Is The Era Of Big Innovation Over?

May 22 2012 @ 8:47am

Hierarchy of innovation-thumb

Justin Fox worries:

We have no colonies on Mars, we still can’t get by without prehistoric fuel, the dishwasher still doesn’t get all the dishes clean, and very few of us have personal jetpacks. You call this progress?

Nicholas Carr redraws Maslow's hierarchy of needs (seen above) and tempers Fox's concerns:

[A]s we move to the top level of the innovation hierarchy, the inventions have less visible, less transformative effects. We're no longer changing the shape of the physical world or even of society, as it manifests itself in the physical world. We're altering internal states, transforming the invisible self. Not surprisingly, when you step back and take a broad view, it looks like stagnation – it looks like nothing is changing very much.