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One of the earliest systematic approaches to examining the sources of industrial innovation was published as a book by Jewkes, Sawers, and Stillerman in 1958. The book’s title was The Sources of Invention. In it, the authors looked at some sixty of the most significant technological innovations of the first half of the twentieth century. They created a brief case study for each innovation. Then they reviewed all sixty innovations with a view to identifying patterns.
In 1958, the lead author – John Jewkes – published a short article summarizing the findings of the study. This article appeared in the January issue of Lloyds Bank Review. The article is found at: http://www.economicthinking.org/technology/sourcesofinvention.html .
After reading the article, write a short paper that addresses the following questions:
1. Briefly summarize Jewkes’s findings regarding the importance of the following factors in stimulating high-impact innovation:
a. Individuals working alone vs. working in teams (minimum response: 200 words)
b. Innovation arising among individuals or small enterprises vs. large, highly structured enterprises (minimum response: 200 words)
2. One can argue that things have changed dramatically since Jewkes wrote his article in 1958, and that his conclusions at that time are no longer valid in the 21st century. Take a look at the six recent innovations covered in Module 4. Recent High Tech Ventures. To what extent do they support or refute the arguments offered in The Sources of Invention? (1-2 page response, single space)
3. Create a theory explaining the role of individuals/small groups and the role of large teams/organizations in promoting the innovation effort. Make sure your arguments reflect your knowledge gained through your study of innovation. Don’t provide an answer based on uninformed opinion. (1-2 page response, single space)
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