This seemingly innocuous question derived from a (small) questionnaire on LinkedIn leads to some interesting takeaways.
One, is that thirty-six people working in the innovation business attempting to answer this question on an online forum gave some pretty flimsy answers.
Two, is that most respondents voted to innovate to boost revenue.
The question is good, as all questions begin with why are. First, my answer:
We must innovate for humanity to become more adaptable to nature’s entropy, prolonging our life as a species on earth.
My answer is directly attached to the highest-order normalization of nature’s knowable truth: the human species is subjugated, from which we can then break down the precise objectives of human existence, resulting in the goals and need to innovate.
We must face the reality that the human species, like all species on Earth, is subject to the rules of nature to prolong life on Earth. We do not make up the rules defining our longevity. Nature does.
The impact of the coronavirus, cancer, and global warming, to name a few, should make that abundantly clear to us. We are not in control. Nature controls us. So, my fellow earthlings, what objectives of innovation support nature?
To answer that question, I must tell you a little about our cosmos and how nature dictates the evolution of one hundred billion stars, surrounded by planets, to the power of four hundred billion galaxies.
From the explosion of the Big Bang, our planet is one of the trillions of fragments from the flurry swirling and rotating through space. Just like fireworks, where you see the sparks flying, diverging, and eventually slowly dimming as they fall back to Earth.
Our planet is behaving like one of those fragments in slow motion, losing its luster in about 3.5 billion years. This process of irreversible loss of energy is referred to as entropy.
Climate change, to highlight a natural phenomenon, can be (and is) aggravated by humanity but is not caused by humanity, for climate change is caused by the ever-changing influence of entropy. The climate has and will constantly be changing thanks to the complex forces within the cosmos that are also subject to entropy.
Climate change is, in essence, a tautology, a descriptor used by people who know very little about the nature and context of our climate. I must add a misapprehension that should not deter us from cleaning the house.
Simply put, the depletion of available energy – entropy – must be compensated for with improved efficiency and strengthening of human renewal. Evolutionarily, humanity must get stronger and more resilient, which is not quite what we are achieving today.
The role of innovation must be to improve the strength of human renewal, quite a different charter than to sell snake oil of human wants, packaged as pump-and-dump valuations short on value traded to the public as the last in the chain of greater-fools, appallingly oblivious to the needs of human renewal.
And we will, once we adopt a new operating system for humanity that – for the first time – assigns the merit of money only to those who, instead of deploying oligarchic algorithms cunningly tapping into the coagulating consumerism of our commonalities, begin to embrace the value of our differences to expand the fractal of human ingenuity and capacity.