Vinsel spoke yesterday at the SOH Festival of Dangerous ideas. It was a slightly annoying session – I wanted to believe and disbelieve (in innovation) at the same time. In his talk, I felt Vinsel argued one-sidedly the dichotomy between ‘innovators’ and ‘maintainers’, without acknowledging the sense I felt all the way through, that it’s a question of balance of both (and more). My concerns were partially addressed on the day – Vinsel noted his comments were ‘polemical’, but better mollified in the comments of his original post, where (in response to comments about the Maker movement) he notes, ‘This work is polemical obviously, and my strategy in it was to pull together things that aren’t juxtaposed frequently enough… some of what I say is unfair–or at least is only partial–but that’s the nature of the genre.‘
My feeling is that innovation remains very valid, but I share a lot of Vinsel’s concerns about both its (1) being used as a panacea (and/ or proxy) for many other (critically important) things, and (2) the increasing use of innovation jargon/ rhetoric, to obscure what is really going on.
So, I feel that a better understanding of Vinsel’s concerns is going to help me a lot better in understanding and performing my day job, and a few things besides.
More to come, I hope.