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Applications of creativity and innovation

Nathaniel Barr, PhD

What is creativity, anyway?

“Creativity is the ability to produce work that is both novel and appropriate”

~ Sternberg & Lubart

Dean K. Simonton, Professor of Psychology, University of California

Cognitive ability to generate novel ideas that have value

An individual generates a wealth of ideas and then subjects these ideas to judgment.

Original- the idea must be novel/new

Adaptive- the idea must be received/adopted by others (most often, as having solved some problem)

Creativity: as “Original and Valued Idea”

Theodore Levitt (1925-2006)

American economist and a professor at the Harvard Business School.

Editor of the HBR

”Creativity is NOT Enough”

“The trouble with much of the advice business is getting today about the need to be more vigorously creative is, essentially, that its advocates have generally failed to distinguish between the relatively easy process of being creative in the abstract and the infinitely more difficult process of being innovationist in the concrete.” (p. 137)

The Trouble with “Creativity Advocates”

Invention

The action of coming up with an idea for something something new and tangible with the potential of being

Creativity:

Cognitive ability to produce ideas that are novel and useful (Simonton)

Cognitive ability to modify self-imposed constraints on our thinking (Ackoff and Vergara)

Innovation:

Physical Act of bringing a creative idea into reality through implementation (a 2nd act of creation); turning a creative idea into reality

Basic Definitions

Invention

New scientific or technical idea with the means of its embodiment accomplishment.

An idea only needs to be proven as workable.

Patent: a registered form of intellectual property that gives its owner the right to exclude others from making, using, selling an invention for a limited period of time.

Be novel, have utility, and be non-obvious.

Edison- holds 1093 US Patents

Patents: Evidence of Inventions

There is really very little shortage of creativity and of creative people in American business. The major problem is that so-called creative people often (though certainly not always) pass off on others the responsibility for getting down to brass tacks. They have plenty of ideas but little businesslike follow-through. They do not make the right kind of effort to help their ideas get a hearing and a try.” (p. 138)

“Why Ideas are Not Enough”

“Many people who are full of ideas simply do not understand how an organization must operate to get things done.”

Advocates of creativity must once and for all understand the pressing facts of the executive’s life: Every time an idea is submitted to him, it creates more problems for him – and he already has enough.” (P.141)

Parkinson’s Law: “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”

“Most of them (creative advocates) more or less lead a sort of one-man, self-employed existence in which there are few make- or-break postmortems of their activities. They live pretty much in autonomous isolation. Many of them, I suspect, have avoided life in the organization because they are incapable of submitting to its rigid discipline…”

Innovation refers to the actual introduction and use of the creative idea (in the economy?).

The event when an invention is ‘brought to the market’ either as a new product or a new production process used to produce for the market (Fagerberg 2005F, p 4).

More recently… the term has been expanded beyond ‘the economic market’ to other ‘markets’ (ex., social, artistic)

Innovation

Those who declare that a company will somehow grow and prosper merely by having more creative people… are dead wrong!!

Make ‘creative types’ responsible for implementation (and all of its details)

Specialized groups (w/in organizations) whose function is to receive ideas, work them out, and follow them through in the necessary manner.

Be conscious of the possible need or value of some system of making creativity yield more innovation

How to get from Creativity to Innovation?

Product innovation: A good or service that is new or significantly improved. This includes significant improvements in technical specifications, components and materials, software in the product, user friendliness or other functional characteristics. 

Process innovation: A new or significantly improved production or delivery method. This includes significant changes in techniques, equipment and/or software.

Marketing innovation: A new marketing method involving significant changes in product design or packaging, product placement, product promotion or pricing.

Organisational innovation: A new organisational method in business practices, workplace organisation or external relations.

Social innovation: A new solution to systemic social and environmental issues in support of social progress

Typology of “Innovation”

Incremental: utilizes your existing technology and increases value to the customer (features, design changes, etc.) within existing market

Ex., Iphone 11

Disruptive: also known as stealth innovation, involves applying new technology or processes to a current market

Ex., Uber

Architectural: taking the lessons, skills and overall technology and applying them within a different market

Ex., Viagra

Radical: gives birth to new industries (or swallows existing ones) and involves creating revolutionary technology

Ex., Airplane  

OECD- Categories of Innovation

Efficiency Innovations

Reduce the production and distribution cost of making things.

Example, Walmart’s retailing operation

Sustaining Innovations

Replace old products with new models, featuring incremental improvements.

Example, iPhones generations

Effect: Net neutral effect on jobs (no increase in demand across an industry); Moderate revenue performance improvement which tapers off

May produce products too sophisticated, expensive, and complicated for many customers

Disruptive Innovations

Christensen: Disruptive technologies as “simple, convenient-to-use innovations that initially are used by only unsophisticated customers at the low end of markets.”

