It seems as if innovation has turned into some type of the buzzword, I almost can’t believe it. You see, I take over 70 online newsletters which hit my inbox every day, and I also surf the news, and I just can’t believe how much time and effort is spent on talking about innovation. One thing that bothers me is all the academics talking about innovation. Because those who go into academia as professors do not necessarily spend their time innovating, they spend their time jamming information into their heads.
Even the academic researchers I’ve met are so narrowly focused they don’t really understand what innovation is. You see as an entrepreneur and I started my first business at 12 years old, I’ve been constantly innovated in every industry I’ve ever been in. There is a big difference between how politicians, academics, and the intellectual leaders see innovation, and how innovation really occurs in the marketplace. In fact the gap of reality is so vastly different, it’s almost as if we aren’t talking about the same thing.
This is why I am often bothered when I hear a politician say that we are going to spend more money on innovation, and then funnel money to academic research. And there are plenty of universities and academics willing to soak up that cash, do a few little research projects, and then ask for more money year after year. It’s almost as if we have an “academic innovation complex” – borrowing the term obviously from the Dwight D. Eisenhower’s farewell speech about the “industrial military complex” which we are supposed to beware of as well.
Indeed, I am reminded when I think of innovation, of the aerospace innovators which have brought us such brilliant advances in space, and military aviation. “Ad Inexplorate” means “Toward The Unknown” which is the Motto at Edwards US Air Force Aerospace Test Center. You see, part of what is bothering me is that we are not taking enough risks with innovation. Financial risks are one thing, but real live risk, where people are risking their lives is quite another.
Simply throwing money at a problem, and saying to yourself; “well, we are taking a risk here” is not really what it takes to come up with a breakthrough. And what risk are they really taking? They are merely spending wads of taxpayer’s money – that’s not innovation!
One has to put their career, life, and everything on the line and have the passion to go for it. Entrepreneurs know how to do that, academics don’t. If you are an academic researcher and you’d like to defend yourself; then please shoot me an e-mail, let’s talk.
Let’s see how tough you are, and if you are really in this game to win it. Otherwise perhaps academia might just take that little buzzword which they’ve hijacked from the world, and stop talking about it. I thought “Talk” was supposed to be cheap! Indeed I hope you will please consider all this and think on.