Corporate executives, politicians, and school board leaders agree—Americans must innovate. Innovation experts fuel this demand with books and services that instruct aspiring innovators in best practices, personal habits, and workplace cultures for fostering innovation. But critics have begun to question the unceasing promotion of innovation, pointing out its gadget-centric shallowness, the lack of diversity among innovators, and the unequal distribution of innovation's burdens and rewards. Meanwhile, reformers work to make the training of innovators more inclusive and the outcomes of innovation more responsible.
Does America Need More Innovators? offers an overdue critical exploration of today's global imperative to innovate by bringing together innovation's champions, critics, and reformers in conversation. The book
- presents an overview of innovator training, exploring the history, motivations, and philosophies of programs in private industry, universities, and government;
- offers a primer on critical innovation studies, with essays that historicize, contextualize, and problematize the drive to create innovators; and
- considers initiatives that seek to reform and reshape what it means to be an innovator.
Praise for Does America Need More Innovators?
Today, “innovation” has the same talismanic ring to it as “national security” did during the Cold War. But, as in the past, some experts wonder if too much emphasis is placed on entrepreneurs and innovation. This much-needed volume, with essays from noted champions, skeptics, and critics, offers a critical, scholarly perspective on this vital topic. By the book's end, readers will see that calls for more innovation are embedded in a rich historical, economic, and cultural context.
W. Patrick McCray
Professor, Department of History, University of California, Santa Barbara
In the 20th century, innovation and entrepreneurship were thought of as solitary and heroic individual effort. Now in the 21st century we've developed methodologies, programs, and curricula to help make it scale. This book provides a lively look at the Champions, Critics and Reformers of those programs. It offers important lessons for today's innovators and those who train them.
Entrepreneur, educator, and author of The Startup Owner's Manual
About the Editors
Matthew Wisnioski is Associate Professor of Science, Technology, and Society at Virginia Tech and the author of Engineers for Change: Competing Visions of Technology in 1960s America (MIT Press).
Eric S. Hintz is Historian at the Smithsonian Institution's Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation at the National Museum of American History.
Marie Stettler Kleine is a PhD candidate in Science, Technology, and Society at Virginia Tech.
Errol Arkilic, Catherine Ashcraft, Leticia Britos Cavagnaro, W. Bernard Carlson, Lisa D. Cook, Humera Fasihuddin, Maryann Feldman, Erik Fisher, Benoît Godin, Jenn Gustetic, David Guston, Eric S. Hintz, Marie Stettler Kleine, Dutch MacDonald, Mickey McManus, Sebastian Pfotenhauer, Natalie Rusk, Andrew L. Russell, Lucinda M. Sanders, Brenda Trinidad, Lee Vinsel, Matthew Wisnioski
Lemelson Center Studies in Invention and Innovation
Available from the MIT Press
The open access edition of this book was made possible by generous funding from the MIT Libraries.
The Lemelson Center Studies in Invention and Innovation series is supported in part by Barbara Hiatt in honor of Father John Scott, mentor and former President of St. Martin’s University, who had a deep love of American History.