INTRODUCTION (segue l’introduzione in italiano)

This theme promotes the CULTURE OF INNOVATION and the presentation of innovation by asking right questions. This in the context of our current World that is evolving continuously toward a state of greater complexity. SIMPLE SOLUTIONS, however attractive, comforting and seemingly right, cannot deal with complex problems; they might resolve one problem but at the expense of creating two or more new problems often of greater magnitude. A key word is interdependence.

Today, midst the third major revolution, that of IT (informatics and technology), ordinary people can have opinion and reinforce each other’s ideas just by surfing the Internet and by engaging in so-called direct politics and easy reading, in the ABSENCE OF APPROPRIATE MEDIATION. Complex arguments cannot be evaluated from a few lines of text or a Twitter or two. This leads inevitably to the proposal of simple solutions often based on unfounded or partial information, taken out of context and magnified by the media.

Still, the IT revolution advances at leaps and bounds but the ETHICS AND MORALS of how to treat information and use new inventions, lag terribly behind. All is speed and most media communications know full well that readers and editors have little or no time to verify information broadcast online, or to separate facts from promotional hype and attractive images. There is consequently great reluctance on behalf of scientists and technicians to engage in public debate that has also set in motion limitations to online access to research engines and scientific news services.

Furthermore, science by definition has to separate subjects under study from the HOLISTIC REALITY, from the whole organism or ecosystem; but there are no sealed compartments in ecosystems. Given the foregoing, the HORTCOM Blog wishes to help bridge the INFORMATION GAP to enable innovative products to emerge, put into a more holistic context, to be trialed and finally utilized in the cultivation of plants.


Questa tematica promuove la CULTURA DELL’ INNOVAZIONE e la presentazione dell’innovazione ponendosi le domande corrette. Questo nel contesto del nostro mondo attuale, che si evolve continuamente verso uno stato di maggiore complessità. SOLUZIONI SEMPLICI, per quanto attraenti, confortanti e apparentemente giuste, non possono affrontare problemi complessi; potrebbero risolvere un problema ma a scapito della creazione di due o più problemi nuovi, spesso di maggiore gravità. Una parola chiave è interdipendenza.

Oggi, nel bel mezzo della terza grande rivoluzione, quella dell’IT (informatica e tecnologia), le persone comuni possono avere un’opinione e rafforzare le rispettive idee semplicemente navigando in Internet e impegnandosi nella cosiddetta politica diretta e nella facile lettura, in ASSENZA DI UN’ADEGUATA MEDIAZIONE. Gli argomenti complessi non possono essere valutati da poche righe di testo o da un tweet o due. Ciò porta inevitabilmente alla proposta di soluzioni semplici spesso basate su informazioni infondate o parziali, prese fuori dal contesto e amplificate dai media.

La rivoluzione IT avanza ancora a grandi passi ma l’ETICA E LA MORALE su come trattare le informazioni e usare nuove invenzioni, sono in notevole ritardo. Tutto è veloce e la maggior parte dei media di comunicazione sa bene che i lettori e gli editori hanno poco tempo, se pure ne hanno, per verificare le informazioni trasmesse online, o per separare i fatti dal battage promozionale e dalle immagini accattivanti. Vi è quindi una grande riluttanza da parte di scienziati e tecnici nell’impegnarsi in un dibattito pubblico che ha anche messo in moto limitazioni all’accesso online ai motori di ricerca e ai servizi di notizie scientifiche.

Inoltre, la scienza per definizione deve separare le materie studiate dalla REALTÀ OLISTICA, dall’intero organismo o ecosistema; non ci sono compartimenti stagni negli ecosistemi. Alla luce di quanto sopra, il blog HORTCOM intende contribuire a colmare il GAP INFORMATIVO per consentire l’emergere di prodotti innovativi, inserirli in un contesto più olistico, da provare e infine utilizzare nella coltivazione delle piante.


Internet allows ordinary people to have opinions on everything and reinforce each other through surfing the web and internet discussions. Such discussions are often unfiltered and baseless. For this reason, scientists and knowledgeable experts are reluctant to engage in public discusssion and believe that internet is full of unfounded ideas and accusations rather than peer reviewed science that deals in facts.

In recent times, mass diffusion of information via the web has created a dangerous political concept of dividing the population into ‘ordinary people’ and the ‘elite’. This should be strongly challenged because the real difference is between the properly informed and those who are only partially informed.  Complex problems cannot be solved through applying simplistic uni-directional solutions, however attractive. The utilization of tweeting, short summaries, generalizations and crashing headlines,  should be made with far greater care and attention. so as not to create strong emotional reactions, controversy and tension.

We are now in the midst of the 3° revolution – the information and technological revolution – that is bringing about an irreversible turning point in world history. One of the biggest consequences is the growing gulf between science/technology and society. It is vital to forge closer links between science groups to do more interdisciplinary work and to bring ‘pure’ science and applied research closer together. The process must also involve collaboration with individuals, organizations, governments and companies. More work needs to be done by competent science journalists to distill complex scientific papers into more readable text that could help stimulate practical innovation. Elaborated from an interview with Luise Fresco, President of Wageningen UR published in “Wageningen World” No3 2014, p12. Some highly instructive videos on communications can be seen on:

Q.1  What are the relative advantages and disadvantages of digital media in promoting innovation?

