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BEST INNOVATIONS DON’T ALWAYS COME FROM THE EXPERTS

This time, our guest bloggers come from the resource-efficient business research group at Turku University of Applied Sciences.

Malcom Gladwell wrote in his famous book Outliers that world’s most talented people made their way since they mastered their expertise through 10,000 hours of practice and experience.

However, some people think that the greatest innovations may not always come from the experts with narrow scope of expertise but rather from people outside the field.

The founder of the World Innovation Institute, Naveen Jain, argues that “people who will come up with creative solutions to solve the world’s biggest problems will NOT be experts in their fields. The real disruptors will be those individuals who are not steeped in one industry of choice, with those coveted 10,000 hours of experience, but instead, individuals who approach challenges with a clean lens, bringing together diverse experiences, knowledge and opportunities.”

Jain thinks that experts are in danger of becoming robots who aim at the goal but will not always be able to connect the dots. “Those down in the weeds are likely to miss the big picture.” Another problem with the experts is that they think they know it all, ignoring data that don’t fit their point of view. It is also true that the digital revolution with all the open-source data available for anybody anytime and anywhere will give us a greater base from which to start innovating.

The question is, where do we find these imaginative innovators who want to change society for the better with the power of new ideas?

We, at the Turku University of Applied Sciences (TUAS), see students as an asset for companies. The innovative force of the students is brought out with the help of innovation pedagogy, a learning approach developed by TUAS. Innopeda® combines studies with cooperation with working life actors. We encourage students to work in multidisciplinary groups, give them innovation tools and most important of all, we give room for error, a space where to try out their ideas. All we need, are the brave companies who dare to try something new.

The experts have a lot to give to the eager students, their know-how and experience. Co-operation that works in two ways has a lot more to give and everybody has the possibility to win. We should learn to listen to each other and to share information and knowledge in different innovation and learning networks.

We talk a lot about innovations and they are said to be the lifeline for Finland from the economic downturn into a new rise. There will always be a need for speacialization. By working together, we can come up with something fresh, something outside the box.

The writers: Sara Malve & Piia Nurmi from our partner, Turku University of Applied Sciences

Photo: Joonas Salo

Text: Katri