Looking Back at Looking Forward

sharing knowledge about organisational foresight

Innovation and philosophy

“What we need is a paradigm-shift” or words to that effect – how many times have a heard people say that over the last few years! I’ve used the term myself, such as when talking about the internet and suggesting to others to review their assumptions about telecommunications and broadcasting markets, technologies and the needs of users or consumers. Tough gig I can tell you – it is hard for people to independently rethink the way the world works.

Given my renewed interest in philosophy (I did a paper as an undergrad) , I took particular note of Humberto Schwab’s interview on the Club of Amsterdam blog. Humberto said that “Innovation sometimes demands new paradigms – philosophy is the producer of new paradigms”. Lovely!

Humberto went on to talk about educating people and the importance of asking the right questions, not the answers. I like that too. What about when you are surrounded by people whose idea of doing the right thing is to give answers – at meetings I can see that need take hold of discussions as the group races to provide direction, make plans, take action…anything but really getting to grips with the underlying drivers.

Humberto had this to say about the role of Socratic discourse, that it “…forces people to rethink other positions and to rehearse steps in thinking taken by others, it forces people to listen and repeat and to clarify all concepts used.” Fantastic. Would there be much of this in organisational life! Particularly those that value innovation, creativity and learning. It all goes to support my contention below that the skill set of an organisational futurist needs to good amount of philosophical scholarship.


March 4, 2007 - Posted by | knowledge networks, philosophy | , , ,

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