Ex., Apple’s first personal computer, Netflix

Effect: Creates jobs (pulls more customers into a new market and then employs people to design, manufacture, distribute and service products)

Clayton Christensen (1997)

The Innovator’s Dilemma

The best of conventional good business practices can ultimately weaken and destroy a great firm

from “The Innovator’s Dilemma”, by Clayton M. Christensen, Harvard Business School Professor

IIt makes sense for an established firm to invest in efficiency/sustaining innovations; not disruptive ones.

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The Innovator’s Dilemma

“Disruptive technology” is usually dismissed out of hand by an industry’s established leaders until it was too late.

Large companies choose to overlook disruptive technologies until they become more attractive profit-wise. 

Why?

Disruptive technologies work by offering, at least initially, little in the way of performance, but plenty in terms of cheapness, convenience and ease of use.

As such, they appeal to a different class of customers, carving out new markets for themselves before going on to have the industrial Goliaths’ business for lunch.

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Where to invest in innovation?

Where should an established firm invest its money?

Efficiency/Sustaining innovations: To make new products that its best customers can use and that would improve the company’s profit margins” or

Disruptive innovations: To create worse products that none of its customers can use, that would wreck its profit margins.

The Innovator’s Dilemma: A company which is in an existing business and listening to its existing customers feels that there is no need for anything new.

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Understanding the innovator’s dilemma

““The Innovator’s Dilemma” is one of the most — if not the most — important books chronicling how innovation takes place, and why its common that market leaders and incumbents fail to seize the next wave of innovation in their respective industries.”

The most important excerpt in my opinion captures the key essence on the Innovator’s Dilemma:

Understanding the Innovator’s Dilemma

Understanding the innovator’s dilemma

“The reason [for why great companies failed] is that good management itself was the root cause. Managers played the game the way it’s supposed to be played. The very decision-making and resource allocation processes that are key to the success of established companies are the very processes that reject disruptive technologies: listening to customers; tracking competitors actions carefully; and investing resources to design and build higher-performance, higher-quality products that will yield greater profit. These are the reasons why great firms stumbled or failed when confronted with disruptive technology change.”

Understanding the Innovator’s Dilemma

Understanding the innovator’s dilemma

“Successful companies want their resources to be focused on activities that address customers’ needs, that promise higher profits, that are technologically feasible, and that help them play in substantial markets. Yet, to expect the processes that accomplish those things also to do something like nurturing disruptive technologies – to focus resources on proposals that customers reject, that offer lower profit, that underperform existing technologies and can only be sold in insignificant markets– is akin to flapping one’s arms with wings strapped to them in an attempt to fly. Such expectations involve fighting some fundamental tendencies about the way successful organizations work and about how their performance is evaluated.”

Understanding the Innovator’s Dilemma

The bias against creativity

“People often reject creative ideas, even when espousing creativity as a desired goal. To explain this paradox, we propose that people can hold a bias against creativity that is not necessarily overt and that is activated when people experience a motivation to reduce uncertainty”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22127366/

Why experts reject creativity

“In 1997, Clayton Christensen coined the term “the Innovator’s Dilemma” to describe the choice companies face between incrementally improving their core business (perfecting old ideas) and embracing emerging markets that could upend their core business (investing in new ideas).

But what if the innovator’s dilemma is part of something bigger—a creator’s dilemma, an innate bias against novelty?

Indeed, it turns out that our aversion to new ideas touches more than technology companies. It affects entertainment executives deciding between new projects, managers choosing between potential projects or employees, and teachers assessing conformist versus non-conformist children. It is a bias against the new. The brain is hardwired to distrust creativity.”

https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/10/why-new-ideas-fail/381275/

fourth industrial revolution

Applications

Week 4

ourworldindata.org

Homo Sapiens evolved to develop more ‘cognitively sophisticated modes of thought (aka., behavioural modernity)

Developed a suite of behavioural and cognitive traits; including, abstract thinking, planning, symbolic behavior, shared social understandings

Allows for ‘group coordination’

Planning, Task division, Future scenarios, Rational decision-making

Around 50,000 years ago

“Unlike previous eras, when stasis dominated, innovation is now the essence of culture, with change being measured in millennia rather than hundreds of millennia.

Known as the Upper Paleolithic Revolution, this collective archaeological signal is unmistakable evidence of the modern human mind at work.”

-Leakey, 1984

8

“During the 19th century, the pace of technological progress was equal to that of the ten centuries that came before it.

