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Innovation vs. Wisdom



The keyword in the phrase “sustainable innovation” is sustainability. It is one thing to have a good idea in theory, but many good ideas that have prematurely been put into practice, have had unanticipated negative results. The phrase ‘sustainable innovation’ is almost an oxymoron. On one side you have innovation, which is the creative factor of walking on uncharted territory; every thriving society needs innovation. On the other side, we have sustainable, meaning stable and efficient.

Sustainability requires a good deal of experience.

What good is innovation if it does not stick? In order to foresee sustainability, one must have sound wisdom. For example, someone who is young and newly elected to office might have the creativity needed to see economic possibility, yet lack the foresight to see if that creativity will pan out to his or her intention. Without this foresight, they are using the public’s money for innovative ideas that cannot be guaranteed. That mayor, not having experience and wisdom, is essentially gambling and rolling dice on the public’s dime.

When you have a mayor or another elected official who has many ‘good ideas’ yet does not have the experience of foreseeing sustainability, your city is basically walking on eggshells.

And furthermore, to use these conceptual ideas, that have not panned out to their fullest results, as a means to be re-elected is borderline impolitic.

Prudence; being cautiousness, is definitely an attribute any elected official should have. What good does bringing in corporate retailers have if the surrounding area becomes decay; as many studies have shown to happen. For example, you have created jobs for the city, at the expense of people losing property value and crime rates going up. Or even then, you have brought in big business, yet they do not make business because of unforeseen circumstance; like location, lack of interest, mouse problem etc. We all know what happened to Sam’s Club.

Another consequence of lacking foresight comes with bringing big businesses into the city; it has a detrimental effect on small business. If a city pride’s itself on small business, and even goes as far as giving grants to small business, then it might as well give those grants to the corporate competition that it is bringing in. You cannot have it both ways.

Ultimately as we approach the mayoral election, we should look for balance between innovation and the wisdom that is required to maintain and predict any unwanted consequences.

Both are equally as important, and neither is good without the other.

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