Can Innovation be Routinized?

By Aditya Dev Sood

I am told by those who study these things that agriculture came about more or less by accident. Our early ancestors found fruits and berries, corn, edible plants and other vegetation and ate the good parts, discarding the seeds without thought, here and there, or in the garbage. In other cases they ate the seeds, which passed through them to find themselves in newly fertilized ground. In this early period, one would have to conclude, agriculture was not yet routinized, even though it came to be later on.

I have also heard, from several reliable authorities, that we have entered, or are entering the age of innovation. I am not entirely certain I know what this means, but I wonder if it might not mean that the dominant mode of production in these emerging times involves the creation of incrementally — or drastically — more valuable outputs given the same inputs. For some, this is the very definition of capitalism.

I find the parallel with the age of early agriculture compelling. Even though innovation is being practiced all around us, we are still in a very preliminary phase of being able to actually understand what is going on, how it yields us benefit, and what parts of the process are critical to its success in different climates, sectors of industry and world cultures.

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