How Can an Exponential Mindset Drive Innovation?

True innovation challenges conventional thinking

How Can an Exponential Mindset Drive Innovation?

Jul 30, 2021

True innovation challenges conventional thinking

If we want to solve the most significant challenges in society, we need a similarly expansive vision for our work. Does our vision match the scale of the challenges we’re trying to solve?

We need to imagine what’s possible on a grand scale, but we also need to welcome broader representation. When it comes to #innovation, we need big thinking and more voices in the conversation—particularly within the field of #engineering.

Innovation means redefining possibilities

A recent conversation with Naveen Jain inspired a fresh perspective on how important mindset is in innovation. Jain is vice chairman of the board at Singularity University, where he educates leaders to address humanity’s greatest challenges through #technology. He is also the author of the book Moonshots: Creating a World of Abundance.

Jain has received numerous awards throughout his career, including the Albert Einstein Technology Medal for his pioneering work in technology. He is leading technology disruptions today that have the potential to reshape the world. For example, his company, Moon Express, is the only organisation with permission to harvest resources from the moon.

It was inspiring to discuss his early career as an industrial engineer, how life is our greatest mentor. Our discussion offered a fresh perspective on using an exponential mindset when considering the impact we can have on our global community.

Thank you to Camilita Nuttall for the space, and Professor Karen McFarlane and Naveen Jain for the conversation.

Diversity of ideas powers innovation

Diversity of ideas powers innovation

Ideas fuel innovation. But which ideas are important enough to warrant investment and attention? Who decides which problems need solving?

This talk by Nadia Ahmed highlights the work of Katalin Karikó, a scientist who did extensive work trying to use mRNA to fight disease. She spent years battling the obstacles in her way, and even though her work didn’t get funded, she didn’t give up.

People largely ignored Karikó’s work for decades until a few years ago, when Covid-19 became a global concern. Thanks to the decades of work that came before, two small biotech companies, BioNTech and Moderna, were able to create an mRNA Covid-19 vaccine in short order.

Innovation is about creating solutions that offer value to everyone in our society. We need people with different voices, backgrounds and experiences to look at problems from different perspectives.

Moving forward as a global community will require diverse voices to ask better questions and challenge conventional wisdom.

Mother of invention

What happens when we leave innovation in the hands of a select few? Identifying challenges faced by everyone in our global community requires a broader perspective.

Karikó’s experience is not unique, and many women face similar obstacles trying to get their work funded and achievements recognised.

A great resource on this topic is the book Mother of Invention: How Good Ideas Get Ignored in an Economy Built for Men by Katrine Marcal. She explores how our deeply ingrained ideas about gender actually hold us back and how desperately we need women’s ingenuity and intelligence.

Want inspiration from women engineers who are learning and leading in their industries? Get your free copy of How Women Engineers Are Changing The World today! 

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