Roots of innovation

In this month’s issue of Wired, there is a humorous article about the mainstreaming of geek culture and its effects on innovation. The writer (comedian Patton Oswalt) contends that the genesis of innovation is dissatisfaction, and that given the current penchant for instant gratification and diversion through such media as the Internet we threaten to lull ourselves into complacency.

How very unzen.

How very Orwellian.

Humor aside, there are some interesting points to consider.

If we reach the pinnacle of Mazlow’s pyramid, are our intellectual appetites doomed to atrophy?

Or is the implication that we will be trapped on a lower level, lacking the motivation to reach self-actualization?

Whatever the answers might be, I like Oswalt’s solution:  make sure that pop culture sucks, so that counterculture may rise from the ashes.  And, I suspect we’re pretty much already heading down that path.


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