Most of the time, innovators don’t move fast and break things
“Innovation has become a defining ideology of our time. Be disruptive, move fast, break things! And everyone knows – right? – what innovation looks like. Just Google the word. You’ll see lots of lightbulbs. Lightbulbs represent a sudden flash of inventiveness experienced by Thomas Edison or other mythic geniuses.
Innovation, as an infinite progression of advertisements, political campaigns and university incubators tell us, is Always A Very Good Thing. And, like all myths, this one holds some truth. Technological innovation has raised standards of living, made populations healthier, safer and smarter.
But, in large part because this isn’t always true, it’s essential to understand how science and technology advances actually happen and affect the world. Because of their importance, it’s essential to reflect more critically on our collective myths about innovation.