Increasingly, we’re worried that a generation of entrepreneurs is facing a “new innovators dilemma” — where innovation is stymied by regulatory and political environments focused on outdated needs and the wrong set of “customers.” The truth is, Silicon Valley investors and techies will get by just fine without addressing our big, societal problems. But if we encourage our nation’s top entrepreneurs to join search engines and social networks, we will miss the opportunity to apply their genius to solving society’s most pressing problems.
In recent years, we have seen more and more politicians and policymakers around the country coming to Silicon Valley. Meanwhile, tech entrepreneurs are taking an increased interest in the national political debate. Politicians and wonks are inspired by the pace at which innovation is transforming our lives — and often find kindred spirits among bright minds working tirelessly to tackle big, complex social problems. But as entrepreneurs and innovators enter the political realm, they are all too often frustrated by familiar patterns and barriers to innovation and reform.
In his seminal work, Clayton Christensen coined the phrase “innovator’s dilemma” to describe the risk of putting too much emphasis on today’s needs, while failing to embrace the new models and technology that will define the future. His book has become a must read for a generation of entrepreneurs looking to effect disruption — and a generation of executives looking to avoid being sent to the corporate graveyard by an upstart competitor. Read more here.