In 2014, Carnegie Mellon University brought its Engineering, Design and Business faculties together via a common knowledge sharing platform. The idea was to bind functional performance, human interface and economic value for a more rounded approach to growth. This would involve coordinated thinking on the most pressing scientific, technological and economic challenges. This marriage of the disciplines was not intended to lessen their individual value, but rather to highlight the powerful synergies that can be realised by alignment. They called it Integrated Innovation.
Inclusive Integrated Innovation takes this a step further by spotlighting the importance of social responsibility in these questions. I think of 3I as involving three considerations.
The first is empirical innovation: are we reinventing the wheel? Does the solution to our problem already exist – either in current or modified form? And, if not, how do we assess the potential of untried and untested concepts?
Next is business innovation: how can we deliver appropriate, high-quality solutions and services where and when they are needed at an accessible price point?
Finally, there is social innovation: contexts differ, and what works in one place is not guaranteed to work elsewhere. We must always ensure that our proposed solutions are sensitive to the unique character of the places in which we wish to see them implemented.
If you think of these three considerations as the circles of a Venn diagram, the point at which they all intersect is where you find true Inclusive Integrated Innovation.
When looking to tackle our changing climate, we must adopt a 3I mindset. This will be evidence based and process driven. It will require genuine stakeholder engagement, from policy makers to on-the-ground communities. We must be courageous, embracing out-of-the-box ideation and committing ambitious levels of resource – both financial and human – to the challenge. But we must also be cautious, by thoroughly testing and validating our concepts, tracking the results and analysing them without prejudice.