Thursday, October 15, 2009

Counting Innovation Failures

"With the launch of a Social Innovation Fund and the $650M Department of Education Investing in Innovation Fund, the federal government has unleashed an unprecedented amount of capital and resources to galvanize innovation in the social sector."

"Perspectives on Social Innovation," Community Wealth Vangard, October 2009.

Will social innovation help us out of bad economic times. I don't know. But lots of people are turning to entrepreneurship of various kinds as a substitute for the lack of jobs -- and something they always wanted to do.

A part of me thinks that we ought to do some reflecting upon all our innovation mistakes and failures before we put lots more money on the street. We always focus on the success stories, as we should, while leaving out the innovations that proved to be impossible to implement or scale, the innovations that produced few results, and our sorry record at replication.

Should there be a federal office of innovation failure -- a counting house of dashed high hopes? Can't you see row upon row of shelves and failure boxes? A lonely, ignored figure keeping track of things in large accounting books. A combination of Dickens and Kafka.

I know, what a downer. Innovation is more fun.

1 comment:

homework said...

i think a federal office of innovation failure and successes, preferably an online database, is a great idea. one man's trash is another man's treasure- some ideas just need to find the right contexts for application.