The MIT Technology Review is out with 10 breakthrough technologies of 2014.

It makes us wonder…..

What is innovation with a conscience?

Is all science/technology/invention/innovation inherently good?


Innovation which is good does NOT:

-profit from people’s addictions, fear, greed, and gluttony

-end in overflowing landfills

-perpetuate models that don’t work in industries which are unsustainable

-whitewash underlying issues for the next leader/generation to fix

-solve only the problems or fulfill the desires of a small part of the world population


Innovation which is good DOES:

-accomplish things you’re glad to tell your children about

-steward empathy and humanity, while emerging from the same

-include as many people as possible in the co-creation and the solution

-have a “market value” AND leave the world a better place…leave us better people for it

-channel “cosmos into the chaos”, because good innovation is art, as Sarah Lewis beautifully articulates in her MIT Tech Rev interview.


Look around you.  Where do you see good vs not so good innovation?  When do you DO good vs not so good innovation, whether you are a scientist/engineer or not?  MIT is not the only arbiter of good innovation.  It’s up to all of us.  Everything on this most recent top 10 list could be used to make the world a better place…or not.  These are just technologies.

Innovation is an incomplete thought.  Innovation is as human as any of our endeavors.  It starts with a question – a gap between what it is and what can be.  The solution doesn’t even have to be a new technology; in fact, we can have an abundant world leveraging just what we know today.  Why don’t we?

We can measure the rate of innovation  (growth in revenues, % new products and services, GDP growth, etc.), but how do we know we’re getting better not just bigger? How do we measure the impact of innovation beyond profit and shareholder value?  How do we align innovation with our conscience?


When we do, we’re heading in the right direction.


Photo credit:  MIT Technology Review, March/April 2014, “They’ve made designer monkeys with genome editing; are humans next?”

Thanks to Eva Basilion for her contributions to this post.

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An Antidote to Our Empathy Deficit Disorder


An Antidote to Our Empathy Deficit Disorder

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