Filed under: Carbon, Environment, Greenpeace, Innovation | Tags: Environment, Greenpeace, Innovation
The rate of innovaton is increasing – that’s what Matt Ridley told TEDGlobal last week. New ideas “have sex”, and create new innovations. Examples: location-based services are the love-child of social media and smartphones; cloud-services are the result of a romp between faster access speeds and cheaper storage space. Ideas are like rabbits – rampant little love beasts having indiscriminate sex, and before you know it we’re overrun with them.
So, just as sexual reproduction speeds up the rate of evolution, this “mashing” of ideas speeds up innovation. What’s more, just as faster evolution helps species adapt to changing environments, Ridley thinks that faster innovation will help us solve the world’s problems.
Instinctively, I love it. So much more positive than the dreary language of sustainability: reductions, caps, and the most uninspiring word of all – neutral. We need progress, not sustainability. Human nature is compelled by more, not less.
Still, there was a time when I was beguiled by innovation in banking – yes, really… the sheer complexity and inventiveness of it. Well, we all now know what a house of cards that was. Now, there are those who argue that blind innovation – too much indiscriminate sex, to torture the metaphor – can do more harm than good.
Greenpeace recently raised the alarm about the growing number of energy-hungry data centres, full of whiring disks and fans. WorldChanging.org responded that the benefits in terms of efficient working and reduced travel are much greater. Either way, it shows that innovation doesn’t happen in a vacuum.
So what to do? Ridley misses a big difference between evolution and innovation. Evolution is driven by chance mutations in the genome; it’s random. Innovation doesn’t have to be random – it can be guided by our ambitions and values, both at an individual and corporate level. All that’s required is a bit of self-knowledge – maybe the toughest bit of all…
Image of idea fornication from Cote’s photostream.
Filed under: Activism, Amnesty International, Environment, Greenpeace, Human Rights, Plane Stupid, Politics | Tags: "critical mass", "yes men", Activism, activist, adbusters, alf, Amnesty International, Environment, Greenpeace, Human Rights, Plane Stupid
We’ve put together a sort of “gallery of activists” for discussion with our clients at Amnesty – to see who inspires us and why. The presentation is embedded below. Here are a few themes that emerge:
To be really disruptive, you need to be really creative
In a world of stunts, it takes something special to get noticed. The ingenuity of The Yes Men hoax on BBC World is a great example, wiping $2 billion dollars from Dow Chemical’s stock – pretty disruptive. Love or loathe him, some of Michael Moore‘s set-ups are bold and inventive, such as interview with Charlton Heston in Bowling For Columbine.
To have influence, plug in to mainstream culture
Plane Stupid are a great example of an organisation with the ability to get noticed through direct action, and then to engage with the mainstream press with articulate, media-friendly spokespeople. Ad Busters may feel a bit dated now, but they played an important part in fermenting the “No Logo” backlash, plugging into mainstream brand culture and subverting it beautifully.
To create change, be bold
Finally, there is sheer boldness. For example, who can argue with the bravery and brilliance of attempting to place Robert Mugabe under citizen’s arrest? Peter Tatchell is really the archetype activist, along with people like Robert Hunter from Greenpeace and Keith Mann from the ALF.
These are a some of the activist types we’ve pulled out for discussion with Amnesty next week. Any other examples?