoption does seem to fly in the face of contemporary wisdom, wherein we are reminded often of how rapidly the world is changing (I've written my share of variations on that theme) and there is little doubt that contemporary society is changing with a briskness that isn't altogether common in the long view of human history.

But there may be hope.

When you can get things to mix, morph and replicate real change occurs and development accelerates. Witness this interesting article from Frog Design titled "When Ideas Have Sex" (you can read precursors in Scientific American and see Matt Ridley on TED Talks espousing similar things). The assertion is that exchange is the key. Sustained isolation decreases innovation. How the exchange of ideas and information via evolving forms of communication will impact broad cultural changes remains to be seen but early indications strongly suggest that it does lead-foot the process.

Just what super glacial speeds look like will only be seen in time. We can, meanwhile, experiment with plugging in a few more wires in an effort bump up the exchange rate and thus fuel the innovation, cultural and otherwise, that we seek.

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