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

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.