The fever for innovation, was precipitated I guess by Darwin. This idea that change is good and necessary does not figure much in the minds of men and women, prior to sometime well after the Napoleonic Wars, and reached a climax I guess in the nineteen seventies and eighties. More recently the fashionable word is 'Disrupt.' It's essentially innovation at all costs, and primarily it doesn't apply to us as a set of genes, we've been the same creature for two hundred thousand years, but it does apply to the crap we produce and continue to produce. Which means for me at least, I can go into a hardware store and buy a nozzle for the hosepipe, and while I am waiting in the queue for my 'have a nice day' I can say to myself, "This nozzle is very inexpensive, I should probably get two of them.." Then after the excitement of attaching my new nozzle to its hosepipe, I marvel at its efficiency and how well the on/off switch works, and by the end of the afternoon, through no fault of my own, the damn thing's broken, and it's irreparable.
More critical to the success of 'Disrupt' is the idea of chaos. The world
is deemed to be entirely disorderly and any moment now it will descend into a
wasteland where there will no longer be such things as dishwashers, or hosepipe
nozzles and no one will ever again be able to spend their weeklong holiday in
Cancun and we'll all be dying of hunger and without air-conditioning. It's
this idea of chaos that offers 'Disrupt' its justification, and has found its
way deep into the heart of what is rather politely called 'Business Management.'
"Disrupt or die" is the slogan which I guess has replaced the somewhat nicer
idea of innovate, where one can at least preserve an idea of progress, rather
than have to think of it in terms of just a bunch of people engaged by a
definition of goodness that arises from the truly baser inclinations.
Innovate suggests something useful and lasting, but 'disrupt' might indeed be a
truer expression of who we are and what we've been trying to do for the past
two, maybe five, hundred thousand years.