Advancement in the first two decades of the 20th century matched that of the entire nineteenth century. Today significant technological transformations take just a few years.”

Ray Kurzweil

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The Fourth Industrial Revolution and AI

https://www.ubs.com/microsites/artificial-intelligence/en/new-dawn.html

Value is a composite score based on several questions (i.e. how hard is the website working for you; how much expertise does the website have…etc.)

Perceived Value = Do you believe this is a high quality service? Is this a service that you would want to use? What would you be willing to pay for this service? Would other people approve of this service?

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HEADING: 2030 COVFEFE

HEADING: 2030 COVFEFE

HEADING: 2030 COVFEFE

HEADING: 2030 COVFEFE

WATER & STEAM

New steam and water-driven technologies replace human and animal labor, amassing workers in factories instead of singular shops

Impact:

Average income and population experience sustained growth

Movement of goods, services, people, ideas increases significantly

Best average speed goes from 10mph (horses and wind) to 65mph (steam train) and 35 (steam ship).

The First Industrial Revolution (1760s-1840s)

Electricity & Rapid Industrialization

Electricity, internal combustion engines, and mass production

IC Engines, electricity, telephones, interchangeable parts, (Bessemer Process) steel replaces iron

Automobiles, ship-building, machine tools, engines, turbines

Impact:

Income and population experience sustained growth (again)

Movement of goods, services, people, ideas increases significantly (again)

Massive Intensification of Production and Manufacturing

Second Industrial Revolution (1870s- 1910s)

Computer or digital revolution

Catalyzed by the development of semiconductors, mainframe computing (1960s), personal computing (1970s and 80s) and the internet (1990s).

Impact:

Things move instantly

World becomes ‘flat’; fully-integrated global markets

Amongst other things

Third Industrial Revolution (1960s to 2000s)

FUSION of New Technologies and their INTERACTION across the Physical, Digital, and Biological Domains

4.0 is different in 3 ways:

Velocity: Evolving at an exponential rather than linear pace. Tech begets ever more capable tech.

Breadth and depth: Unprecedented paradigm shifts ACROSS the economy, business, society, and individually. It is not only changing the “what” and the “how” of doing things but also “who” we are.

Systems Impact: It involves the transformation of entire systems, across (and within) countries, companies, industries and society as a whole.

Fourth Industrial Revolution (2000 to ??)

Autonomous Vehicles

Cars, drones, etc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2rBzJXLem8&t=636s

3D Printing

Reproductive/manufacturing capabilities

Advanced Robotics

Connections b/w humans and machines; bio-mimicry, nanotechnology

Human-Machine collaborations

New Materials

nanomaterials (ex., graphene)- 200 times stronger than steel; a million times thinner than a human hair, and an efficient conductor of heat and electricity

Megatrend: The Physical

Internet of Things: relationship between things and people that is made possible by connected platforms

Sensors & Remote Monitoring

Blockchain

Bitcoin

Uber

Facebook

Alibaba

AirBnB

What’s worth owning? The Asset? Or the Platform?

Megatrends: The Digital

Application of Technology in the Biological Realm

Human Genome Project- Sequencing the human genome

Synthetic biology- ability to customize organisms by writing DNA (ex., CRISPR/CAS9 method of gene editing)

Xenobots

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zVG8wptOOI

Megatrends: The Biological

“There is someone alive today who will live to be 1,000 years old”.

Aubrey de Grey, regenerative medicine,

Yuval Noah Harari (2017). Homo Deus

The possibility of the replacement of humankind with the “homo deus” (human god) endowed with abilities such as eternal (given technological implants, upgrades, and integration).

“What will happen to society, politics and daily life when non-conscious but highly intelligent algorithms know us better than we know ourselves?”

Super-Humans? Ex-Machina?

Projected likelihood of occurring by 2025:

The First Robotic Pharmacist in the US (86.5%)

The first 3-D Printed Car in Production (84.1%)

The first implantable mobile phone available commercially (81.7%)

The first transplant of a 3D printed liver (76.4%)

The first AI machine on a corporate board of directors (45.2%)

http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GAC15_Technological_Tipping_Points_report_2015.pdf

Tipping Points?

“We stand on the brink of a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another.”

-Klaus Schwab

Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum Geneva

24

The Fourth Industrial Revolution

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/01/the-fourth-industrial-revolution-what-it-means-and-how-to-respond/

How does waiting time and operational transparency change the perceived value of a service?

