In the face of looming challenges like deficits, economic stagnation, environmental collapse, and soaring health care costs, most people believe that the world needs dramatic and sustained innovation. It’s tempting to hope that we can innovate our way out of trouble, but we cannot unless we radically rethink our ideas about the relationship between expertise and innovation.
Traditionally, tough problems have been solved by experts, so we look to our top technical executives to organize teams of scientists and engineers to tackle our current problems. But in a world of ubiquitously connected people and ideas, this way of organizing may be backwards.
Leading the way in this “innovation inversion” is Harvard Business School Professor Karim Lakhani. I talked with him about this problem.