A Little Less Innovation Theory and A Little More Practical Action

World map showing countries by nominal GDP per...
GDP per capita in the World (2008). Image via Wikipedia

Innovation is an important driver of a modern economy. Today, it is impossible to provide a healthy society without economic growth. The only way to provide a sustainable economic growth is through innovation. This assertion has produced many attempts to understand better the way that innovation is working in our societies. And it is possible that trees are not letting us to see the forest. Innovation is not a tool to provide something; it is an important part of any economy and our lives.

Management, usually, was not very involved in innovation for many years, although now all of us know many important and remarkable cases as Steve Jobs, probably, because the work of any manager is to control the company and managers are intelligent enough to notice that they cannot control something unknown for them. A man manages his company following his own knowledge and experiences, and it should be always just like that. Large enterprises can have a board of directors with different knowledge and experience to be better managed.

Innovation has been focused from different viewpoints. Nowadays, we can see easily two of them: Innovation as the result of the research process and innovation as a strategic tool to establish the positioning of a company.

The main defenders of practical innovation proceed from a research career; they are mainly researchers and technicians. This fact implies that they are not connoisseurs of economic aspects of innovation. Trying to convince about the economy benefits of innovation is not a very easy task for them.

The key words about innovation must not be only research and development; they should be mainly competitiveness, economic growth, efficiency and effectiveness in order to make the activity attractive for politicians and investors. Here is where innovation management provides an important advantage to the activity.

Innovation can be seen as less democratic than other competitive activities. For instance, any man can wield a weapon (in spite of the result can be different depending on the people) but only a few ones can design a missile. Innovation could be forgotten by politicians in many situations where there is a need of assigning scarce resources and they could have a high need of votes, if innovators do not remember the social benefits of technology through communication activities to the citizens.

Today, innovation is providing economic growth, is making our enterprises more competitive is providing millions of jobs and is making a freer world. We should not change an intercontinental missile by hundreds of guns, because someone could need a handful of votes, or because a union wants to increase its negotiation power in an enterprise. Labor conditions and employment opportunities are improved through technology; it is not an enemy of workforce or citizenship.


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