Improved knowledge of creativity and innovation in groups and organizations — a great deal of research and writing has been done in this area partly spurred by the success of the Japanese in the 1970’s, and 80’s and partly by increased specialization requiring more emphasis on team work.
Recognition of the cyclical nature of interest in creativity and innovation as a function of the economy (it rises when the economy is down), national goals (go to the moon), and breakthroughs in science and technology (digital electronics and genetic engineering)—It is so high now it resembles a management fad. What will the future look like?
The computer/internet explosion— An obvious aid in access to information, solving problems, communicating, providing new tools (CAD/CAM), and a source of new business opportunities. But it is a work in progress, demands much time and energy, and may seduce people away from complex ventures and the type of innovation involved in major projects—upgrading the infrastructure in the U.S. is a larger and more important venture and requires much more investment and effort than that required to come up with an internet startup that can make a few people some money.
Globalization—A positive factor. Provides increased competition and markets, demolishes stereotypes, results in more attention paid to intellectual property, and requires more knowledge of other cultures.
Increasing population — approaches to solving problems that used to work (automobiles in cities —disposable items) become less effective and desirable as population increases and resources become more scarce, requiring increased and larger scale creativity/innovation and recognition of the increasing role of politics in the process.
Dawning realization that ever increasing pressure for short term profits and fast growth can be detrimental to creativity and innovation, and in particular to product quality.