Anchoring Innovation: A Humanities View on Innovation – Presented by André Lardinois, OIKOS

Anchoring Innovation: A Humanities View on Innovation – Presented by André Lardinois, OIKOS, at the Knowledge Innovation Summit, which takes place on Jun 5, 2018, at Eindhoven University of Technology.

In this paper I will present the first results of a research programme on innovation processes in Antiquity, which is conducted by a large group of Classicists in the Netherlands through a Gravitation Grant, awarded in 2017.

Our contention is that the past can offer valuable insights in the success or failures of innovations, also in present day society. One thing the past teaches us is that an important condition for the success of an innovation is that people can perceive a meaningful coherence between the newly invented and the old.

Innovators, in other words, should not only emphasize what is new about their products, but also on how it relates to what people already are familiar with. This process we call the “anchoring” of an innovation.

I will further argue that innovation is not restricted to technology, but also extends to such domains as politics, religion, literature and art, in which similar processes of “anchoring” can be found.


Why would a classicist, who studies the past, be interested in innovation?
Innovation is an important topic these days and it is not unusual that the research agenda of Classicists is set by pressing questions in contemporary society. Classicists these days, for example, also study gender differences, identity or multiculturalism in ancient societies.

This research topic, the anchoring of innovations, furthermore contributes to the solution of a long standing debate in classical studies. The ancient Greeks and Romans are well known as innovators, in particular in the fields of politics, literature and the arts, but at the same time they were always looking at the past, using ancient myths as the basis of their literature and worrying if their ancestors would have approved of their political renewals. Anchoring innovation solves this paradox by pointing out that their respect for the past actually helped them to innovate successfully.

What do you hope people to learn from your presentation?
Besides an understanding of the concept of “anchoring”, I hope that listeners will realise that the Humanities can offer valuable insights in issues like innovation and that disciplines, as diverse as Classics and Technology, can learn from one another.

Where can people learn more about the research programme Anchoring Innovation?
Go to the website of the programme:

About André Lardinois
André Lardinois is Professor of Ancient Greek Language and Literature at Radboud University in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, and the Academic Director of OIKOS, the national Dutch research school in Classical Studies. His main field of study is early Greek poetry. Among his publications are Tragic Ambiguity: Philosophy and Sophocles’ Antigone (Leiden 1987), with T.C. Oudemans, Making Silence Speak: Women’s Voices in Greek Literature and Society (Princeton 2001), with L. McClure, and Sappho: A New Translation of the Complete Works (Cambridge 2014), with D. Rayor.

OIKOS is the National Research School in Classical Studies in the Netherlands.

It is a collaborative institution of six Dutch universities and one Belgian university.

It coordinates the research in the field of classical studies in the Netherlands and Flanders and organizes the educational programme of the PhD students in Classics.

About Knowledge Innovation Summit

The flow of knowledge from institutions, such as universities and colleges, to SMEs stagnates. The practical translation of this knowledge into tools where SMEs can do something is usually lacking. Organizations in the meso level are able to transform new knowledge into an approach that is useful to SMEs.

During this Summit knowledge institutions share new knowledge and insights into (open) innovation (processes) with representatives of industry associations, consultancy agencies and governments. They translate these insights into practical instruments that are useful to small and medium-sized businesses. In addition, knowledge institutions can present their offerings in the field of internships and research, where the participants can match their question.

For whom?
Representatives of sector organizations, consultancy agencies and governments on the one hand and knowledge institutions on the other. But also anyone who is seriously interested in new knowledge and insights in the field of (open) innovation (processes).

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