Challenging Myths Around Technological Innovation

Spark with Nora Young presented an interesting discussion with Patrick McCray on myths that have built up over time around the narrative of how innovation happens.  McCray argues that innovation is not always what we have been led to believe it is.

McCray wrote a longer essay on the topic which is also a fascinating read in addition to his interview on Spark.

McCray argues that “…it’s essential to understand how science and technology advances actually happen and affect the world. Because of their importance, it’s essential to reflect more critically on our collective myths about innovation.” 

A clearer understanding of what innovation is, how it is usually much more ordinary than the popular media and stories would have us believe, and how it should (and often should not) be harnessed is important for everyone facing decisions regarding the implementation of new technologies.

“The history of technological change is full of examples of roads not taken. There are many examples of seemingly illogical choices made by firms and individuals. This shouldn’t surprise us – technological change has always been a deep and multilayered process, one that unfolds in fits and starts and unevenly in time and space. It’s not like the ‘just so stories’ of pop history and Silicon Valley public relations departments.” — Patrick McCray