I am excited to announce that Gabriel Saez has joined Innovonomics as Partner and Vice President. Gabriel brings a number of years of experience with him. I am happy to share Gabriel’s thoughts, in his own words. Rizwan
I am thrilled to join Innovonomics. Rizwan and I come from remarkably different personal backgrounds. And yet, we share a passion for development – of ideas, and of people. The reasons why we joined efforts also help explain why we believe Innovonomics is in a position to effectively help companies and societies to achieve their potential. Let me share a few of them.
First, because we have a well-rounded, historical and practical understanding of the role and importance of innovation, both for human development and for economic growth, we also know that, if the innovative impulse is to reign, we need to work in different dimensions of our social life. In other words, we need learn how to move forward in the context of the existing institutional framework while also looking beyond, searching for ways to modify it. Consider, for example, the following words by Roberto Unger:
“Once societies have escaped the extremes of poverty, the major constraint on economic growth ceases to be the size of the economic surplus, coercively extracted by the hierarchies of class. It becomes instead the vigor of innovation – technological, organizational, and intellectual. That was already the chief constraint at least since the time of the early industrialization of Europe: economic surplus in Europe was no larger than in the China of the Ming-Ching dynasties or in other agrarian-bureaucratic empires that fell back into relative backwardness. Innovation requires the greatest possible freedom to recombine and transform not only the factors of production but also the ideas and arrangements that enter into the institutional setting of production and exchange. The advantages of a market economy are diminished if the market remains fastened to a single legal-institutional version of itself.”
Second, we are open to experimentation. That is, to find new solutions for new problems in new ways. Experimentation does not equal chaos. Every experiment should follow a method – an applied theory. For companies and societies to thrive they first need to determine a desired direction, a horizon, and then start working on the first steps. Along the way, changes in the strategy will be needed. As Harvard Business School Professor Clayton Christensen puts it,
“Blindly copying the best practices of successful companies without the guidance of circumstance-contingent theory is akin to fabricating feathered wings and flapping hard. Replicating their success is not about duplicating their attributes; it’s about understanding how to generate lift. Good theories are circumstance-based. They describe how managers need to employ different strategies as circumstances change in order to achieve the needed results. The use of one-size-fits-all processes and values historically has made the creation of growth tortuous. One of the most valuable contributions you can make in the growth-creation process, therefore, is not keep watching for changes in circumstances. If you do this, you can understand when and why changes need to be made long before the evidence is clear to those whose vision is not clarified by theory.”
Third, given our different but complementary professional and academic trajectories, together we are able to navigate the waters of business, politics and academia, taking advantage of the opportunities each of them offers for a better understanding of the needs and possibilities of companies and societies.
Finally, we believe that deepening our knowledge in areas of our expertise does not mean that we close our minds to new, fresh ideas. On the contrary, we have shown and continue to show a disposition to investigate, to discover and to learn from any source of knowledge, anywhere.
For these reason, I am confident we can fulfill the purpose Innovonomics was created for. I hope that, in the near future, you will give us the chance of assisting you in your quest for transformation and success.
About: Gabriel Saez is the Partner and Vice President of Innovonomics, a niche consulting firm focused on consulting, policy-input, programs and ventures that leverage innovation for economic and social transformation. He was a Mason Fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School, and previously worked at Argentina’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Latin American School of Social Sciences, and as an advisor to several NGOs and government agencies.
 “The Religion of the Future”, page 169.
 “The Innovator’s Dilemma”, page 287.