Why innovation threatens progress

How to survive our path of destruction

Innovation is the hottest word in business and an ideology that reaches ever further into our lives. Not only does innovation-hype fail to deliver, but our obsession with the new distracts us from the work that matters most. Andrew L. Russell calls out the delusion and outlines how we can escape innovation’s path of destruction.


An old air conditioner, poorly installed and maintained, threw out sparks on a warm night in early September 2018. The damage from the fire that ensued would not have been so devastating if the building had a sprinkler system, or fire doors, or fire hoses. But the building had not received its full annual maintenance budget since 2014 and had even closed temporarily in 2015 when it could not afford to pay its cleaning and security staff—people we would today refer to as “essential workers.”

The building that burned was Brazil’s National Museum, located in a modest section of Rio de Janeiro. The National Museum was home

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