Allison Arieff at frog design interviewed Steven M. Johnson (not to be confused with the other smart Steven Berlin Johnson who wrote Where Good Ideas Come From). He talks about his crazy ideas, his time at Honda R&D and what innovation means to him:
Innovation seems to be a modern habit that cannot be halted; the entire world is on an innovation binge. It is almost a part of the modern belief system that innovation is a positive good. And in a world economic system where imitation, theft, and first-to-market are a reality, the drumbeat of innovation for purposes of beating the competition beats ever more loudly. Yet in some older traditions, for example within religious cultures, there was a negative stigma attached to innovation for innovation’s sake. We see that the watchword for companies now is to “innovate.” This refers not only to product design, but also to corporate management structure, supply-chain matters, and so forth. The banking industry has been innovative in creating new financial tools like hedge funds.