24

HBR- Ai for the real world

Process automation- “the most common type was the automation of digital and physical tasks—typically back-office administrative and financial activities—using robotic process automation technologies”

e.g. data transfer from email into records, replacing lost credit cards, using NLP to extract provisions

Cognitive Insight- “second most common type of project in our study used algorithms to detect patterns in vast volumes of data and interpret their meaning”

e.g. purchase predictions, target ads, identify fraud

Cognitive Engagement- “Projects that engage employees and customers using natural language processing chatbots, intelligent agents, and machine learning were the least common type in our study ”

e.g. customer service chatbots, recommendation engines/personalization

https://hbr.org/2018/01/artificial-intelligence-for-the-real-world

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Displaced Employees

What happens if robots take the jobs? The impact of emerging technologies on employment and public policy

Value is a composite score based on several questions (i.e. how hard is the website working for you; how much expertise does the website have…etc.)

Perceived Value = Do you believe this is a high quality service? Is this a service that you would want to use? What would you be willing to pay for this service? Would other people approve of this service?

26

27

Augmented Employees

Resistance Is Futile: Embracing the Era of the Augmented Worker

Value is a composite score based on several questions (i.e. how hard is the website working for you; how much expertise does the website have…etc.)

Perceived Value = Do you believe this is a high quality service? Is this a service that you would want to use? What would you be willing to pay for this service? Would other people approve of this service?

27

“…isn’t a race to the finish, but rather it’s an uncertain journey with neither roadmap nor prescribed end point…

We must continue to experiment, measure, and innovate.”

-Nathaniel Barr and Kelly Peters

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Continual and Rapid Innovation

Resistance Is Futile: Embracing the Era of the Augmented Worker

How does waiting time and operational transparency change the perceived value of a service?

28

“Augmented workers”: the use of technology to improve how human workers do a job.

Integrated: seamless part of a workers workflow/environment

Assistive: allow workers to perform more specialized task with a higher degree of care and certainty.

Technological Outsourcing of repetitive, strenuous and/or basic logic based tasks

Ex,. Radiofrequency Identification (RFID) technology/blockchain for supply chain optimization

What are the human skills that matter now?

Critical thinking, judgement, creativity (WEF’s Futures of Job Report for 2020)

Skills that Matter in the 4th: Rise of A.I. and the Augmented Worker

The Future of Jobs and Skills
WEF

 In many industries and countries, the most in-demand occupations or specialties did not exist 10 or even five years ago, and the pace of change is set to accelerate.

By one popular estimate, 65% of children entering primary school today will ultimately end up working in completely new job types that don’t yet exist.1 

https://thoughtleadership.rbc.com/the-coming-creativity-boom-how-human-ingenuity-will-power-the-2020s/?utm_medium=referral&utm_source=dm&utm_campaign=special+report

The new “it” skill

“Welcome to the Soaring ‘20s, where creativity is the new “it” skill.

As Canada emerges from the COVID-19 crisis and enters a “two-dose summer,” we’re coming back together in workplaces, coffee shops and restaurant patios. There’s a palpable excitement in the air, and an opportunity: to harness this energy to rethink and rebuild in a new era of creativity.

The pandemic transformed the economy and disrupted every aspect of our lives. It also unleashed a remarkable wave of creativity.”

4th industrial revolution

“The world was already on the cusp of a new creative era when the pandemic erupted. The key elements of the Fourth Industrial Revolution—automation and digitization—sparked an unprecedented opportunity to create. Individuals were free to take more risks, and businesses were more open to diverse ways of thinking and doing. Virtual reality, self-driving cars and remote surgery—all once the domain of science-fiction—were shepherded into reality.”

“LinkedIn data from more than 600 million professionals and 20 million jobs revealed creativity was the skill most in demand in 2019 and 2020.”

An age of ideas

“As we charge forward into the 2020s, Canada faces some epic challenges. The pandemic highlighted all that is not well within our borders: the broken structure of our long-term care homes, the disproportionate childcare burden on women, racial health and economic disparities, and the challenges of coordinating a country-wide response to an emergency. We cannot look away now. Instead, with fresh eyes, we must embrace the new possibilities that have opened up on a mass scale, including telehealth, remote education, and flexible work arrangements—and the new talent that we could draw in. We are in the early stages of a creative transformation of our economy and society. The COVID crisis, like those that have come before it, shattered our assumptions about how the world works and forced society to embrace experiments and reorganize in a new way. By promoting creativity as a key skill within our schools and workplaces in the post-pandemic world, we can shift into an exciting Age of Ideas that tackles Canada’s most pressing problems.”

Anthropocene

Applications

Week 8

Are things getting better or worse?

Are things getting better or worse?

What do you think is a major factor in whether people think the world is getting better or worse around the globe?

Are things getting better or worse?

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/07/23/are-things-getting-better-or-worse

Worldwide, People Divided on Whether Life Today Is Better Than in the Past

Are things getting better or worse?

