Innovation Systems: A PersonalPerspective
Five Questions about Innovation Systems
Complexity: A Guided Tour
, Melanie Mitchell wrote about a series of questionsthat were being circulated among complexity scientists. I liked the questions verymuch and thought that they also applied to work on innovation systems. So, I’vemodified them for that application:1. Why did you begin working with innovation systems?2. How would you define an innovation system?3. What is your favorite aspect /concept of innovation systems?4. In your opinion, what is the most problematic aspect/concept of innovationsystems?5. How do you see the future of innovation systems?
Why did you begin working with innovation systems?
I think that I’ve always been interested in innovation. That interest turned inaddition to all the other aspects of innovation as I grew older. Things like creativity,leadership, innovation systems, and many others at one time or another caught myattention.My earliest memory of innovation was my fascination with the Tom Swift series of books. Tom Swift is the central character in five series of juvenile science fiction andadventure novels that emphasize science, invention, and technology. They hadtitles like Tom Swift and His Photo Telephone, one that predated the actualinvention. The first book was published in 1910 and the latest one in 2007. Theoriginal Tom Swift has been claimed to represent the early 20th-century conceptionof inventors. Tom has no formal education past the high school level; his ability toinvent is presented as "somehow innate". Tom is not a theorist but an experimenterwho, with his research team, finds practical applications for others' research. I’msure that these stories developed in me the concept of the lone inventor who could