Is English the Language of Innovation?

Mark Zuckerberg wowed his Chinese and Internet audiences when he addressed a group of students in Mandarin. That’s cool. It’s always great to see Americans who can speak more than one language.

In a recent article for the Harvard Business Review, Bill Fisher writes about “Why English, Not Mandarin, Is the Language of Innovation.”

Fisher outlines several reasons why English is widely accepted in business:

  • English is the language of the Internet
  • English is the international language of business
  • English is the basis for popular computer languages

In San Antonio, Spanish is spoken proudly.

More and More Trends for Innovators

In the classic 1946 movie "It's a Wonderful Life," success could be summed up with one word: "plastics." The top trends for 2015 can be summed up with another word: "digital."

In a Harvard Business Review article entitled "The Tech Trends You Can’t Ignore in 2015," Amy Webb identifies six key areas:

  • Deep learning: computers that "study," enhancing artificial intelligence by processing vast quantities of data in order to "learn," including images and other non-textual media.
  • Smart virtual personal assistants: digital assistants that make helpful interactions in business and personal life,

How to Kill Innovation

The saying, “Curiosity killed the cat,” is generally accepted as a truism, especially in business. The real goal, spoken or unspoken, is usually stability and equilibrium. "Don’t rock the boat." "Steady as she goes." 

This is dangerous language for innovators. Kill curiosity, kill innovation. It’s that simple.

In an article for the Harvard Business Review entitled “Curiosity is as Important as Intelligence," Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic examines intelligence in three ways:

  • IQ - Intelligence Quotient 
  • EQ - Emotional Intelligence Quotient 
  • CQ - Curiosity Quotient

“CQ is the ultimate tool to produce

The Most Important Thing a Leader Must Do

“So is there a way to encourage routine strategic thinking throughout the organization? I would say yes – and that it’s the most important thing you can do as a leader.”

That's what Robert Kabacoff wrote in a very popular piece in the Harvard Business Review entitled: "Develop Strategic Thinkers Throughout Your Organization." 


He describes strategic thinking as taking “a broad, long-range approach to problem-solving and decision-making that involves objective analysis, thinking ahead, and planning."

Furthermore, he states that it also means "thinking systemically.