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Business/ Management/ Innovation

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From Innovation to Market

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.

A Big-Brand Takeover of Sustainability

McDonald’s promises to use only beef, coffee, fish, chicken, and cooking oil obtained from sustainable sources. Coca-Cola promises to achieve water neutrality. Unilever seeks to achieve 100 percent sustainable agricultural sourcing by 2020. Walmart has pledged to become carbon neutral. Big-brand companies seem to be making commitments that go beyond the usual “greenwashing” efforts undertaken largely for public-relations purposes.

The Rise and Retreat of American Manufacturing

In Made in the USA, Vaclav Smil powerfully rebuts the notion that manufacturing is a relic of predigital history and that the loss of American manufacturing is a desirable evolutionary step toward a pure service economy. Smil argues that no advanced economy can prosper without a strong, innovative manufacturing sector and the jobs it creates.

Pivotal Events in Valuing Work and Delivering Results

In 2009, the Ford Motor Company was the only one of the Big Three automakers not to take the federal bailout package. How did Ford remain standing when its competitors were brought to their knees? It was a gutsy decision, but it didn’t happen in isolation. The United Auto Workers joined with Ford to make this possible—not only in 2009, but in a series of more than fifty pivotal events during three decades that add up to a transformation that simultaneously values work and delivers results.

Stanford and the Computer Music Revolution

In the 1960s, a team of Stanford musicians, engineers, computer scientists, and psychologists used computing in an entirely novel way: to produce and manipulate sound and create the sonic basis of new musical compositions. This group of interdisciplinary researchers at the nascent Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA, pronounced “karma”) helped to develop computer music as an academic field, invent the technologies that underlie it, and usher in the age of digital music.

Create New Thinking by Design

When organizations apply old methods of problem-solving to new kinds of problems, they may accomplish only temporary fixes or some ineffectual tinkering around the edges. Today’s problems are a new breed—open, complex, dynamic, and networked—and require a radically different response. In this book, Kees Dorst describes a new, innovation-centered approach to problem-solving in organizations: frame creation. It applies “design thinking,” but it goes beyond the borrowed tricks and techniques that usually characterize that term.

We turn on the lights in our house from a desk in an office miles away. Our refrigerator alerts us to buy milk on the way home. A package of cookies on the supermarket shelf suggests that we buy it, based on past purchases. The cookies themselves are on the shelf because of a “smart” supply chain. When we get home, the thermostat has already adjusted the temperature so that it’s toasty or bracing, whichever we prefer. This is the Internet of Things—a networked world of connected devices, objects, and people.

The Story of India's IT Revolution

The rise of the Indian information technology industry is a remarkable economic success story. Software and services exports from India amounted to less than $100 million in 1990, and today come close to $100 billion. But, as Dinesh Sharma explains in The Outsourcer, Indian IT’s success has a long prehistory; it did not begin with software support, or with American firms’ eager recruitment of cheap and plentiful programming labor, or with India’s economic liberalization of the 1990s.

An Introduction to Design for Social Innovation

In a changing world everyone designs: each individual person and each collective subject, from enterprises to institutions, from communities to cities and regions, must define and enhance a life project. Sometimes these projects generate unprecedented solutions; sometimes they converge on common goals and realize larger transformations. As Ezio Manzini describes in this book, we are witnessing a wave of social innovations as these changes unfold—an expansive open co-design process in which new solutions are suggested and new meanings are created.

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