Difference drives innovation...

Roland Harwood over at the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts suggests that Difference drives innovation...

In my experience, homogeneity of skills, influences, opinions, ideas, competencies, knowledge and cultures, can only lead to conformity of views and the maintance of the status quo.

More interestingly (to me at least), differences in skills, influences, opinions, ideas, competencies, knowledge and cultures, can lead to one of 2 potential outcomes:

Firstly differences can descend into chaos, fragmentation and highly un-productive activity, or

If managed well, differences can lead to a highly creativity, inspiring and innovative environment.

The key question is, of course, how to you set things up so that you create the latter innovate outcome, rather than the former. The short answer from me (at the moment) is that I'm not sure, however we are in the process of trying to find out.

Nesta launches a new programme on June 14th called Connect, which seeks to prove that new, unexpected or extreme collaborations drive innovation. Our key lines or enquiry are centred around differences, networks, interactions and trust. It's a fascinating subject which spans psychology, solciology, antrohopoly, technology, economics and politics, so we've got our work cut out for us. We'll post on this blog as and when we find out more.

Simon Berry has written here about the nature of innovation processes here. As Roland suggests, it seems it needs to be a mix of difference and the unexpected, and managed ... =which is just what we've been trying to do with the Open Innovation Exchange.

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