Four social trends that conspire against creative innovation

Venture capitalist Peter Thiel has identified certain social trends that hold down the development of creative innovation.

The first one of them is an obsession with incrementalism: according to the PayPal co-founder, “from an early age, we are taught that the right way to do things is to proceed one very small step at a time, day by day, grade by grade”.

Those who overachieve are held down by rigid education systems, while those who end up thinking outside the box get no credit for their work. “You’ll get an A for doing exactly what is asked of you (and for doing it a little better than your peers). Such process extends all the way through the tenure track”, writes the US innovator in his new book, “Zero to one”.

The second force that hurts creative breakthroughs is risk aversion. We are scared of being wrong, of putting things out that have never been brought to a broader public. If we develop a culture where a reasonable goal is to try and never make a mistake, we are in the wrong path. According to Thiel, we must be ready to dedicate our life to something that we love, even if few people believe in it.

But there are other social trends that hold down creative innovation. The third one is complacency: collecting rents on everything that has already been done seems like a rather comfortable way to make a living, while the fields of innovation and entrepreneurship are seen as riskier and less paths for our career path.

Number four in our list is what Thiel calls “flatness”. In his words, “as globalization advances, people perceive the world as one homogeneous marketplace: the world is “flat”. Given that assumption, a lot of people that may have the ambition to develop creative solutions end up asking themselves: if it were possible to discover something new, wouldn’t someone from the global talent pool of smarter and more creative people have found it already?”. Such doubt may be enough to dissuade people from even taking their first step yet, as the Spain’s export boom shows, it is never too late to develop new opportunities that may have room in the global market.

We believe that creative innovation must not be supressed, but encouraged! That is why we want you to join Ennomotive: through our challenges, you will be able to develop new solutions for real companies that are looking to improve their industrial operations in creative, efficient and effective ways!

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