Ingenuity

Last updated

Ingenuity is the quality of being clever, original, and inventive, often in the process of applying ideas to solve problems or meet challenges.

Contents

Etymology

Ingenuity (Ingenium) is the root Latin word for engineering. For example, the process of figuring out how to cross a mountain stream using a fallen log, building an airplane model from a sheet of paper, or starting a new company in a foreign culture all involve the exercising of ingenuity. Human ingenuity has led to various technological developments through applied science, and can also be seen in the development of new social organizations, institutions, and relationships. Ingenuity involves the most complex human thought processes, bringing together our thinking and acting both individually and collectively to take advantage of opportunities and/or overcome problems.

Engineering applied science

Engineering is the application of knowledge in the form of science, mathematics, and empirical evidence, to the innovation, design, construction, operation and maintenance of structures, machines, materials, devices, systems, processes, and organizations. The discipline of engineering encompasses a broad range of more specialized fields of engineering, each with a more specific emphasis on particular areas of applied mathematics, applied science, and types of application. See glossary of engineering.

Airplane structure, machine, or contrivance, especially a vehicle, designed to be supported by the air, either by the dynamic action of the air upon the surfaces of the structure or object or by its own buoyancy

An airplane or aeroplane is a powered, fixed-wing aircraft that is propelled forward by thrust from a jet engine, propeller or rocket engine. Airplanes come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and wing configurations. The broad spectrum of uses for airplanes includes recreation, transportation of goods and people, military, and research. Worldwide, commercial aviation transports more than four billion passengers annually on airliners and transports more than 200 billion tonne-kilometres of cargo annually, which is less than 1% of the world's cargo movement. Most airplanes are flown by a pilot on board the aircraft, but some are designed to be remotely or computer-controlled.

Applied science is the application of existing scientific knowledge to practical applications, like technology or inventions.

Application

One example of how ingenuity is used conceptually can be found in the analysis of Thomas Homer-Dixon, building on that of Paul Romer, to refer to what is usually called instructional capital . In this case, Homer-Dixon used the phrase 'ingenuity gap' denotes the space between a challenge and its solution. His particular contribution is to explore the social dimensions of ingenuity. Typically we think of ingenuity being used to build faster computers or more advanced medical treatments.

Thomas Homer-Dixon is a Canadian political scientist and University Research Chair at the University of Waterloo in the Faculty of Environment, and a professor at the Balsillie School of International Affairs in Waterloo, Canada.

Paul Romer American economist

Paul Michael Romer is an American economist, a pioneer of endogenous growth theory, and a co-recipient of the 2018 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. He received the prize "for integrating technological innovations into long-run macroeconomic analysis".

Instructional capital is a term used in educational administration after the 1960s, to reflect capital resulting from investment in producing learning materials.

Homer-Dixon argues that as the complexity of the world increases, our ability to solve the problems we face is becoming critical. Human ingenuity is also included in many school systems, with most teachers encouraging students to be educated in human ingenuity.

These challenges require more than improvements arising from physics, chemistry and biology, as one will need to consider the highly complex interactions of individuals, institutions, cultures, and networks involving all of the human family around the globe. Organizing ourselves differently, communicating and making decisions in new ways, are examples of social ingenuity. If one's ability to generate adequate solutions to these problems is inadequate, the ingenuity gap will lead to a wide range of social problems. The full exploration of these ideas in meeting social challenges is featured in The Ingenuity Gap , one of Thomas Homer-Dixon's earliest books.

In another of Homer-Dixon's books, The Up Side of Down , he argues that increasingly expensive oil, driven by scarcity, will lead to great social instability. Walking across an empty room requires very little ingenuity. If the room is full of snakes, hungry bears, and land mines, the ingenuity requirement will have gone up considerably.

Discussion/Argument

Ingenuity is often inherent in creative individuals, and thus is considered hard to separate from individual capital.

Creativity is a phenomenon whereby something new and somehow valuable is formed. The created item may be intangible or a physical object.

Individual capital, the economic view of talent, comprises inalienable or personal traits of persons, tied to their bodies and available only through their own free will, such as skill, creativity, enterprise, courage, capacity for moral example, non-communicable wisdom, invention or empathy, non-transferable personal trust and leadership.

It is not clear though if Dixon or Romer considered it impossible to do so, or if they were simply not familiar with the prior analysis of "applied ideas", "intellectual capital", "talent", or "innovation" where instructional and individual contributions have been carefully separated, by economic theorists.

