"Innovation" implies changing what is. "Transformation" implies creating what's new. That's what we need today, a huge amount of totally "new."
Nussbaum and I don't quite mean the same thing by "transformation." My book is about how individuals change themselves. He is talking about corporations, organizations and societies.
But I expect there are structural similarities.
1) new notions of structure
1a) as a result of transformational activities, the contemporary individual builds a complicated, messy selfhood. As one of my respondents told me, "I like to think of myself as a cheap motel. There are lots of people living here, not all of them on speaking terms." If once we thought about the self as something with a certain structural clarity, now we don't. So the selfhood built by 19th century Victorians and 20th century modernists, these now look overdetermined and way too simple.
1b) corporations and societies have their own, new and growing, multiplicity, as they admit more people and more functions, and as they acknowledge a complexity that was always there in any case. The contemporary corporation is a marvel of complexity, as is the contemporary world. Now we expect our larger units of organizations to depart from the command and control chart. It's a flatter world and a less boundaried one. The division of labor and the distribution of power is less clear. (The office of the Mayor of New York City, Michael Blumberg, is sometimes used here as a case in point.)
2) how to we manage this new kind of complexity
2a) there is a sort of just in time quality. Personal lives have taken on an improvisational quality. We don't have standing roles and objectives so much as we engage in an ongoing process of informed, and we hope inspired improv.
2b) Corporations too. In the last 20 years we have seen the death of long range planning and the five year plan. Now we look to complexity theory, sense and respond models. This is one of the reason that power is more distributed. Key decisions must sometimes be made on the spot by the personnel in place. Sending things up the hierarchy and waiting for their return would take too long.
3) So how does the "executive" (decision making) function work now?
3a) This is the big challenge for individuals and it reguires new powers of pattern recognition, the ability to skip from one interpretive frame to another, a willingness to see where the world has changed and the new responses that are called for (even when it takes us out of our "comfort zone")
3b) go figure. It's identical for the corporation. Only the nouns have been changed. Thus: This is the big challenge for the corporation and it reguires new powers of pattern recognition, the ability to skip from one interpretive frame to another, a willingness to see where the world has changed and the new responses that are called for (even when it takes us out of our "comfort zone").
Nussbaum, Bruce. 2008. "Innovation" is Dead. Herald the Birth of "Transformation" as the Key Concept for 2009. Nussbaum on Design. BusinessWeek. December 31, 2008. here.
Nussbaum, Bruce. 2009. The Transformation Conversation. Nussbaum on Design. Businessweek. here.
McCracken, Grant. 2008. Transformations. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. here.