“Memory is selective, history is partial, and youth is a golden age. For all these reasons, our intuitive comparisons between the past and the present are unreliable. Many Americans living in 1967 might well have thought that life had been better in 1917.

Nor is this just an American inclination. In “Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress,” the cognitive scientist Steven Pinker looks at recent studies and finds that majorities in fourteen countries—Australia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Norway, Singapore, Sweden, Thailand, the U.A.E., and the United States—believe that the world is getting worse rather than better. (China is the only large country in which a majority expresses optimism.) “This bleak assessment of the state of the world is wrong,” Pinker writes—and not just a little wrong but “wrong wrong, flat-earth wrong.””

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/07/23/are-things-getting-better-or-worse

Are things getting better or worse?

“Because our ideas about human progress are so vague, it’s tempting to think they don’t matter. But “Is life getting better or worse?” may be a dorm-room debate with consequences. It has affected our politics, Pinker says, encouraging voters to elect unproved leaders “with a dark vision of the current moment.” He quotes from Donald Trump’s Inaugural Address, in which the President bemoaned “mothers and children trapped in poverty . . . an education system which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge . . . and the crime, and the gangs, and the drugs.” In fact, poverty, crime, and drug abuse are declining in America, and our educational system, though flawed, is one of the best in the world. Pessimism can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. By believing that the world is getting worse, Pinker argues, we can make it so.”

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/07/23/are-things-getting-better-or-worse

ourworldindata.org

“D’Où Venons Nous? Que Sommes Nous? Où Allons Nous?”

“Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?”

-Paul Gaugin

WHAT ARE WE?

“Humans are animals that specialize in thinking and knowing, and our extraordinary cognitive abilities have transformed every aspect of our lives.

In contrast to our chimpanzee cousins and Stone Age ancestors, we are complex political, economic, scientific and artistic creatures, living in a vast range of habitats, many of which are our own creation.”

Cecelia Hayes

WHERE DO WE COME FROM?

Homo Sapiens evolved to develop more ‘cognitively sophisticated modes of thought (aka., behavioural modernity)

Developed a suite of behavioural and cognitive traits; including, abstract thinking, planning, symbolic behavior, shared social understandings

Allows for ‘group coordination’

Planning, Task division, Future scenarios, Rational decision-making

Around 50,000 years ago

“Unlike previous eras, when stasis dominated, innovation is now the essence of culture, with change being measured in millennia rather than hundreds of millennia.

Known as the Upper Paleolithic Revolution, this collective archaeological signal is unmistakable evidence of the modern human mind at work.”

-Leakey, 1984

16

Change in the way we think

“the capacity to shift between convergent and divergent or explicit and implicit modes of thought…

…the emergence of meta-cognition enabled our ancestors to reflect on and even override their own nature.”

Gabora & Kaufman, 2010, p. 18

Isaac Newton in 1676: “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”

“From the first chipped stone to the first smelted iron took nearly 3 million years; from the first iron to the hydrogen bomb took only 3,000.”

-Ronald Wright

19

“During the 19th century, the pace of technological progress was equal to that of the ten centuries that came before it.

Advancement in the first two decades of the 20th century matched that of the entire nineteenth century. Today significant technological transformations take just a few years.”

Ray Kurzweil

What explains the rise of humans?

https://www.ted.com/talks/yuval_noah_harari_what_explains_the_rise_of_humans/discussion?rss=172BB350-0207

Yuval Noah Harari

Seventy thousand years ago, our human ancestors were insignificant animals, just minding their own business in a corner of Africa with all the other animals. But now, few would disagree that humans dominate planet Earth; we’ve spread to every continent, and our actions determine the fate of other animals (and possibly Earth itself). How did we get from there to here? Historian Yuval Noah Harari suggests a surprising reason for the rise of humanity.

What explains the rise of humans?

“Usually, we look for the difference between us and all the other animals on the individual level. We want to believe — I want to believe — that there is something special about me, about my body, about my brain, that makes me so superior to a dog or a pig, or a chimpanzee. But the truth is that, on the individual level, I’m embarrassingly similar to a chimpanzee. And if you take me and a chimpanzee and put us together on some lonely island, and we had to struggle for survival to see who survives better, I would definitely place my bet on the chimpanzee, not on myself.”

What explains the rise of humans?

“The real difference between humans and all other animals is not on the individual level; it’s on the collective level. Humans control the planet because they are the only animals that can cooperate both flexibly and in very large numbers….

