In an ever changing world we treat innovation as if it is the mythical Fountain of Youth that can rejuvenate and save our companies. The problem is that in that same changing world, we are starting to run out of things to create, resulting in a whole lot of junk that is claimed to be the next best thing. Greed is the inordinate desire to possess wealth, goods, or objects to keep it for one's self (1). It is the perfect word to describe companies that innovate just to innovate, clearly they have missed the point on their way to their Research and Development sector. In this capitalist world we live to learn that we need to strive for more, because that is better. Now switch it up and read that statement like this: we need to strive for better, because only then we can have more. Granted the question of more vs. better innovation is not very fruitful, as it is based on belief systems and ideologies regarding which one is ‘good’ or ‘bad’.
The words better and more both have a tone of desire in them. We all wan t to be better or have more and so we sometimes lose sight of why we actually want those things. So go ahead and ask yourself that question: why do you want to be better or have more? You probably thought of things like: to get more out of life, to have a happier life, a successful life etc. Notice that the word that repeats itself is “life”. So if we have better and more, but due to our greed we have no life or earth to live on what was then the whole point? Peel off all of our trivial wants and needs, and go back to what we need to sustain life: “Health”. An important core value we forget, that we are dependent and actually in real need of.
Every aspect of our lives has its own ecosystem and its own “body”. When we are sick (not healthy) we do not work optimally, in worst cases we can even die. Now imagine if the bodies of our social, technical, economic and political systems were sick, would it not work the same way as it does in a human body? The same applies for innovations. When we do not strive for a healthy innovation system, then we have obviously lost sight on what actually really matters.
Innovations end and start with values. Only when we have our values straightened out, we can start thinking of their requirements and designs. As I mentioned before, when we only focus on more and better, the values that really matter such as sustainability, health and inclusiveness are put on the back burner. And thus we end up with a set of incompetent and poorly thought out requirements and designs. So maybe you will get more and better from it, but ask yourself: is it healthy? Does it feed you and the earth? Or is it made of the same plastic, that will be the only thing left on earth after there is no more.