Annual Applied Complexity Network and Board of Trustees Symposium: Invention and Innovation

From Santa Fe Institute Events Wiki

Revision as of 18:02, 28 August 2018 by Hammond (talk | contribs)


November 9 - 10, 2018
Santa Fe Institute

Invention is an activity of great uncertainty, greater interest, and overwhelming significance. The progress of life and civilizations can be told through the lens of inventions, and in culture, their inventors and supporters. From the evolution of life and ecosystems, to the invention of writing and mathematics, water clocks to atomic clocks, calculators to computers, and monarchies to democracies.

We believe that just as Darwin’s theory describes evolutionary processes giving rise to invention and innovation in biology, so too might a complexity theory of invention and innovation describe the emergence and survival of novelty across the technological, social, economic, and biological domains.

A useful distinction is that between invention and innovation. Invention is the creation of something new, while an innovation is a successful invention -- a transformative variety of newness. Both are essential for evolutionary processes, and each is influenced, modulated and controlled by a variety of distinct individual, collective, and cultural factors. We seek to isolate and analyze these factors, searching for new ideas and mechanisms that could lead to the acceleration of invention and the control of innovation.

Our 2018 ACtioN symposium will focus on The Emerging Frontiers of Invention. Although we are still working on this meeting's exact positioning, abstract, and speaker list, the content will draw heavily on SFI's Invention and Innovation research theme (details here). We suspect that insights from our March ACtioN meeting on the Complexity of the Patent System (details here) and our April ACtioN meeting on Platforms (details here) might also influence the aspects of Invention and Innovation highlighted at the Symposium.

An updated meeting description is forthcoming. In the interim, a recent issue of the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B provides some insights into the "SFI-Complexity View" of Invention and Innovation. This special Innovation-themed issue of the journal featured seven articles that were either authored or co-authored by SFI faculty or postdocs. An overview can be found here, and the issue itself can be found here.