Intellectual capital is the intangible value of a business, covering its people, the value relating to its relationships, and everything that is left when the employees go home, of which intellectual property (IP) is but one component. It is the sum of everything everybody in a company knows that gives it a competitive edge. The term is used in academia in an attempt to account for the value of intangible assets not listed explicitly on a company's balance sheets. On a national level intellectual capital refers to national intangible capital, NIC.
A second meaning that is used in academia and was adopted in large corporations is focused on the recycling of knowledge via knowledge management and intellectual capital management (ICM). Creating, shaping and updating the stock of intellectual capital requires the formulation of a strategic vision, which blends together all three dimensions of intellectual capital within the organisational context through exploration, exploitation, measurement, and disclosure. Intellectual capital is used in the context of assessing the wealth of organizations. A metric for the value of intellectual capital is the amount by which the enterprise value of a firm exceeds the value of its tangible assets. Directly visible on corporate books is capital embodied in its physical assets and financial capital; however all three make up the value of an enterprise. Measuring the real value and the total performance of intellectual capital's components is a critical part of running a company in the knowledge economy and Information Age. Understanding the intellectual capital in an enterprise allows leveraging of its intellectual assets. For a corporation, the result will optimize its stock price.

Innovation in its modern meaning is a "new idea, creative thoughts, new imaginations in form of device or method". Innovation is often also viewed as the application of better solutions that meet new requirements, unarticulated needs, or existing market needs. Such innovation takes place through the provision of more-effective products, processes, services, technologies, or business models that are made available to markets, governments and society. An innovation is something original and more effective and, as a consequence, new, that "breaks into" the market or society. Innovation is related to, but not the same as, invention, as innovation is more apt to involve the practical implementation of an invention to make a meaningful impact in the market or society, and not all innovations require an invention. Innovation often manifests itself via the engineering process, when the problem being solved is of a technical or scientific nature. The opposite of innovation is exnovation.

See also

Related Research Articles

Design can have different connotations in different fields of application, but there are two basic meanings of design: as a verb and as a noun.

Human capital is the stock of knowledge, habits, social and personality attributes, including creativity, embodied in the ability to perform labor so as to produce economic value. Human capital theory is closely associated with the study of human resources management as found in the practice of business administration and macroeconomics. The original idea of human capital can be traced back at least to Adam Smith in the 18th century. The modern theory was popularized by Gary Becker, an economist and Nobel Laureate from the University of Chicago, Jacob Mincer, and Theodore Schultz. As a result of his conceptualization and modeling work using Human Capital as a key factor, the Nobel Prize for Economics, 2018, was awarded (jointly) to Paul Romer who founded the modern innovation-driven approach to understanding economic growth.

A heuristic technique, often called simply a heuristic, is any approach to problem solving or self-discovery that employs a practical method, not guaranteed to be optimal, perfect, logical, or rational, but instead sufficient for reaching an immediate goal. Where finding an optimal solution is impossible or impractical, heuristic methods can be used to speed up the process of finding a satisfactory solution. Heuristics can be mental shortcuts that ease the cognitive load of making a decision. Examples that employ heuristics include using a rule of thumb, an educated guess, an intuitive judgment, a guesstimate, profiling, or common sense.

In economics, capital consists of an asset that can enhance one's power to perform economically useful work. For example, in a fundamental sense a stone or an arrow is capital for a caveman who can use it as a hunting instrument, while roads are capital for inhabitants of a city.

Creative problem-solving is the mental process of searching for an original and previously unknown solution to a problem. To qualify, the solution must be novel and reached independently.

Analytics discovery, interpretation, and communication of meaningful patterns in data

Analytics is the discovery, interpretation, and communication of meaningful patterns in data; and the process of applying those patterns towards effective decision making. In other words, analytics can be understood as the connective tissue between data and effective decision making, within an organization. Especially valuable in areas rich with recorded information, analytics relies on the simultaneous application of statistics, computer programming and operations research to quantify performance.

Environmental sociology The study of interactions between societies and their natural environments

Environmental sociology is the study of interactions between societies and their natural environments. The field emphasizes the social factors that influence environmental resource management and cause environmental issues, the processes by which these environmental problems are socially constructed and defined as social issues, and societal responses to these problems.

Policy analysis is a technique used in public administration to enable civil servants, activists, and others to examine and evaluate the available options to implement the goals of laws and elected officials. The process is also used in the administration of large organizations with complex policies. It has been defined as the process of "determining which of various policies will achieve a given set of goals in light of the relations between the policies and the goals." Policy analysis can be divided into two major fields:

Constructivism (philosophy of education) philosophical viewpoint about the nature of knowledge; theory of knowledge

Constructivism is a philosophical viewpoint about the nature of knowledge. Therefore, it represents an epistemological stance.

Problem solving consists of using generic or ad hoc methods in an orderly manner to find solutions to problems. Some of the problem-solving techniques developed and used in philosophy, artificial intelligence, computer science, engineering, mathematics, or medicine are related to mental problem-solving techniques studied in psychology.

