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Addressing the privilege problem in innovation

Alf Rehn explains why the discourse around innovation needs to change and how the industry can begin to address inherent bias.

Who doesn’t love innovation? For years we’ve been taught that it is a magical engine of goodness, bringing amazing technologies and wonderful services to one and all.

For many of us it has been a cornucopia, a horn of plenty, always ready to make our already comfortable lives a little easier, a little smoother, a little more amazing. No wonder we have celebrated it as much as we have. It has brought us great things and promised us even more to come.

That said, not everyone has benefited equally from what some have called the golden age of innovation. Today, if you are a well-to-do urban professional, there is no end to the things you can beckon at the tap of an app button – food of all kinds delivered, a chauffeur to your door, and as many handymen and cleaners as you like. Nor is there an end to the noise cancelling headphones or smart home technologies you can buy. Feel like having an apartment in Paris or a villa in Tuscany for a while? Tap, tap, tap, done. Don’t feel like walking, but want some fresh air?

Here, have an e-scooter. Don’t worry, you can dump it in any location when you get bored with it.

This is an extract from Business and Management Magazine, Issue 278, October 2019.

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