Escaping From The Great Stagnation

Professor Tyler Cowen wrote a short, high impact, controversial book called The Great Stagnation arguing that innovation has reached a plateau and there is not much more that technology will do to reignite exponential productivity growth in the U.S. He sites a February 2011 McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) report on productivity that since 2000, most American productivity gains have come from reducing inputs into production, not from innovating more.

I hadn't seen Professor Tyler's work when I wrote the opening piece of Lead by Greatness, but I refer to a conversation I had with Curt Doolittle, CEO of Ascentium, who also said that technology in its current form cannot deliver a whole lot more productivity growth. This lead me to the question of what will be the source of the next exponential wave of productivity growth? Here is my response from the introduction to Lead by Greatness:

Business visionaries already recognize that the next wave of growth won't come just from a focus on profits and process. It will come from leaders who successfully set their organizations apart by infusing them with innovation, energy, and heroic performance. These leaders will be individuals able to connect, inspire, and instill in people a passionate sense of purpose. The next wave of growth will be driven by leaders who are not only functionally competent, but are also people of character and true human greatness.
Some companies have begun to discover the vast untapped resource of innovation and productive power in employees who are inspired with a sense of higher purpose. Lead by Greatness provides a blueprint to help leaders unlock this human energy in ways that are authentic to them and to their companies, and that deliver on their organizations' strategic intent.

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