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Insights / Event summary

11 Dec 2020 / 2 min read

Do We Need to Rethink Innovation?

Chatham House / Online / 11 December 2020, 13:00–14:00 GMT

Attendees view 200 OLED digital screens at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images.

Watch the event video


Bernice Lee, Hoffmann Distinguished Fellow for Sustainability, Chatham House

André Hoffmann, Vice-Chairman of the Board, Roche Holding Ltd

Sarah Hunter, Director of Global Public Policy, X (formerly Google X)

Jeff Carbeck, CEO, 10EQS

Chair: Gian Volpicelli, Senior Editor, WIRED UK

COVID-19 and the search for solutions is forcing us to rethink innovation. Forget the sacred cows and myths around founding geniuses, corporate innovation culture and crowd-pleasing backstories which often end in failure.

The cold reality is that getting meaningful and durable solutions to markets rely on a succession of collaborations and breakthroughs over time. Overcoming misguided fascination with early-stage innovation and other problems requires more learning by doing and radical collaboration for scaling.

In this session, the panellists explored how to harness capabilities of all the relevant players – whether start-ups, large corporations, universities or governments – in order to scale the provision of socially desirable goods and services.

The panellists also discussed how most areas of society could benefit from rethinking some of the old architecture in order to drive the scaling of solutions needed to solve some of today’s most pressing challenges.