The dynamics of innovation: on the multiplicity of the new
Innovation has become a leading slogan for world economies, politicians and science policy-makers alike. It is the driving force of Western consumer societies, which have come to expect the new to be replaced by the newest. However, in contrast to mere fads and fashions, the consequences of relentless innovation are real. They manifest themselves in changes in lifestyle, in the ways societies function and in profound changes in outlook and perception. This paper will ask how innovation became so central and which mechanisms sustain it in science and technology, art and individual life. One consequence to be further explored is the relative loss in importance of the individual creative act, with implications on how we view creativity, knowledge production and even the concept of the individual. Another question to be raised is that of the multiplicity of the new: despite the seeming diversity and multiplicity of option, is there also convergence or a process of synchronization at work?
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