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Innovation and Philosophy

Business gurus have long occupied themselves with the nature of innovation, whether it can be taught, and how it can be nurtured. But the conditions that they have identified as being necessary to generate new ideas – and turn them into valuable products and services – are familiar to anyone who has studied the philosophy of science.

MIAMI – Is it possible to learn to innovate? Is innovation something that can be taught at school?

After reading literature by some of the world’s leading experts on innovation – Clayton Christensen, Henry Chesbrough, John Kao, James Andrew, and Harold Sirkin – I was fascinated, but, alas, also frustrated. Innovation is the production of new knowledge that generates value. It is about fresh ideas that give rise to novel products, services, and processes, new management methods, and original designs and inventions that generate greater profits for firms, regions and countries.

Most experts agree that there are no ready-made formulas or recipes for how to innovate. But is it possible to create the appropriate conditions – to filter ideas and execute plans, and thus to facilitate creativity – under which innovation may flourish?

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