Other animals, like the social mammals — the wolves, the elephants, the dolphins, the chimpanzees — they can cooperate much more flexibly, but they do so only in small numbers, because cooperation among chimpanzees is based on intimate knowledge, one of the other. I’m a chimpanzee and you’re a chimpanzee, and I want to cooperate with you. I need to know you personally.  ”

What explains the rise of humans?

“The only animal that can combine the two abilities together and cooperate both flexibly and still do so in very large numbers is us, Homo sapiens. One versus one, or even 10 versus 10, chimpanzees might be better than us. But, if you pit 1,000 humans against 1,000 chimpanzees, the humans will win easily, for the simple reason that a thousand chimpanzees cannot cooperate at all. And if you now try to cram 100,000 chimpanzees into Oxford Street, or into Wembley Stadium, or Tienanmen Square or the Vatican, you will get chaos, complete chaos. Just imagine Wembley Stadium with 100,000 chimpanzees. Complete madness.”

What explains the rise of humans?

“We humans control the world because we live in a dual reality. All other animals live in an objective reality. Their reality consists of objective entities, like rivers and trees and lions and elephants. We humans, we also live in an objective reality. In our world, too, there are rivers and trees and lions and elephants. But over the centuries, we have constructed on top of this objective reality a second layer of fictional reality, a reality made of fictional entities, like nations, like gods, like money, like corporations. And what is amazing is that as history unfolded, this fictional reality became more and more powerful so that today, the most powerful forces in the world are these fictional entities.”

What explains the rise of humans?

“Today, the very survival of rivers and trees and lions and elephants depends on the decisions and wishes of fictional entities, like the United States, like Google, like the World Bank — entities that exist only in our own imagination.”

Great acceleration/anthropocene

‘The Great Acceleration’: a sharp increase in population, economic activity, and human pressures on Earth since 1950 (Steffen et al., 2015)

‘The Anthropocene’: the current post-industrial geologic epoch in which the dominant feature of the planet is human impact (see Steffen, Grinevald, Crutzen, & McNeill, 2011)

http://www.existential-risk.org/concept.pdf

“Although it is often difficult to assess the probability of existential risks, there are many reasons to suppose that the total such risk confronting humanity over the next few centuries is significant. Estimates of 10–20 per cent total existential risk in this century are fairly typical among those who have examined the issue, though inevitably such estimates rely heavily on subjective judgment.”

Challenges of the present

“the future of everything we have accomplished since our intelligence evolved depends on the wisdom of our actions over the next few years”

“Earth has grown too small to forgive us any big mistakes”

-Ronald Wright, A Short History of Progress

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Connecting Research on Human Reason to the Challenges of the Anthropocene

George Miller: “most urgent problems of our world today are the problems we have made for ourselves … They are human problems whose solutions will require us to change our behavior and our social institutions” (p. 1063).

Connecting Research on Human Reason to the Challenges of the Anthropocene

We are unlikely to effectively solve global problems unless we truly understand their ultimate source: the human mind.

In our view, to survive and flourish in the Anthropocene, we must look inward. In an era defined by human impact, the most pressing questions of this time are about ourselves.

Questions to ponder…

Is the same intellect that propelled us this far able to solve the problems we’ve created?

How do your expertise and interests align with these problems?

How can you align your career goals with humanity’s needs?

How can we cooperate?

Demand for creativity and innovation

Nathaniel Barr, PhD

What is creativity, anyway?

“Creativity is the ability to produce work that is both novel and appropriate”

~ Sternberg & Lubart

Theodore Levitt (1925-2006)

American economist and a professor at the Harvard Business School.

Editor of the HBR

”Creativity is NOT Enough”

“The trouble with much of the advice business is getting today about the need to be more vigorously creative is, essentially, that its advocates have generally failed to distinguish between the relatively easy process of being creative in the abstract and the infinitely more difficult process of being innovationist in the concrete.” (p. 137)

The Trouble with “Creativity Advocates”

There is really very little shortage of creativity and of creative people in American business. The major problem is that so-called creative people often (though certainly not always) pass off on others the responsibility for getting down to brass tacks. They have plenty of ideas but little businesslike follow-through. They do not make the right kind of effort to help their ideas get a hearing and a try.” (p. 138)

“Why Ideas are Not Enough”

Efficiency Innovations

Reduce the production and distribution cost of making things.

Example, Walmart’s retailing operation

Sustaining Innovations

Replace old products with new models, featuring incremental improvements.

Example, iPhones generations

Effect: Net neutral effect on jobs (no increase in demand across an industry); Moderate revenue performance improvement which tapers off

May produce products too sophisticated, expensive, and complicated for many customers

Disruptive Innovations

Christensen: Disruptive technologies as “simple, convenient-to-use innovations that initially are used by only unsophisticated customers at the low end of markets.”

