That reminds me of the work of Rebecca Henderson (with Kim Clark and others) on architectural innovation, where product knowledge becomes embedded in the organization structure and information processing procedures of established organizations. That barrier to innovation is hard to see, and hard to undo.
Furr, Nel, and Ramsøy’s answer is to seek out people with certain capabilities who can operate outside of conventional organizational thinking, such as chaos pilots, and those who practice divergent thinking, convergent action, influential communication, and negative capability:
Negative capability: being comfortable with uncertainty
The term “negative capability” was coined by the poet John Keats while describing writers like Shakespeare who were able to work within uncertainty and doubt. Keats was describing the ability to accept not having an immediate answer and to remain willing to explore how something may evolve before there is a clear outcome.
In the modern context, negative capability can be thought of as the ability to be comfortable with uncertainty, even to entertain it, rather than to become so anxious by its presence that you have to prematurely race to a more certain, yet suboptimal, conclusion. Whereas many people cannot stand the fuzziness of uncertainty, those who demonstrate negative capabilities can facilitate the exploration of new terrain and the discovery of an adjacent possible opportunity.
Individuals with negative capability remain curious and focused even when your project is far from the end goal. Chances are, they will even find this point of the project enthralling, rather than overwhelming, which is exactly what you want. They will also be able to suspend judgement about an end result and stay open to many possible outcomes, rather than become fixed early on to one version of success.
Inside the New Industrial Revolution
| Christopher Mims
deep dives into the fourth industrial revolution, using Klaus Schwab
’s term, a revolution based on AI, mobile internet, and automation.
While much of the manufacturing in the developed world has been outsourced rather than automated, even the countries where those jobs went, like Bangladesh, are now seeing the automation of previously un-automatable industries like sewing. Globally, 381,000 industrial robots were shipped in 2017.