Chapter 14: Innovation and information: Smooth and ongoing change, or turbulence and cognitive over-stress? On the complex deep structure of innovation
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This chapter investigates the relationship between information and innovation in a complexity-economics and specifically evolutionary-institutional perspective. Rather than being some trivial change “towards the better”, “innovative” change in complex adaptive systems (CAS) may be completely blocked or emerge too slowly or fragile and prone to repeated setbacks. In CAS, the given complexity and resulting dynamics may be perceived by agents as an over-complex decision situation and over-turbulence, prohibitive or largely counterproductive to innovation. Basic information may be simultaneously scarce and abundant, compared to the limited cognitive and computational capacities of human agents. We provide an overview of the recent innovation literature, criticize the simplistic “equilibration” world-view, interpret the basic model of “evolution of cooperation” in terms of information and innovation implications, consider the significance of network structures and of “self-organization” mechanisms, and derive the policy perspectives involved. We conclude with a research outlook on radical novelty and surprise.

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