Can we have wise innovation?


The welfare of our customers and the welfare of our companies is interrelated, interdependent and complimentary. When we realize this we will also realize that we have common goals. This is where we align ourselves for a common cause. This is where true innovation begins.

Do we even think about wisdom any more? I think it would be good to keep wisdom nearby as we innovate. As an innovator you will find yourself sooner or later running into ethical questions. We may need to be the “voice of the customer” that reminds our companies that we need to align with the best interests of the customer’s experience.

We must remind ourselves that companies have to submit themselves to cycles of evaluations by their customers. In other words, there is a lot there besides short-term profit. We must think about long-term sustainable profits if we want our companies alive for a long time.

We must be responsible in our innovations. It challenges us to find a solution that is both profitable and socially responsible. That is the true, most complex challenge for today’s innovators.

Ideas are easy, they are a dime a dozen for some people. But ideas that will help people develop successfully along with their environments AND our businesses is another story.

Hopefully your wisdom will inform you on the best decisions to make as you innovate. As innovators we are in positions where we can propose the visions, the perspectives. The decision makers will have to make the final decisions. But we must play our part in the democratic equation.

I stumbled on a book by Robert L. Sternberg, a psychology professor that explores different definitions of wisdom. This is my personal favorite definition.

Sternberg highlights one more perspective – a post-formalist perspective [on wisdom], which is understood to include the following implied qualities, where the individual…

• recognizes the relativity of our systems
• is able to assume contradictory points of view
• conceptualizes an interrelatedness in [most if not all] experience
• understands the [continuous] transformation by change [within the interrelated systems]
• uses a “metasystemic” conceptual model(s)
• uses reflective and integrative method of processing
• sometimes, (often) uses a dialectical (apparently opposed entities which are synthesized into a whole)

[The brackets are my inserts]

References for Robert L. Sternberg
Book by sternbeg: Wisdom, Intelligence, and Creativity Synthesized.


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