The human dimension of innovation

What are our goals as individuals, as society? What is the ultimate force that drives us to improve our lives and our future, to keep the things that we take for granted? How much are these goals intertwined with our company or our lab goals? It is actually an honest answer to this questions that will help us distill the core strengths of our business plans and strategic agendas, those strengths that will withstand the test of time.

We are humans, specially so when we pursue the quest for knowledge. Our fixations as innovators, researchers, entrepreneurs, is on the creation and commercialization of new knowledge and technologies. Technical proficiency and scientific excellence are the foundations of this pillar of innovation. But this is not enough to thrive in the long term. The challenges we face, as individuals and as groups, will often require understanding changing human behaviour, adaptation, leadership, and compassion. As any start-up manager knows, commercializing new technologies requires considerable skill and knowledge in social and artistic areas.  I am talking here of a dimension of the innovation process still not fully understood or fostered, the human dimension. Our motivations and interactions within our team shape the pathway that our enterprises follow, and this has become critical for success as our knowledge based economy becomes more collaborative. We need the artists in our teams, the designers, psychologists, the storytellers, the dancers! We need ourselves, our minds, to be part artists. Not only because it’s fun, but because it allows us to understand and share a common vision with our fellow humans, and drive our long term goals in our companies or labs.

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