Reading Group (?): Innovation and the Gales of Creative Destruction

A number of faculty members have formed a reading group for issues of innovation and entrepreneurship. Fittingly, it is called the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Reading Group.

Our first book is Thomas McCraw’s award-winning Prophet of Innovation: Joseph Schumpeter and Creative Destruction. Schumpeter is a central figure in entrepreneurship and innovation scholarship, and is closely associated with the idea that entrepreneurship drives economic growth. He describes innovation as a “perennial gale of creative destruction,” whereby new ideas and products destroy and displace the status quo. Hence, innovation is not unambiguously good thing, as by its very definition it creates classes of winners and losers.

Schumpeter provides the conventional framing of the innovation process as a triumvirate — invention, innovation, and diffusion. Invention is simply the development of a new idea or technology. He argued that inventions were not the story, and that innovation was associated with creating value of the idea. By this definition, innovation is not restricted to technological phenomena. An organization can be innovative by restructuring or doing things in a different way, provided, of course, that there is some value added.

If you are interested, check The Moodle for more information. Or you can contact me directly. I would be happy to spend some time with any student or group of students interested in discussing the book.