Innovation is a simple concept – until you think about it. In his keynote presentation at the Outokumpu Experience, scholar Alf Rehn will explore both the misconceptions that surround innovation and what he refers to as “innovation ambition.”
“There are countless myths about innovation,” Rehn notes. “For instance, many believe it would be easy to recognize innovation when they see it. Many people would point to any Apple product as an example of innovation.”
“But innovation is a sometimes thing,” he says, “an in-between thing. When an innovation is first introduced, it’s rarely seen as innovative. When the innovation becomes so ingrained in our lives that it becomes the new norm, it’s no longer seen as innovative.”
What are we achieving?
Innovation draws enormous attention today. For Rehn, talk is cheap. “Many believe we’ve never been so innovative,” he scoffs. “But that is not true. It can be argued that if you consider the time, money and interest poured into innovation, we are actually innovating less than we should be.”
“Look at what we’re doing today in innovation,” he says. “Are we really achieving as much as our great-great-grandfathers did when they invented things like antibiotics, railway systems and infrastructures for cities and industry? Are we really building a fantastic new world?”
He believes a critical conversation on innovation ambition is essential. “Innovation today needs to be big and meaningful,” he says. “It cannot allow itself to be slight incremental improvement.”