<i>The Ingenuity Gap</i> book by Thomas Homer-Dixon

The Ingenuity Gap is a non-fiction book by Canadian academic Thomas Homer-Dixon. It was written over the course of eight years from 1992 to 2000 when it was published by Knopf. The book argues that the nature of problems faced by our society are becoming more complex and that our ability to implement solutions is not keeping pace. Homer-Dixon focuses upon complexities, unexpected non-linear results, and emergent properties. He takes an inter-disciplinary approach connecting political science with sociology, economics, history, and ecology.

Futures techniques used in the multi-disciplinary field of futures studies by futurists in Americas and Australasia, and futurology by futurologists in EU, include a diverse range of forecasting methods, including anticipatory thinking, backcasting, simulation, and visioning. Some of the anticipatory methods include, the delphi method, causal layered analysis, environmental scanning, morphological analysis, and scenario planning.

Vertical thinking

Vertical thinking is a type of approach to problems that usually involves one being selective, analytical, and sequential. It could be said that it is the opposite of lateral thinking. Unlike lateral thinking that involves using added intuition, risk taking, and imagination through unconscious and subconscious processes, vertical thinking consists of using more of a conscious approach via rational assessment in order to take in information or make decisions. This type of thinking encourages individuals to employ a sequential approach to solving problem where a creative and multidirectional response are seen as imprudent. Vertical thinkers prefer to rely on external data and facts in order avoid failure or counterfactual thinking.

Crowdsourcing is a sourcing model in which individuals or organizations obtain goods and services, including ideas and finances, from a large, relatively open and often rapidly-evolving group of internet users; it divides work between participants to achieve a cumulative result. The word crowdsourcing itself is a portmanteau of crowd and outsourcing, and was coined in 2005. As a mode of sourcing, crowdsourcing existed prior to the digital age.

The engineering design process is a methodical series of steps that engineers use in creating functional products and processes. The process is highly iterative - parts of the process often need to be repeated many times before another can be entered - though the part(s) that get iterated and the number of such cycles in any given project may vary.

…It is a decision making process in which the basic sciences, mathematics, and engineering sciences are applied to convert resources optimally to meet a stated objective. Among the fundamental elements of the design process are the establishment of objectives and criteria, synthesis, analysis, construction, testing and evaluation.

Civic intelligence is an "intelligence" that is devoted to addressing public or civic issues. The term has been applied to individuals and, more commonly, to collective bodies, like organizations, institutions, or societies.

Human-centered design (HCD) [also Human-centred design, as used in ISO standards] is a design and management framework that develops solutions to problems by involving the human perspective in all steps of the problem-solving process. Human involvement typically takes place in observing the problem within context, brainstorming, conceptualizing, developing, and implementing the solution.

The environmental sustainability problem has proven difficult to solve. The modern environmental movement has attempted to solve the problem in a large variety of ways. But little progress has been made, as shown by severe ecological footprint overshoot and lack of sufficient progress on the climate change problem. Something within the human system is preventing change to a sustainable mode of behavior. That system trait is systemic change resistance. Change resistance is also known as organizational resistance, barriers to change, or policy resistance.

Policy entrepreneur refers to an individual who takes advantage of opportunities to influence policy outcomes to increase their self-interests. The term was first coined by American political scientist John W. Kingdon in his influential work Agendas, Alternatives and Public Policies published in 1995. Kingdon created the Multiple Streams Framework (MSF) which outlines that the policy process can be situated into problems, policy and politics. Political entrepreneurs are most active in the policy stream, creating solutions to potential problems and bringing them forth to the agenda setting process. The Multiple Streams Framework is a powerful tool to understand policy making and agenda setting. It was first created to analyze and understand agenda setting in the United States. Policy entrepreneurs are the most important actors in the Multiple Streams Framework, as they develop policy alternatives and couple them with problems to present solutions to policy makers at the right time. He himself describes them as "advocates who are willing to invest their resources - time, energy, reputation, money - to promote a position in return for anticipated future gain in the form of material, purposive or solidary benefits" Policy entrepreneurs use innovative ideas and non-traditional strategies to influence society, create opportunities, and promote desired policy outcomes. Policy entrepreneurship usually happens over three phases. It starts with a demand in the political landscape for some form of innovation involving a public good. Secondly, an innovative policy instrument is proposed to supply that demand. Lastly, strategies are used such as team building, problem definition, and leadership by example to make certain that the innovation is placed on the agenda. Unlike a public intellect who strives to assert themselves into many different topics and be publicly vocal, a policy entrepreneur will focus on specific topics and possibly work behind the scenes with state and political elite.