We can measure the time in minutes, we can measure distance in miles, and we can measure mass in grams – so how do we measure Innovation? Am I missing something or is this possibly the most stunning omission in the history of civilization? Who is keeping score? Where’s the referee? This is serious business, folks – the fact, factors, and factories of innovation should be in laser sharp focus to everyone right now, here is why:
The total US liability is estimated at 53 trillion dollars. Every US citizen must become more productive by $175,000 each to cover the invisible mortgage. Government and corporations are not going to fix this problem – they will leave it to the kids to figure out how to make, mix, and measure innovation.
It is official; the United States has run out of bandwidth and we need to create more. The only way to accomplish this is an extraordinary expansion in the breadth, depth, and scale of innovation. This is a situation that cannot be rationalized by any conventional school of thought – starting with our definition for innovation.
The accepted definition for innovation is “something novel and useful”. I hope that I am not insulting any B-school professors or innovation guru’s but “something novel and useful” is already bankrupt as a definition for the only thing that can pull us out of this flaming tailspin of debt economics.
So let’s try something that the kids can do well (because they get to pick up the tab):
Innovation = Bandwidth Created / Bandwidth Expended
So there it is: a simple, clean, and effective: If the number is greater than 1 we have a creation of wealth. If the number is equal to 1 we have a transfer of wealth, if the number is less than 1 we have the creation of more debt.
It should not matter how one defines bandwidth as long as the top number and the bottom number are measured the same way. If the kids can increase the top number, or lower the bottom number for anything anywhere by using their social, creative, or intellectual ability, alone or in groups, then they can become successful innovators.
There is a clear and rational business case for bandwidth – people will pay for it at a price relative to their own available bandwidth. Let’s give the kids a game they can win. Let’s give them a score that they can keep. Let’s show them how entrepreneurs work, think, and play.
For the same amount of bandwidth expended, they can create more bandwidth for 10 rich people or more bandwidth for 1000 poor people. Let the kids decide. If they give some people more bandwidth at the expense of the bandwidth of others, they lose. If they find synergies that act as a bandwidth multiplier, they win. Let the kids figure it out.
All we need to do is help develop standards to measure bandwidth. It’s the least that our old people can do and a much simpler problem for our feeble minds to solve. The Ingenesist Project specifies 3 web applications which if deployed to social media will allow social capital, creative capital, and intellectual capital to become tangible outside the construct of the traditional corporation – we believe that this may do the trick. There may be others working on the problem too, we don’t care – at the end of the day, we all work for bandwidth.
[The Ingenesist Project is an open source economic development program promoting an innovation economy]