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.
Speaking of the New York Times, you might have heard the buzz that they are going to begin charging for content. Will that save them? Well, as one critic put it, “Do you like getting pecked to death by ducks?”
It’s a pretty interesting piece, integrating some aspects of market structure, competition, innovation, and, yes, organizational adaptation.
Apple doesn’t even announce its tablet, and suddenly Amazon flips the deal on Kindle royalties to comport with Apple’s app world. Yup, yesterday Amazon said publishers would get 70% of revenue instead of 30%. Sure, there are caveats, you can read the fine print, but the point is Amazon could see the Apple juggernaut coming and adjusted. Where’s the adjustment at the “New York Times”?
Check it out. You might learn something along the way.
There are lots and lots of Lawrence folks out there interested in how to improve US innovation. How, indeed? One answer comes from a recent article at Slate.com, where Economist Ray Fisman discusses how, surprise!, giving scientists greater incentives can foment higher levels and more novel types of medical innovation.
His source is a new paper from Azouly, Zivan, and Manzo that looks at the relative successes of different groups of medical researchers with similar academic pedigrees: Here’s a key excerpt from the abstract:
[W]e study the careers of investigators of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), which tolerates early failure, rewards long-term success, and gives its appointees great freedom to experiment; and grantees from the National Institute of Health, which are subject to short review cycles, pre-dened deliverables, and renewal policies unforgiving of failure… We find that HHMI investigators produce high-impact papers at a much higher rate than two control groups of similarly-accomplished NIH-funded scientists. Moreover, the direction of their research changes in ways that suggest the program induces them to explore novel lines of inquiry.
You can find the research paper here.
Much more on the topic of innovation and entrepreneurship as the term progresses.