Models abound in science, technology, and society (STS) studies and in science, technology, and innovation (STI) studies. They are continually being invented, with one author developing many versions of the same model over time. At the same time, models are regularly criticized. Such is the case with the most influential model in STS-STI: the linear model of innovation.
Innovation is the subject of countless books and courses, but there’s very little out there about how you actually innovate. Innovation and entrepreneurship are not one and the same, although aspiring innovators often think of them that way. They are told to get an idea and a team and to build a show-and-tell for potential investors. In Innovating, Luis Perez-Breva describes another approach—a doer’s approach developed over a decade at MIT and internationally in workshops, classes, and companies.
The standard text on innovation advises would-be innovators to conduct creative brainstorming sessions and seek input from outsiders—users or communities. This kind of innovating can be effective at improving products but not at capturing bigger opportunities in the marketplace. In this book Roberto Verganti offers a new approach—one that does not set out to solve existing problems but to find breakthrough meaningful experiences. There is no brainstorming—which produces too many ideas, unfiltered—but a vision, subject to criticism.
In this book, Eric von Hippel, author of the influential Democratizing Innovation, integrates new theory and research findings into the framework of a “free innovation paradigm.” Free innovation, as he defines it, involves innovations developed by consumers who are self-rewarded for their efforts, and who give their designs away “for free.” It is an inherently simple grassroots innovation process, unencumbered by compensated transactions and intellectual property rights.
People have had trouble adapting to new technology ever since (perhaps) the inventor of the wheel had to explain that a wheelbarrow could carry more than a person. This little book by a celebrated MIT professor—the fiftieth anniversary edition of a classic—describes how we learn to live and work with innovation. Elting Morison considers, among other things, the three stages of users’ resistance to change: ignoring it; rational rebuttal; and name-calling.
The history-making development of the Chinese economy has entered a new phase. China is moving aggressively from a strategy of imitation to one of innovation. Driven both by domestic needs and by global ambition, China is establishing itself at the forefront of technological innovation. Western businesses need to prepare for a tidal wave of innovation from China that is about to hit Western markets, and Chinese businesses need to understand the critical importance of innovation in their future.
The last two decades have witnessed an extraordinary growth of new models of managing and organizing the innovation process that emphasizes users over producers. Large parts of the knowledge economy now routinely rely on users, communities, and open innovation approaches to solve important technological and organizational problems. This view of innovation, pioneered by the economist Eric von Hippel, counters the dominant paradigm, which cast the profit-seeking incentives of firms as the main driver of technical change.
What is the best way for a company to innovate? Advice recommending “innovation vacations” and the luxury of failure may be wonderful for organizations with time to spend and money to waste. The Innovator’s Hypothesis addresses the innovation priorities of companies that live in the real world of limits. Michael Schrage advocates a cultural and strategic shift: small teams, collaboratively—and competitively—crafting business experiments that make top management sit up and take notice.
America is the world leader in innovation, but many of the innovative ideas that are hatched in American start-ups, labs, and companies end up going abroad to reach commercial scale. Apple, the superstar of innovation, locates its production in China (yet still reaps most of its profits in the United States). When innovation does not find the capital, skills, and expertise it needs to come to market in the United States, what does it mean for economic growth and job creation?
Production in the Innovation Economy emerges from several years of interdisciplinary research at MIT on the links between manufacturing and innovation in the United States and the world economy. Authors from political science, economics, business, employment and operations research, aeronautics and astronautics, and nuclear engineering come together to explore the extent to which manufacturing is key to an innovative and vibrant economy.