Is the Era of Innovation Over?

Is the Era of Innovation Over?Is the era of innovation over? Or is the war for innovation just beginning?

I came across an article in one of Canada’s main newspapers — The Globe and Mail — by Barrie McKenna titled ominously, ‘Has Innovation Hit a Brick Wall?’

The article speaks to how the Canadian government sinks billions of dollars into research and development every year, yet the country remains an innovation laggard compared with most of its trading partners. The author refers to this as Canada’s “innovation deficit.” The article then goes on to examine some research from University of British Columbia economics professor James Brander that examines whether Canada’s problem is part of a much broader global phenomenon.

The conclusions that Dr. Brander comes to are less than comforting (if you agree with his view of innovation); his research found the pace of innovation to be slowing dramatically in four key areas: agriculture, energy, transportation, and health care.

As someone who works with companies to help foster innovation and whom frequently writes and speaks on the topic, I have a problem with Dr. Brander’s conclusions about Canada and the world in the same way that I have issues with the way that the U.S. Congress and President Obama approach innovation in the United States. In fact the American government’s approach to innovation prompted me to write the controversial ‘An Open Letter on Innovation to President Obama.’

Continue reading this article on the American Express OPEN Forum.

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8 thoughts on “Is the Era of Innovation Over?

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Blogging Innovation » Is the Era of Innovation Over? --

  2. Michael R. Thomas

    Yes the era of innovation seems over and I know why the individules controling the money wont dial the number to get the master inventor involved with there R+d project there willing to spend billions on no good ideas or looking for a mechanical method of finding an idea. There unwilling to spend a nickle for the idea and are only willing to try to steal it from inventors.

  3. Tiago Brandao

    Definitively yes. We live the times of what I call “Innovation moments”. There’s no time span as long as “Era”, “Decade” or even “Cycle” to spend in Innovative strategies (being it Countries, Corporations or Consultants).
    What those entities will need to make sure, in order to achieve sustainable growth and/or economic viability, is a quicker and faster implementation rate of (good enough) business ideas. Rapid innovative products’ commercialization, differentiated services’ providing or fast disruptive practices’ implementation will be the only way overcome the new reality: Absolute globalization + fast commoditization = short time Innovation advantage.
    As the value and competitive advantages’ curves tend to be shorter in amplitude and faster in frequency(loop), those who envisage Innovation based strategies as the key driver for growth, must capitalize in the following variables: speed (high) and frequency (high) and lifespan (short).
    Examples could be raised from everywhere (Markets or Regions)

  4. Rodrigo Mota

    I don’t think so. Yes, it is true that innovative products cycles are shorter and yes, it is true that innovation is being even more expensive do to. But those information reveals only the huge focus that innovation requires. Innovation still has a high impact on changing marketshare perspectives, and, if it is done carrefully – providing value, preserving rarity, make it difficult to copy (with intellectual property, for example)and with a good organization – can bring the favourite song of the innovator to the music hall. Apple showed this with easy-to-do computers, and now Nokia and Microsoft are trying to move. Apple now is conducing the touch technology everywhere – and there’s no doubt about their profits and shares.
    This mechanism may drive the companies and countries for the next 50 years or until the end of the Age of Technology…

  5. greg moll

    I would not let this dude help my son sell lemonade. who is he to think he is superior to BMW marketing people who have a real job

  6. admin

    Greg – Love that the blog is engaging you enough to comment. It would have been even more interesting if you had challenged me on the relevant article. Happy to discuss my views on the BMW joy campaign – on the BMW article itself – not this one. Thanks for posting! 🙂


  7. admin

    I agree with many of the comments here if I synthesize them together. Organizations going forward must find a way to increase their flexibility, adaptability, openness and speed to market while simultaneously maintaining their ability to achieve repeatability, and predictability.

    I like to call this managing the tensions between exploration and exploitation and between the entrepreneurial mindset and the executive mindset.

    Management can do this, but it is not easy…



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