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The innovation mantra

Updated on November 30, 2007

The world has always needed innovation. From the invention of the wheel to the personal computer, to the Internet that truly makes this a global village, we have always been surrounded by day-to-day evidence of the innovative spirit. So why is the need for innovation different today?

Three key factors: technology; global marketplace, and personal power.

Technology is moving faster than at any time in the last 100 years and forcing business and government into uncharted territory faster than ever. We both applaud and fear the effects of changing technology. The harsh reality is that machines can and do replace people.

Technology also paved the way for the global marketplace, where organizations no longer need to rely on local sources of supply. As geographic boundaries come down, the level of competition goes up.

The final, and possibly the most significant factor affecting life in today's organizations is the rising expectation of personal power. We are seeing less and less respect for formal authority and a rapid rise in expectations of personal rights. Formality and protocol are fast being replaced by a more outspoken, aggressive, and impatient style. People have naturally come to expect to voice their opinions, be heard, be treated well, and have the opportunity to participate in decisions that affect their work and workplace.

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    • Chuck profile image

      Chuck Nugent 

      10 years ago from Tucson, Arizona

      Great hub and a lot of thought provoking ideas. I do, however, have to disagree with you slightly on your sentence which states "The harsh reality is that machines can and do replace people." Technically, this is true in that certain jobs disappear when the process is automated and, in cases where a particular job is all that a worker knows then that person will be out of work. However, machines are expensive and employers only invest in them when the cost of using human labor becomes greater than the cost of automating the job with machines. The reason labor becomes more expensive is that the economy is growing and creating new jobs which in turn increases the demand for labor thereby forcing employers to bid up pay and benefits in order to recruit workers. Since not all jobs are equal in terms of the value of the output we find that the employers who are able to use the talents and labor of their workers in the most productive and profitable way will be the ones who can afford to pay the highest wages thereby leaving other employers no choice but to either go out of business, move to a location that has a surplus of labor, or automate in order to survive.

      The problem with saying "The harsh reality is that machines can and do replace people." is that it leaves people with the idea that either we are heading for a era of mass unemployment or some rosy future where no one will have to work. Neither are true as the demand for human workers continues to increase - what does change is that workers contribution to the production process is increasingly more mental rather than physical and the range of goods and services available to everyone continues to increase in both quality and quantity.

      Excellent hub and excellent ideas. Good work.

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