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.
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.
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.
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.
In the dot-com boom of the late 1990s, employees of Internet startups took risks--left well-paying jobs for the chance of striking it rich through stock options (only to end up unemployed a year later), relocated to areas that were epicenters of a booming industry (that shortly went bust), chose the opportunity to be creative over the stability of a set schedule. In Venture Labor, Gina Neff investigates choices like these made by high-tech workers in New York City’s “Silicon Alley” in the 1990s.
In today’s competitive globalized market, firms are increasingly reaching beyond conventional internal methods of research and development to use ideas developed through processes of open innovation (OI). Organizations including Siemens, Nokia, Wikipedia, Hyve, and innosabi may launch elaborate OI initiatives, actively seeking partners to help them innovate in specific areas. Individuals affiliated by common interests rather than institutional ties use OI to develop new products, services, and solutions to meet unmet needs.
Innovation and design need not be about the search for a killer app. Innovation and design can start in people’s everyday activities. They can encompass local services, cultural production, arenas for public discourse, or technological platforms. The approach is participatory, collaborative, and engaging, with users and consumers acting as producers and creators. It is concerned less with making new things than with making a socially sustainable future.