Innovation--The Missing Dimension
Innovation--The Missing Dimension

Innovation--The Missing Dimension

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Overview

Amid mounting concern over the loss of jobs to low-wage economies, one fact is clear: America's prosperity hinges on the ability of its businesses to continually introduce new products and services. But what makes for a creative economy? How can the remarkable surge of innovation that fueled the boom of the 1990s be sustained?

For an answer, Richard K. Lester and Michael J. Piore examine innovation strategies in some of the economy's most dynamic sectors. Through eye-opening case studies of new product development in fields such as cell phones, medical devices, and blue jeans, two fundamental processes emerge.

One of these processes, analysis--rational problem solving--dominates management and engineering practice. The other, interpretation, is not widely understood, or even recognized--although, as the authors make clear, it is absolutely crucial to innovation. Unlike problem solving, interpretation embraces and exploits ambiguity, the wellspring of creativity in the economy. By emphasizing interpretation, and showing how these two radically different processes can be combined, Lester and Piore's book gives managers and designers the concepts and tools to keep new products flowing.

But the authors also offer an unsettling critique of national policy. By ignoring the role of interpretation, economic policymakers are drawing the wrong lessons from the 1990s boom. The current emphasis on expanding the reach of market competition will help the analytical processes needed to implement innovation. But if unchecked it risks choking off the economy's vital interpretive spaces. Unless a more balanced policy approach is adopted, warn Lester and Piore, America's capacity to innovate--its greatest economic asset--will erode.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674040106
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Publication date: 06/30/2009
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 240
File size: 281 KB

About the Author

Richard K. Lester is Director of the Industrial Performance Center and Professor of Nuclear Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Michael J. Piore is David W. Skinner Professor of Economics and Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is the author of several books, including, with Charles F. Sabel, The Second Industrial Divide.

Table of Contents

CONTENTS Introduction 1. Integration in Cell Phones, Blue Jeans,and Medical Devices 2. Where Do Problems Come From? 3. Conversation, Interpretation, and Ambiguity 4. The Missed Connections of Modern Management 5. Combining Analysis and Interpretation 6. Public Space 7. Universities as Public Spaces 8. Learning the Right Lessons about Competitiveness Notes Acknowledgments Index

What People are Saying About This

Patrick le Quément

Lester and Piore tell us that a corporate focus on core competencies will not suffice to make a brand irreplaceable and thus earn a ticket to prolonged life. Indeed great brands don't just fall from the sky, they have to be built through the carefully assembled blocks of innovation. The authors lead us to the conclusion that you have to go beyond just listening to the customer, you have to observe them and anticipate what they themselves never imagined they would want.
Patrick le Quément, Chief Designer, Renault

This book brings new insight into innovation--where it begins and how it can be introduced and managed. The authors' original and thought-provoking prescriptions reach far beyond the world of business. They explain how education must demonstrate and play a major role in innovation.

Bob Buderi

Finally, a book that blows past the one-size-fits-all answers of politicians and business pundits. Innovation-The Missing Dimension sets the standard for understanding how to compete in a global economy.
Bob Buderi, Editor at Large, Technology Review, and author of Engines of Tomorrow

Governor Gaston Caperton

This book brings new insight into innovation--where it begins and how it can be introduced and managed. The authors' original and thought-provoking prescriptions reach far beyond the world of business. They explain how education must demonstrate and play a major role in innovation.
Governor Gaston Caperton, President, The College Board

Robert W. Galvin

Innovation-The Missing Dimension does have a central focus, but it is such a broad-ranging coverage of the important subject of innovation that it actually adds many dimensions to the reader's thinking. A worthwhile experience.
Robert W. Galvin, Former CEO, Motorola

Robert M. Solow

It is pretty clear that the future of a leading-edge economy now rests on its capacity to innovate. It is not at all clear what institutions and practices particularly favor innovation. Building on a few closely observed case studies, Lester and Piore arrive at some interesting, plausible and, well, innovative ideas about the way new products and processes come into existence and sometimes flourish. Their ideas have novel and significant implications for teaching, management and governance.
Robert M. Solow, Nobel Laureate in Economics

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