size & shape
This page considers innovation, sometimes vaunted
as a distinctive feature of the 'new economy'.
It covers -
in particular the interrelationship between discovery
and markets, is one of the most contentious areas of economics,
history and sociology. From the vast literature we have
highlighted some works we found thought provoking and
entertaining. The Digital
Environment guide and incentives page
in the Intellectual Property guide highlight other writing.
theoretical and historical studies
Nathan Rosenberg's Exploring the Black Box: Technology,
Economics & History (Cambridge: Cambridge Uni
Press 1994) and Schumpeter & the Endogeneity of
Technology: Some American Perspectives (London: Routledge
2000) are useful academic studies. He collaborated with
David Mowery on the outstanding Paths of Innovation:
Technological Change in 20th-Century America (Cambridge:
Cambridge Uni Press 1998). Works by and on Schumpeter
are highlighted here.
The essays in Sources of Industrial Leadership: Studies
of Seven Industries (Cambridge: Cambridge Uni Press
1999) edited by Mowery & Richard Nelson extend the
discussion in that work. Mowery also edited The
International Computer Software Industry: A Comparative
Study of Industry Evolution & Structure (Oxford:
Oxford Uni Press 1995).
For an exploration of 'fashion' see Bandwagon Effects
in High-Technology Industries (Cambridge: MIT Press
2001) by Jeffrey Rohlfs. Of Bicycles, Bakelites &
Bulbs: Toward A Theory of Sociotechnical Change
(Cambridge: MIT Press 1997) by Wiebe Bijker is quirkier
and might be accompanied by the exploration in How
users matter: The co–construction of users and technology
(Cambridge: MIT Press 2003) edited by Nelly Oudshoorn
& Trevor Pinch of "how users consume, modify,
domesticate, reconfigure, and resist technologies". There
is a more popular account in Beyond Engineering: How
Society Shapes Technology (New York: Oxford Uni Press
1997) by Robert Pool.
Those seeking a broad, multinational historical overview
might benefit from David Landes' The Wealth & Poverty
of Nations (New York: Little Brown 1998). Arguments
in Joel Mokyr's The Lever of Riches: Technological
Creativity & Economic Progress (Oxford: Oxford
Uni Press 1990) are extended in the more theoretical -
and for us less successful - The Gifts of Athena: Historical
Origins of the Knowledge Economy (Princeton: Princeton
Uni Press 2002). The latter's complemented by
William Baumol's The Free-Market Innovation Machine
(Princeton: Princeton Uni Press 2002)
The Social Life of Information (Boston: Harvard Business
School Press 2000) by John Seely Brown & Paul Duguid
and Manuel Castell's The Information Society (Oxford:
Blackwell 1999) are invaluable for considering the adoption
of technologies in the information economy.
The Innovator's Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great
Firms to Fail (Boston: Harvard Business School Press
1997) and After The Goldrush: Patterns of Success &
Failure on the Internet report
by Clayton Christensen,
along with John Howkins' The Creative Economy (London:
Allen Lane 2001) and the macro/micro-economic studies
in Technological Innovation & Economic Performance
(Princeton: Princeton Uni Press 2001) edited by Benn Steil,
David Victor & Richard Nelson
are of particular importance in considering business use
of digital technologies.
The Carrier Wave: New Information Technology &
the Geography of Innovation, 1846-2003 (London: Unwin
Hyman 1988) by Peter Hall & Paschal Preston looks
at the information infrastructure and Kondratieff waves. Eamonn
Fingleton's revisionist In Praise of Hard Industries:
Why Manufacturing, Not the Information Economy, Is the
Key to Future Prosperity (Boston: Houghton Mifflin
1999) and The
Dynamic Firm: The Role of Technology, Strategy, Organization
& Regions (Oxford: Oxford Uni Press 1998)
edited by Alfred Chandler, Peter Hagstrom & Orjan
Solvell are insightful.
Donald Reinertsen's Managing The Design Factory:
A Product Developer's Toolkit (New York: Free Press
1997) and other works highlighted in our Design
guide offer other perspectives.
For an introduction to questions about industry and university
relationships see Industrializing Knowledge: University-Industry
Linkages in Japan & the United States (Cambridge:
MIT Press 1999) edited by Lewis Branscomb, Fumio Kodama
& Richard Florida.
a global innovation society?
Global Economic Commerce: Theory & Case Studies
(Cambridge: MIT Press 1999) by J Christopher Westland
& Theodore Clark is an excellent introduction, broader
than the title suggests.
Alan Burton-Jones' Knowledge Capitalism: Business,
Work & Learning in the New Economy (Oxford: Oxford
Uni Press 1999) and Information Feudalism: Who Owns
the Knowledge Economy (London: Earthscan 2002) by
Peter Drahos with John Braithwaite supply perspectives
on how the new infrastructure will be used.
James Cortada edited an excellent introduction to the
'economy of symbolic analysts' - people who like you who
work with facts & figures - in Rise of the Knowledge
Worker (Boston: Butterworth-Heinemann 1998), part
of a series that includes volumes on The Knowledge
Economy and The Economic Impact of Knowledge
(both edited by Dale Neef).
The Governance of Innovation in Europe: Regional Perspectives
on Global Competitiveness (New York: Pinter 2000)
by Philip Cooke & Franz Todtling offers a view of
the EU's dirigiste approach to innovation, the
results of which have generally been underwhelming.
For local perspectives on innovation and the information
economy a useful starting point is Sleepers,
Wake! Technology & the Future of Work (Melbourne:
Oxford Uni Press 1998) by Barry Jones and his April 1999
on The Information Revolution in Australia: Its impact
on Politics, the Economy & Society.
The Knowledge Based Economy (KBE)
site of the Commonwealth Department of Industry, Science
& Resources includes Measuring the Knowledge-Based
Economy - How does Australia Compare and the earlier
Conceptual Paper on the Knowledge-Based Economy.
Christopher Arup, in Innovation, Policy & Law:
Australia & the International High Technology Economy
(Cambridge: Cambridge Uni Press 1993), makes connections
between copyright law, economic development and innovation
policy. Michael Connors' The Race to the Intelligent
State: Charting the Global Information Economy into the
21st Century (Oxford: Capstone 1997) looks at national
information society initiatives.
The Australian National Innovation Summit (NIS), followed
by the announcement
of a "high-level Implementation Group to carry forward
the outcomes", was another digital potemkin village
strong on rhetoric and ministerial photo opportunities
but thin on substance. Curious, isn't it, that we
encourage innovation by cutting funding for tertiary sector
research and - as importantly - reducing incentives for
The intellectual property guide
elsewhere on this site considers innovation, business
patents and other matters
next page (volatility)