Efficiency: An Innovation Promoter; An Innovation Killer

Efficiency does more with less, allowing for the freed attention to be applied to innovation. Efficiency creates its own momentum, and incentivizes innovation in support of its inertia — a well known truth. Alas, efficiency, by its very nature, discards non-contributing actions, extinguishes non-promoting thoughts. And why is that so bad?

The premise of Unbound Ignorance states that what we know so far is but a fraction of what relevant knowledge is there, still unknown. Efficiency, per its nature, serves a well stated goal, and is measured by its rate of approach towards that goal. However, this goal (whatever it is) is stated on the basis of our knowledge so far, and efficiency towards this goal will disregard knowledge that has no impact on that goal. Disregard, meaning will not listen, will not fund exploration of knowledge without a clear picture of how it serves the stated goal. Innovation, on the other hand, is measured by how much new, novel, non-linear, unexpected knowledge it has migrated from the ‘unknown’ zone to the ‘known’ territory. Such knowledge is not pre-marked as important by the efficient in charge, and therefore a thoughtful innovation manager will resort to the power of randomization — explore, pay attention, fund ideas, proposals, concepts which do not appear attractive to the mind shackled by its own history of learning.

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