The summer has passed. Times during which leaving the house felt like entering a steam bath are over. Days are getting shorter and it’s time to swap shorts and T-shirts for the knitted jumper from your grandma. It’s a lazy Sunday, one of those where you don’t want to leave your cosy warm bed but if you do, you sneak straight onto your sofa, pull out a blanket and decide not to move any further. You look outside the window. It starts raining. The universal signal for ordering food and turning on Netflix.
While zapping through the media library of your smart TV you come across documentaries and news episodes discussing recent global challenges: The Ukraine war, emerging right-wing parties, resource scarcity, skyrocketing inflation rates, and to add insult to injury – the climate change.
You turn off the TV and start brooding. Crises have been omnipresent throughout human history. Nevertheless, global prosperity is constantly rising. These days, large parts of our global society can sit on their sofa on a rainy Sunday, watching a movie and ordering food via their smartphone. So, there must be something that helped generations over generations to overcome the adversities of their time.
These days we call it innovation, or innovative spirit. According to the oxford dictionary “[innovation is] the introduction of new things, ideas, or ways of doing something.”
However, during the last years, the term became the victim of global leaders who tried to save dusty structures and processes from extinction. Position papers were written, accelerators founded, departments and study programs established. Innovation was the magic wand. Having a few individuals who knew how to handle one considered it enough to change the status quo. However, innovation is neither just a tool, nor can change be achieved by just a handful. Even Harry needed some guidance and a more than just a bunch of fellows, with a magic wand and the right “mindset”.
Innovation has always been around. It helped humanity to prosper, to overcome its greatest challenges and to build the foundation of today’s livelihood. It is the capability and willingness of individuals to think beyond the status quo, to imagine something that might seem impossible or even ridiculous today and to solve problems and challenges with limited means.
Some of the greatest inventions in history are based on innovative thinking: the computer, electric light, the automotive, the assembly line, the internet. Innovation is happening everywhere at any time. In private households, schools, and companies. Innovation is not exclusive to a few outstanding minds, researchers, or large companies, it is part of each and everyone’s life.
It would be presumptuous to claim that innovation could suddenly change the fate of people in a war zone. However, innovative thinking and ideas can help to improve the status quo of our global society and reduce the influence of individuals’ misbehaviour on the wellbeing of groups and societies.
If we honestly strive to improve the status quo of humanity, every one of us needs to rethink their deeds and actions. Not all of us will invent the next hydrogen powered car, support in populating planet Mars or reinvent the internet. However, we all can and must contribute to the innovation of our daily life. Be it in private or at work. It may be as simple as getting rid of plastic straws, finding ideas to make our homes smarter, or even questioning our tasks and processes at work.
Innovation is far from being a Sunday stroll. It requires courage, an eager mind, indulgence, and patience with your fellow humans. As human beings we not only have the right but the obligation to contribute to the wellbeing of our global society. Even if it requires turning off Netflix on a rainy Sunday afternoon and rethinking the status quo.
Special thanks to John O’Brien and Gregory Pitl for their valuable feedback on this article.
Tobias is an Innovation Analyst at PATRIZIA’s TechLab – Change & Innovation, focussing on the creation of digital products and the development of digital distribution channels. Be it the contribution to the proceedings of the German funds industry (BVI), discussing about the future of Real Estate (TheTokenized), contributing to current research on product development (Thesis) or the internal education on Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT). As part of the TechLab – Change & Innovation Tobias knows about the importance of Technology and Innovation for the future of PATRIZIA and supports the topics strategically and operationally. He has been at PATRIZIA since 2018 making his way from an intern at the portfolio management in Luxembourg to the sphere of Technology and Innovation in Berlin. During his master’s degree in international information systems, he wrote his thesis on real estate tokenisation together with the T&I department, gaining hands-on experience on the technical and financial structuring of Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) - based investment products. Tobias believes DLT will shape the world of tomorrow, loves spending time in the nature and thinks oat milk should be mandatory rather than an option at our offices.