We live in an age of increasingly rapid technological innovation and diffusion. Yet little is known about the social and human processes involved. 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? And if users are democratically involved in technological adaptation and adoption, will the result often be both better technologies and their more rapid adoption?
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. Douthwaite 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 of our age.
Publisher: Zed Books Ltd
Number of pages: 288
Weight: 320 g
Dimensions: 216 x 138 x 23 mm
'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 Tran`s, Chairman of The Association of Danish Windturbine Owners
'This is an original and important book. It challenges the conventional wisdom of many development assistance programmes. Douthwaite leads us to a better understanding of the factors that determine people's willingness and ability to adopt new technologies' - Professor Jeff Sayer, Director General, CIFOR
'The author has constructed a "how to do it" guide to innovation management that tries to counter many of the top-down development assumptions of today.' - LEISA Magazine
'Highly recommended, particularly for colleges and universities with engineering colleges or programs.' - Choice
'Boru Douthwaite's 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. Hopefully, engineering departments will include it in their courses. And for those already engaged in setting up companies and introducing new products there are useful, practical guides such as the section "How to launch a learning selection innovation process"' - Mike Cooley
'A brilliant book ... Douthwaite makes a very cogent case for using neo-Darwinian thinking for what he calls 'Learning Selection' as a preferred mode of technology invention' - Richard Jefferson, Executive Director, Center for Applied Molecular Biology to International Agriculture (CAMBIA), Canberra, Australia
'A refreshing approach to innovation as a complex adaptive multi-agent system. Innovation emerges as different agents learn and select improvements. Hence it is not the experts that generate knowledge and technology for us. We do it best ourselves in self-organising networks of interaction ... Based on a compelling use of examples from agriculture, industry, economy and IT, the book is relevant for a wide audience of people who look for ideas on which to base the management of innovation.' - Niels Roling, Professor of Communication and Innovation Studies, Wageningen University, The Netherlands