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Emerald Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2019, Guilherme Ary Plonski.
Published in Innovation & Management Review. Published by Emerald Publishing Limited. This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) licence. Anyone may reproduce, distribute, translate and create derivative works of this article (for both commercial and non-commercial purposes), subject to full attribution to the original publication and authors. The full terms of this licence may be seen at http://creativecommons.org/licences/by/4.0/legalcode
There is a rite of passage in several Latin American countries that marks the entrance of a woman into her adult phase of life. She is called a “debutante” in Brazil and a “quinceañera” in Mexico, as her age is 15 (“quince” means 15 in Spanish).
The word “review” (“revista”) is a feminine substantive in both Spanish and Portuguese. The Revista de Administração e Inovação (RAI), which is now called the Innovation & Management Review (INMR), reaches 15 years of age in 2019. The Revista was created through the initiative of the late Milton de Abreu Campanario, an entrepreneurial academic affiliated with University of São Paulo Business School’s Department of Economics. He was also an active member of the board of the university’s Center of Technology Policy and Management, which incubated RAI and hosted it during most of its existence. Professor Campanario, who passed away recently, was the first editor and led the Revista for more than a decade.
The subject of the Review saw major changes during the first 15 years of its existence, globally and specifically in Brazil. Innovation, considered a technical sophisticated concept 15 years ago, became mainstream in society, to the point that the term is now loosely used in daily mundane conversation. Innovation changed from a closed company issue to an open ecosystem challenge. New major actors emerged, such as startups and business accelerators. The breach between innovation in large companies and new ventures is being overcome by the advent of corporate venture engagement. Digital technology-based innovation moved from being the realm of a specific industry (usually named “information and communication technologies”) to becoming a disruptive business driver in areas as diverse as health, urban mobility, and commerce. Two countries unexpectedly became global references for using innovation to spearhead their global positions among the nations – one gigantic (China) and the other minuscule (Israel). “Innovation Diplomacy” emerged as a relevant component of international relations, paralleling the more traditional fields of Culture Diplomacy and Science Diplomacy.
Another dimension of transformation should be added. To the surprise of many, the public perception of innovation is rapidly changing from a positive societal force, which should be promoted and stimulated by all means (“the more innovation the better”), to a controversial factor, sometimes even a menace, which has to be tamed and controlled. (See, for instance, the concept of “Artificial Intelligence for Good”). One global controversial issue that has been making headlines is “Internet-based innovations versus Privacy”. It is worth noting that before being considered a prerequisite for economic progress, and later being bestowed with the aura of a “mantra,” innovation was perceived negatively. A notable illustration occurred in the thirteenth century at the University of Oxford. Roger Bacon, known as Doctor Mirabilis (prodigious doctor) for his comprehensive knowledge of diverse subjects and inventiveness in multiple fields, was imprisoned under the allegation of “suspicious innovations”.
As expected, the Review captured many of the changes in innovation during the past 15 years, frequently in their early stage, albeit sometimes with different names. For example, the first edition of RAI presented an article focused on the tensions between leadership ethics and the pursuit of profit in innovative corporations. It is symbolic that the article was published in 2004, the same year as the creation of Facebook, a company that became the epitome of these tensions.
The Revista/Review, initiated by Professor Campanario 15 years ago, will surely continue to be a container and vehicle for well-researched new knowledge related to innovation and its management. Now in her adult phase, may she also be a harbinger of fresh ideas about how innovation can foster better times for society, rather than becoming a breeding ground for further polarization among and inside nations.