Innovation did not begin with the ‘Information age’ or even the industrial revolution
Protection from animals
war and destruction.
Innovation is as old as mankind :
Fire – in use for at least 500K years
Basic tools 1.5 m years ago
The Wheel 5000 years ago
The Mechanical Clock
The Internal Combustion Engine
Man's Innovation Journey
60,000 yrs ago man* left Africa; (fishing skill?)
30,000 yrs ago; central heated caves in the Pyrenees
20,000 yrs ago; end of last great ice age (clothing)
10,000 yrs ago beginning of farming to support cities and so grew great civilizations............
Where? the great river valleys of the Indus, Nile, Euphrates & Tigris, Yangtze, Danube and coastal settlements of the Greeks
their civilisations came ..............and went
* 'man' meaning 'anatomically modern humans';
Innovation is about ingenuity, creativity, curiosity and survival
What fosters creativity & what stifles it ?
Innovation embedded in ancient civilisations – though with very different objectives
Civilisations with advanced technologies have existed AND disappeared
Could it happen again?
10 th Century China
Cultivation of rice
Replacement of the scratch plough with iron plough
Seed drills, weeding rake and deep tooth harrow
10 th Century China (2)
Blast furnaces -1500 years ahead of Europe
Textiles – while spinning wheel appeared in China and West at same time (13th century) –it advanced at a faster rate in China and applied power to yarn production multiple spinning frame
Water power –again paralleled Europe but 8th century AD Chinese were using hydraulic trip hammers, 1280 vertical water wheel
10 th Century China (3)
10th and 11th centuries Chinese built accurate clocks
960 AD the compass
Ocean going junks
Chinese invented paper – 1000 years before it reached the West
Gunpowder 10th century AD
Yet this wave of innovation did not evolve further what went wrong ?
No such thing as physical property rights let alone rights to inventions
Movable type printing press of much less significance with Chinese characters
What can be learnt from the Chinese example ?
Intellectual Property rights are of crucial importance to innovation.
Innovation may be evolutionary but there are discontinuities.
Established innovative nations and companies can lose momentum
Innovations can be still-born
Isolation can eradicate innovation
Innovation needs an open minded and tolerant society.
Path dependence and rail tracks
60% world railways standard gauge : width 1,435mm or 4 ft 8½in Why?
Deepening wheel ruts and the width of a carthorse
Wheel ruts and broken axles
Deepening wheel ruts and the width of a horse
Railways in Europe, United States and much of Asia
21 st century
Past, future radical change and economic cris is
Impact of the age of synergy : 1869 + Concatenation of events leading to radical change and the world economy today
There was a concatenation (chaining together of ) events, science, technology, medicine world had ‘a different programme to guide its future’. (Smil 2005)
Internal Combustion Engine
New Materials and New Syntheses
Communication and Information
New business systems and processes
United States especially rapid diffusion
Yet past knowledge and skill shaped
Laid the technological foundations for all late 20th and 21st century innovations
Set the world on an energy intensive trajectory
Carbon emissions tripled since 1950
History is about Continuity and Change:75% of all around us today had its origins between 1866 - 1914
Radical innovations have shifted economic systems: Energy generation power from water steam from coal electricity from steam turbines and oil electricity transmission
Radical innovations have shifted economic systems: Communications
Radical innovations have shifted economic systems: Materials
What Implications for 2009 ?
The earth at night 2007
US Coastal Areas and Global Warming
'New Scientist' suggests that to debate the end of civilisation as we know it could be valuable!
A new style of capitalism? 'A message that businesses may find they are surprised to agree with. ' Financial Times Jonathon Porritt grapples with capitalism's reality - a system capable of delivering sustainability and enhancing well being, Adair Turner (Director General of CBI 1995-9)
Mass manufacturing v Mass disassembly
1908 Ford T mass manufacturing and assembly.
2008 - Mass Disassembly for recycling.
Not so much - how could more recycled components be used
but how to dis-assemble for recycling?
Is the Patagonia 'Sugar and Spice' shoe the process revolution we need?
Innovating to Survive: End of the 'nice decade' The credit cycle has turned and commodity prices are rising' Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England May 2007 August 2008 The UK is facing its worst economic crisis in 60 years October 09 Recession collides with technical innovation threatening established business models.
Business Model threatened : Newspapers and publishing
Wednesday 3 June 2009 The Guardian
Magazines and newspapers face 'lethal threat' [from recession and internet]
So what is innovation and what does it involve?
Creativity and stepping out of line
Entrepreneurship; the recognition and assessment of opportunities and threats
More than just a spark of an idea
its about 'The Dance of Two Questions' .......... 'what is needed and what is possible?'
Productivity declining some products and food China products labour intensive, but labour costs increasing in China - Food yields improvement slowing - R&D decreased since 1996 - we had surplus food! CARS - OIL to Electricity? Homes/offices - new eco standards
IT and carbon footprint
We are on the cusp of dramatic change? recession as a driving force for innovation? ENERGY the new focus
Messages to take away
Innovation is about knowledge and people and making new connections.
Personal/people networks are vital in making new connections
Innovation is a chaotic process initially
Successful innovation needs the chaos to turn to structures, systems and organisation.
Innovation is about survival
Knowledge and Imagination
'I have more imagination than memory but without memory I would have no imagination’
A combination of memory and imagination CRUCIAL to innovation they combine past and future
Our measures of success?
If just one student could be inspired to become an innovator
If just 10 of you could influence your future boss on how things are done
And if all of you could be just a little bit more knowledgeable about innovation and innovative processes ………………
Everything would be worthwhile and have made a contribution to understanding the innovation process……………