What can we learn from Carlota Perez?

13.12.2012 Blog

Carlota Perez is one of the world’s most influential thinkers on innovation and its relationship with economic growth and development. She describes ‘great surges of development’ which are enabled by paradigm shifting technologies that emerge roughly every 50 years. These technological revolutions can be defined as ‘a major upheaval of the wealth-creating potential of the economy, opening a vast innovation opportunity space and providing a new set of associated generic technologies, infrastructures and organisational principles that can significantly increase the efficiency and effectiveness of all industries and activities’. 

Perez has argued that the current economic crisis marks a point of transition from the old techno-economic paradigm based on oil, to a new paradigm based on ICT. Moreover, she argues that these new technologies will shape the nature and direction of innovation in the coming period. But what implications does this analysis have for social innovation? Will these new technologies shape the nature and direction of social innovation in the same way as it will affect innovation in business and technology? In this short paper we examine a number of emerging innovation trends and see whether and how they might be applicable to the social field. 

Read the full paper here.