I have a background in disruptive creation. I have produced around 3400 different patented inventions, and my life goal is to reach 10,000. So, I will say that my DBA classes on innovation have been instrumental. While many people would believe this to be sufficient, I believe that the purpose of our minds, and our role as humans, lies in creating and developing ideas. In some ways, I embrace the notion of the characters within works by Ayn Rand, or at least aim at such a purpose.
Christensen et al. (2006) built on the idea of disruptive innovation initially promoted by Schumpeter (Ziemnowicz, 1942), who saw capitalism as a problem with society and that the continuous change of innovation would lead to adverse outcomes. Like Keynes (1971), such economists and writers confuse their own lack of vision with a possible future and allow the fear of the future he felt to undermine positive aspects of change. Rather than seeing the benefits of innovation, such economists saw only a world without work or effort. They promoted a system designed to impress socialism, because of their fear.
It is crucial to understand the widespread benefits that innovation delivers. Rand (Rand et al., 1986) envisioned a future where people would create. This future, where minds are the wellsprings of relentless innovation, is not the realm of dreams—but an attainable reality. It is a vision where individuals are not enslaved by the drudgery of necessity but propelled by the invigorating winds of creativity and free enterprise. It is a world where innovation is not the harbinger of despair but the beacon of hope and prosperity.
It is essential here to distance oneself from the myopic perceptions of innovation propounded by the likes of Keynes and Schumpeter. Their interpretation of capitalism as a disruptive force, perpetually on the verge of spiralling into chaos, reeks of fear-induced paralysis, an apprehension of what lies beyond the known. Their predictions of a world rendered jobless and effortless by innovation and automation are, at best, the products of an anxious mind shying away from the unknown.
Such forebodings echo the sentiments of Keynes, another visionary plagued by his fear of the future, blinded by the uncertainties it held. Their works reflect their anxiety and apprehension of a future dictated by relentless change and the relentless march of technology. Contrarily, they should have embraced the transformative power of disruptive innovation. They failed to see that it was not an engine of destruction but a fountainhead of prosperity. They failed to recognize that it could obliterate the old but also give birth to new, better systems, greater efficiencies, and a brighter future.
Given such vision, Ayn Rand’s philosophy stands out as a beacon of hope. She did not dread the advent of innovation; she celebrated it. She did not cower in the face of disruptive change; she welcomed it. In her world, individuals were not the helpless victims of disruptive change, but its architects. Her heroes were the creators, innovators, and disruptors, the individuals who dared to think, question, and invent.
In essence, this philosophy urges us to conquer fear and embrace change. It encourages us to seek out the silver lining in disruption and view it not as a threat but as an opportunity for growth and development. It reminds us that innovation is not the enemy but an ally—a tool through which we can shape our futures and the world. We must not fear change; we must embrace it. We must not shirk from innovation; we must seek it out, for it is through innovation that we can realize the full potential of our minds and truly fulfil our role as creators.
Christensen, C. M., Baumann, H., Ruggles, R., & Sadtler, T. M. (2006). Disruptive innovation for social change. Harvard Business Review, 84(12), 94.
Keynes, J. M. (1971). The collected writings of John Maynard Keynes (1st ed.). Macmillan.
Rand, A., Branden, N., Greenspan, A., & Hessen, R. (1986). Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal. Penguin.
Ziemnowicz, C. (1942). Joseph A. Schumpeter and innovation. Socialism and Democracy, 2(1), 2–4.