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Enabling Innovation: A Practical Guide to Understanding and Fostering Technological Change

Handbook / Manual

By: B Douthwaite

266 pages, B/w photos, illus, figs, tabs

Zed Books

Paperback | Jan 2002 | #129083 | ISBN: 1856499723
Temporarily out of stock: order now to get this when available Details
NHBS Price: £20.99 $26/€23 approx

About this book

Little is known about the social and human processes involved in the rapid technological change typical of our age. Why do some technologies successfully spread while others do not? What are the consequences of top-down diffusion strategies? What is the effect of the private sector? Should the public sector not play a significant role? What are the disadvantages of instant patents and corporate-controlled intellectual property rights? This book is an engrossing account of some of the disaster, and success, stories around technological development and diffusion from both industrial and developing countries. It tells the story of widely divergent technologies - agricultural appliances, wind turbines, Green Revolution high yielding seeds, the Linux computer operating system, and Local Economic Trading Systems. It constructs a highly significant 'how to do it' guide to innovation management that runs counter to many of the top-down, 'big is good', 'private sector is best' assumptions.

If you want to understand the future you must know about the past. Boru Douthwaite has given us a brilliant example of the way in which this can be done. -- Flemming Tranae s, Chairman of the Association of Danish Windturbine Owners
" [This] book is a breath of fresh air. Here is an engineer looking critically and creatively at technological change and raising both practical and philosophical questions about the nature of innovation." -- Mike Cooley
" A brilliant book..." -- Richard Jefferson, Executive Director, Center for Applied Molecular Biology to International Agriculture, Canberra Australia


Foreword - Professor Niels Roling, Wageningen Agricultural University 1: Introduction: Why innovation approaches matter 2: The Palaeontology of Innovation: Lessons on Success and Failure from the paddy fields of Asia The flash dryer in the Philippines The flatbed dryer in Vietnam What happens when a technology is first adopted Conclusions 3: Seeing Inside the Black Box: Modelling early adoption (with Darwin's help) Searching for a good mental map Learning selection - analogue to natural selection Opening up the black box Conclusions 4: Blowing in the Wind: How 'bottom-up' beat 'top-down' for the billion dollar wind turbine industry Early history The Danish experience The American experience Conclusions 5: Open and Closed: Linux versus Windows Linux: Open source innovation Windows NT: Closed source innovation Conclusion 6: Uncreative Accounting: Local Exchange Trading Systems A brief history of money Alternative currencies Local Exchange Trading Systems (LETS) Conclusions 7: Food for Thought: Aftermath of the Green Revolution The Green Revolution: Buying time Biotechnology: Big Science's technical fix? Participatory Plant Breeding: a sustainable solution? Conclusions 8: How to Catalyse Innovation: A practical guide to learning selection The learning selection approach to understanding and catalysing technological change Advantages of the learning selection approach Where does the learning selection approach work? The scope of learning selection How to launch a learning selection innovation process Intellectual property rights and learning selection References Index

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DR.BORU DOUTHWAITE is based at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Ibadan, Nigeria. He studied engineering design and appropriate technology at the University of Warwick and later worked for the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines, where he became interested in technology adoption processes.

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