Innovation: please, but only in small installments
We are definitely living in a technological era.
Information Technology invades almost every aspect of our lives. From the more public to the more intimate one.
However we must distinguish between two concepts that most of the times, are used as synonyms: Technology = Progress.
Undoubtedly, technology enables progress, but by no means have we to approach this relation as a “cause-effect” one.
From the field of Architecture (so we can move away a bit from the “gadget” world and see a more illustrative example), we have more than enough proofs of this common misunderstanding. The Modern Movement pushed the limits of construction technology to the point where “buildings could float”. Expressionism made transparent buildings that could not conceal any mystery.
While in the context of culture, these architectural innovations were developed and worshipped socially, psychoanalysis was also bringing into light and making visible (or at least audible), what had been concealed for centuries at subjects individual level.
The contradictory aspect of both approaches was that although avant-garde works were being risen to the status of cultural referents for the new imagery of the Modern Era, buildings themselves were under fire, by a demolishing criticism from the “user” point of view.
The Ville Savoie, the Farnsworth house are just two examples of this opposition between innovation and conservativeness, when both owners found “unbearable” their respective houses to live in.
All this only to make an introduction to the different approaches we have when dealing with “the new” stuff.
In general, we are keen on sleek design cars, mobile phones, even clothes and sunglasses. While we dream of having a car like this one:
Or even this much less expensive one:
we fantasize with a house like this one!!!!!!
There’s an inner contradiction in our culture, when embracing technology, avant-garde and innovation so strongly in some aspects and rejecting it at the same time, when related to other fields.
Which are the fields in which innovation is so reluctantly accepted?
Good question, since no matter how old the house of our dreams might be, we will want all of the latest appliances, devices and equipment (air conditioning, broadband Internet access, Sat TV, and so on) installed in it. This is at individual level.
In a similar path, Society deals with innovation in quite the same contradictory way.
Innovation will be fostered when in benefit for most of us. If a mobile manufacturer launches a new handset, people will win having the latest design with the most powerful specifications, while the company will also win, increasing sales, prices and profits.
When innovation appears threatening “privileges” and the risks for some are considerably high, it will not be a positive concept in itself anymore, i.e.: “let’s ban enclosed offices completely right away!”
We deal with resistance to innovation everyday: we drive back home taking the same roads, or we get used to having a very tight variety of meals at lunch.
“Democracy is not perfect but it’s the best system one can think of”. I’m sick and tired of hearing this song. We don’t actually know what Democracy is. We know “some” so-called democratic systems, that vary from country to country, that tolerate or not “abortion” or “death sentence” while at the same time sustaining jewish-christian religions. The shortest term for a democratic period is 4 years. Can you think of a CEO, that is appointed in periods of 4 years? What would or even better wouldn’t, he or she do with that privilege?
How can we be innovative, if instead of scanning our possibilities ahead, we keep on checking the past, for guarantees and safe solutions?
THESE SOLUTIONS HAVE BEEN, AND ARE STILL BEING TOO EXPENSIVE FOR THE MAJORITY!
We cannot continue with this system (call it as you like – to me it’s a Kleptocracy), in which our vote is borrowed once in a while just to justify who will rule the country. The rest of the time, between one election and the following four years after, is becoming something more and more difficult to swallow each time.
We should be looking for the opportunity of innovation flooding all aspects of our lives, so we can make sure we, people, are being sovereign. Truly sovereign.
And not precisely because we will be then “Modern”, but quite contrary, we will finally become “classic”.