Ex., Apple’s first personal computer, Netflix

Effect: Creates jobs (pulls more customers into a new market and then employs people to design, manufacture, distribute and service products)

Clayton Christensen (1997)

Understanding the innovator’s dilemma

““The Innovator’s Dilemma” is one of the most — if not the most — important books chronicling how innovation takes place, and why its common that market leaders and incumbents fail to seize the next wave of innovation in their respective industries.”

The most important excerpt in my opinion captures the key essence on the Innovator’s Dilemma:

Understanding the Innovator’s Dilemma

Understanding the innovator’s dilemma

“The reason [for why great companies failed] is that good management itself was the root cause. Managers played the game the way it’s supposed to be played. The very decision-making and resource allocation processes that are key to the success of established companies are the very processes that reject disruptive technologies: listening to customers; tracking competitors actions carefully; and investing resources to design and build higher-performance, higher-quality products that will yield greater profit. These are the reasons why great firms stumbled or failed when confronted with disruptive technology change.”

Understanding the Innovator’s Dilemma

Understanding the innovator’s dilemma

“Successful companies want their resources to be focused on activities that address customers’ needs, that promise higher profits, that are technologically feasible, and that help them play in substantial markets. Yet, to expect the processes that accomplish those things also to do something like nurturing disruptive technologies – to focus resources on proposals that customers reject, that offer lower profit, that underperform existing technologies and can only be sold in insignificant markets– is akin to flapping one’s arms with wings strapped to them in an attempt to fly. Such expectations involve fighting some fundamental tendencies about the way successful organizations work and about how their performance is evaluated.”

Understanding the Innovator’s Dilemma

Organizational demand

To either build the next disruptive company (or buy it…)

2 Contradictions of Capitalism

Inevitable loss of consumer: As capitalists modernize and automate, they pay workers less and less, which eliminates the consumers (aka. The worker) needed to buy his products

Monopoly: As capitalists compete against each other, losers are relegated to the proletariat class until there is only 1 capitalist left.

Thus, Capitalism’s collapse is inevitable.

Marx on Capitalism’s Contradiction and Collapse

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Creative destruction (aka. Schumpeter’s gale):

Joseph Schumpeter, Austrian Political Economist (1883-1950)

“Gale of creative destruction“: “process of industrial mutation that incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one”.

New players introduce innovations that erode the ‘market’ of old firms (profits and position); old firms either die or succumb to the pressure of new innovation

Innovation creates ‘mutations’ that ‘incessantly revolutionize’ the economic structure from within; incessantly destroying the old one, and incessantly creating the new one.

Schumpeter: Creative Destruction, and Renewal in Capitalist Systems

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FUSION of New Technologies and their INTERACTION across the Physical, Digital, and Biological Domains

4.0 is different in 3 ways:

Velocity: Evolving at an exponential rather than linear pace. Tech begets ever more capable tech.

Breadth and depth: Unprecedented paradigm shifts ACROSS the economy, business, society, and individually. It is not only changing the “what” and the “how” of doing things but also “who” we are.

Systems Impact: It involves the transformation of entire systems, across (and within) countries, companies, industries and society as a whole.

Fourth Industrial Revolution (2000 to ??)

“…isn’t a race to the finish, but rather it’s an uncertain journey with neither roadmap nor prescribed end point…

We must continue to experiment, measure, and innovate.”

-Nathaniel Barr and Kelly Peters

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Continual and Rapid Innovation

Resistance Is Futile: Embracing the Era of the Augmented Worker

How does waiting time and operational transparency change the perceived value of a service?

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“Over the past decade, a set of ground-breaking, emerging technologies have signalled the start of the Fourth Industrial Revolution… By 2025, the capabilities of machines and algorithms will be more broadly employed than in previous years… The augmentation of work will disrupt the employment prospects of workers across a broad range of industries and geographies…

This report projects that in the mid-term, job destruction will most likely be offset by job growth in the ‘jobs of tomorrow’…”

“We find ourselves at a defining moment: the decisions and choices we make today will determine the course of entire generations’ lives and livelihoods. We have the tools at our disposal. The bounty of technological innovation which defines our current era can be leveraged to unleash human potential. We have the means to reskill and upskill individuals in unprecedented numbers, to deploy precision safety nets which protect displaced workers from destitution, and to create bespoke maps which orient displaced workers towards the jobs of tomorrow where they will be able to thrive.”

https://thoughtleadership.rbc.com/the-coming-creativity-boom-how-human-ingenuity-will-power-the-2020s/?utm_medium=referral&utm_source=dm&utm_campaign=special+report

4th industrial revolution

“The world was already on the cusp of a new creative era when the pandemic erupted. The key elements of the Fourth Industrial Revolution—automation and digitization—sparked an unprecedented opportunity to create. Individuals were free to take more risks, and businesses were more open to diverse ways of thinking and doing. Virtual reality, self-driving cars and remote surgery—all once the domain of science-fiction—were shepherded into reality.”

