Paul Masson set the context for the evening by presenting his research on maximizing innovation effectiveness. Drawing upon Aristotle, Darwin, and modern neuroscience, Masson made the case that there are inherent human tendencies of personal fulfillment, group engagement, cooperation and competition that are always in tension with one another.
The “Innovation Sweet Spot” is attained by keeping these tensions in balance with one another.
Masson weighed in with with personal experience of the challenges involved with trying to calibrate for the sweet spot in large-scale innovation projects such as national standards for flight control systems and developing an off-shore wind energy project in Nantucket Sound, MA.
There was a great deal of engagement by the evening’s participants. There was vigorous debate on the practical application of Massons concept. Given the breadth of backgrounds in the room, there was a multitude of interpretations.
It seems that the innovation sweet spot has a lot to do with awareness, of human nature, and how organizational structures affect the expression of human nature in ways that can facilitate or impede innovation.