Innovation Is Evolutionary, Not Directed

January 30, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman
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Change is coming, and it will define its arrival despite best efforts to manage it. As much as 95 percent of change is evolutionary in that it comes from the bottom up. Innovation is happening constantly, and everyone must pay attention to it.

John Smart, president of the Acceleration Studies Foundation, offered those strategic outlooks in the Wednesday keynote luncheon at AFCEA/USNI West 2013 in San Diego. A series of technologies are driving change, and people and organizations must pay attention to those long-term changes.

The top two drivers of change are information technology and nanoscience/nanotechnology, Smart offered. These two will have revolutionary effects that will touch on all corners of society. Other drivers include resource technology, engineering technology and health technology. In some cases, innovation will be cross-pollinated among these drivers.

Smart cited as an example Google Glass, which will equip people with eyeglass-borne cameras that will record whatever they see. People will use this without thinking where it might lead, and innovations in the use of the imagery will have far-reaching effects. He noted that Gmail effectively has turned every customer into a life blogger, as every piece of email ever sent over Gmail has been archived for whatever purposes may lie ahead.

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