Websites are ideal for presenting/searching for new products and innovative technology, contact information and networking. They have various advantages over the printed page; errors can be corrected immediated and pages constantly updated. They do not consume paper or physical storage space.

Internet is perfect for diffusing information on future events, their profile linked to more detailed aspects concerning visitor and exhibitor participation, conference presentations, pre-launch promotions of novelty products and services, travel and accommodation. Events are excellent platforms for net-working between relevant organizations.

The down-side is that web pages are connected to libraries and infinite number of links and possibilities of navigation. This can be dispersive. In contrast, print and books have physical substance, a beginning and an end. The actions of clicking and scrolling interrupt concentration that has a notably negative effect on memory recall. Browsing on internet is less dispersive when channelled through dedicated websites.  One good example of a dedicated site in Italy is  Clamer Informa. This focuses on technical information for growers of bedding and ornamental pot plants.

Q.2   A great deal of online information is old, past its ‘sale by date’. When browsing, is it possible to have information presented in chronological order, at least for the first two pages?

The huge quantity of information on Internet and the velocity and transient nature of this information represents a problem. It is much more difficult to filter, verify or contrast, information and opinions not based on scientiifc fact. There is litle or no time or publications lack resources. Where the media is market led, this can result in the multiplication across the media, of partial truths, especially summaries that lack necessary (sometimes vital) context. This can on occasion extend to fake news. Indeed it becomes easier to present promotional information that masquerades as technical when both aspects are cleverly interwoven. Where the net distinction between scientific fact and media interest is blurred, (leading in extreme cases to falsehood), democratic principles can be at risk.

Q.3  To what extent are publications responsibile in maintaining editorial rigour and independence? Without exercising due responsibility can they ever be called independent?  Can they afford knowledgeable staff and the necessary time to check information and news in circulation?

In the digital era is it too easy to conceal mistakes, misrepresentation and bias? Most news is remodeled for delivery via print, tweet, web-stream, SMS and online text, but such variety of channels comes at the expense of hard fact, proper investigation, credibility and truth? “Revealing the news: How online news changes without you noticing”. John Fass & Angus Main. Digital Giornalism. Read the full article online: Read abstract online

There is a trend whereby communications departments and promotional agencies take the initiative to produce  finished copy for publications. This is not accidental; it helps guarantee that communications are published more or less in toto, turning publications into clients in the process. Most publications, however, manage a bit of both, according to their resources, to resist becoming mere resonance chambers for house-organs, political, marketing or personal interests.


Q.4  Changing consumer behaviour. Through what means can a greater ‘culture’ of innovation be achieved?

A greater culture of innovation can be achieved through proactive collaboration between research bases, knowledge centres and R&D companies in the application of new technology and services. Connections with the media are essential to provide information and to foment a society more open to innovation.

Scientists and researchers are not business people. According to a news release by Youris, one German blog on innovations management estimates that between 175 and 3000 ideas are needed to bring just one new product or service to the market. Venture capitalists assume that only one out of ten investment will pay, says expert Heinrich Cuypers. Most innovations are research driven (researchers try to drive the market with their innovations instead of adapting to the market) for the sake of science. Tough starting-up!  The challenge for all is to turn pure science into practical innovation. Neither is the presentation and communication of technical innovation enough in itself.  Argument is of limited value and one cannot change people’s thinking with communication. Ref: On Deaf Ears by René Didde. See also the article How pure is our science?

Q.5 What are the most fundamental questions to ask when trying to introduce innovation? What are you afraid of? Why do you think it won’t work? Why do you think it’s not a good idea?

It is the creation of new consumer interest and behaviour that most determines the eventual success of a new product not the technological aspects. Innovators first need to understand the market and identify potential new behaviour patterns in consumers that could be created and satisfied by new products not yet in existance. These products will create added value and offer consumers new experiences. Innovators therefore need to question and disrupt the status quo; standard behaviour resulting from existing products and systems.

Potential users and consumers of new technology often hold other opinions for a variety of reasons. It is vital to contact the people concerned to understand their feelings and prejudices about how they see such innovation impacting on their lives, work routine and above all their beliefs. This may include religious beliefs. Least interest should be given to the opinions of radical and extreme groups, concentrating more on Church organizations, those of women, consumer associations, the Rotary club and such like. Companies should take these apsects seriously and do more web-research to discover what people are saying about their company and products, in parallel with new product development and prior to introduction.

Q.6  Why we should examine the all-round impact of innovation?

People may have seen negative results from previously introduced innovation, even if unconnected with the new proposals.  If a new plant is resistant to aphids that cause the spread of harmful viruses, consumers will not be pleased when research also demonstrates the consequent reduction in insect predators such as ladybirds.

It is never enough for a Company to seek dialogue only on the technical points of a given innovation. Research & development by scientists and commercial interests should first ask themselves what uses this innovation could have on society. With particular attention on the integration of these new products, systems or services on existing society and less on the technology itself.

01 Young people and internet pdf

02 Quality of information: some thoughts

Edward Bent ©2013/2019 | HORTCOM


  1. Pingback: Promoting Innovation | hortcom

  2. Pingback: Introducing technical innovation | hortcom

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