To achieve sustainable innovation...

you need to seek persistent disequilibrium. To seek persistent disequilibrium means that one must chase after disruption without succumbing to it, or retreating from it.

A company, institution, or individual must remain perched in an almost-falling state. In this precarious position it is inclined to fall, but continually catches itself and never quite topples. Nor does it anchor itself so that it cannot tip. It sort of skips along within reach of disaster, but uses the power of falling to propel itself forward with grace. A lot of people compare it to surfing; you ride a wave, which is constantly tumbling, and perched on top of this continually disintegrating hill of water, you harness its turbulence into forward motion.

Innovation is hard to institutionalize. It often needs to bend the rules of its own creation. Indeed, by definition innovation means to break away from established patterns, which means that it tends to jump over formulas. In periods of severe flux, such as the transition we are now in between a resource-based economy and a connected-knowledge one, change enters other levels.



Archives - This site operates under a Creative Commons License.

This is a blog version of a book of mine first published in 1998. I am re-issuing it (two posts per week) unaltered on its 10th anniversary. Comments welcomed. More details here.
-- KK