“LinkedIn data from more than 600 million professionals and 20 million jobs revealed creativity was the skill most in demand in 2019 and 2020.”

societal demand

To improve living conditions now and secure the future for tomorrow…

“After years of growing income inequality, concerns about technology-driven displacement of jobs, and rising societal discord globally, the combined health and economic shocks of 2020 have put economies into freefall, disrupted labour markets and fully revealed the inadequacies of our social contracts. Millions of individuals globally have lost their livelihoods and millions more are at risk from the global recession, structural change to the economy and further automation. Additionally, the pandemic and the subsequent recession have impacted most those communities which were already at a disadvantage.”

“However, the efforts to support those affected by the current crisis lag behind the speed of disruption. It is now urgent to enact a Global Reset towards a socio-economic system that is more fair, sustainable and equitable, one where social mobility is reinvigorated, social cohesion restored, and economic prosperity is compatible with a healthy planet. If this opportunity is missed, we will face lost generations of adults and youth who will be raised into growing inequality, discord and lost potential.”

Are things getting better or worse?

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/07/23/are-things-getting-better-or-worse

Worldwide, People Divided on Whether Life Today Is Better Than in the Past

Great acceleration/anthropocene

‘The Great Acceleration’: a sharp increase in population, economic activity, and human pressures on Earth since 1950 (Steffen et al., 2015)

‘The Anthropocene’: the current post-industrial geologic epoch in which the dominant feature of the planet is human impact (see Steffen, Grinevald, Crutzen, & McNeill, 2011)

http://www.existential-risk.org/concept.pdf

“Although it is often difficult to assess the probability of existential risks, there are many reasons to suppose that the total such risk confronting humanity over the next few centuries is significant. Estimates of 10–20 per cent total existential risk in this century are fairly typical among those who have examined the issue, though inevitably such estimates rely heavily on subjective judgment.”

https://thoughtleadership.rbc.com/the-coming-creativity-boom-how-human-ingenuity-will-power-the-2020s/?utm_medium=referral&utm_source=dm&utm_campaign=special+report

The new “it” skill

“Welcome to the Soaring ‘20s, where creativity is the new “it” skill.

As Canada emerges from the COVID-19 crisis and enters a “two-dose summer,” we’re coming back together in workplaces, coffee shops and restaurant patios. There’s a palpable excitement in the air, and an opportunity: to harness this energy to rethink and rebuild in a new era of creativity.

The pandemic transformed the economy and disrupted every aspect of our lives. It also unleashed a remarkable wave of creativity.”

An age of ideas

“As we charge forward into the 2020s, Canada faces some epic challenges. The pandemic highlighted all that is not well within our borders: the broken structure of our long-term care homes, the disproportionate childcare burden on women, racial health and economic disparities, and the challenges of coordinating a country-wide response to an emergency. We cannot look away now. Instead, with fresh eyes, we must embrace the new possibilities that have opened up on a mass scale, including telehealth, remote education, and flexible work arrangements—and the new talent that we could draw in. We are in the early stages of a creative transformation of our economy and society. The COVID crisis, like those that have come before it, shattered our assumptions about how the world works and forced society to embrace experiments and reorganize in a new way. By promoting creativity as a key skill within our schools and workplaces in the post-pandemic world, we can shift into an exciting Age of Ideas that tackles Canada’s most pressing problems.”

Individual demand

To make a living and make a difference…

Why did you take these courses?

More importantly, what are you trying to do with them?

What’s to come

How to make a living and how to make a difference…

-Characteristics and Journey of the Innovator

-Role Models and Mentors: Observing Creativity and Innovation in Action

-Creating Connections: Networks and Building Momentum

-Projecting Your Profile

Creativity Assignment:

Question 1:

Explain the key differences between creativity and innovation and consider why innovation is often considered more difficult to achieve than creativity. (5 marks)

Question 2:

Compare and contrast the differences between Marx’s views on the contradictions of capitalism and Schumpeter’s views on creative destruction, with a focus on what it means for innovation, the economy, and society. (5 marks)

Question 3:

Describe the nature of both the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the Anthropocene and how they relate to innovation and humanity’s future. (5 marks)

Question 4:

Articulate an argument for why organizations and society should consider creativity and innovation to be critical priorities in this era and suggest ideas for how to realize this need.  (5 marks)

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