web site hit counter The Innovation Delusion: How Our Obsession with the New Has Disrupted the Work That Matters Most - Ebooks PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

The Innovation Delusion: How Our Obsession with the New Has Disrupted the Work That Matters Most

Availability: Ready to download

Innovation is the hottest buzzword in business. But what if its benefits has been exaggerated, and our obsession with finding the next big thing has distracted us from the work that matters most? It's hard to avoid innovation these days. Nearly every product gets marketed as being disruptive, whether it's a genuine new invention or just a new toothbrush. But in this manifes Innovation is the hottest buzzword in business. But what if its benefits has been exaggerated, and our obsession with finding the next big thing has distracted us from the work that matters most? It's hard to avoid innovation these days. Nearly every product gets marketed as being disruptive, whether it's a genuine new invention or just a new toothbrush. But in this manifesto on the state of American work, historians of technology Lee Vinsel and Andrew Russell argue that our way of thinking about and pursuing innovation has made us poorer, less safe, and - ironically - less innovative. Drawing on years of original research and reporting, Vinsel and Russell show how the ideology of change for its own sake has proved a disaster in the wrong hands. Corporations have spent millions hiring chief innovation officers while their core businesses tanked. Computer science programs have drilled their students on programming and design, even though the overwhelming majority of jobs are in IT and maintenance. In countless cities, suburban sprawl has left local governments with loads of deferred maintenance that they can't afford to fix. And sometimes, innovation even kills - like in 2018, when a Miami bridge hailed for its innovative design collapsed onto a highway and killed six people. In this provocative, deeply researched book, Vinsel and Russell tell the story of how we devalued the work that underpins modern life - and, in doing so, wrecked our economy and public infrastructure while lining the pockets of consultants who combine the ego of Silicon Valley with the worst of Wall Street's greed. The authors offer a compelling plan for how we can shift our focus away from the pursuit of growth at all costs, and back toward neglected activities like maintenance, care, and upkeep. For anyone concerned by the crumbling state of our roads and bridges or the direction our economy is headed, 'THE INNOVATION DELUSION' is a deeply necessary reevaluation of a trend we can still disrupt. RUNNING TIME ⇒ 11hrs. ©2020 Lee Vinsel and Andrew L. Russell (P)2020 Random House Audio


Compare

Innovation is the hottest buzzword in business. But what if its benefits has been exaggerated, and our obsession with finding the next big thing has distracted us from the work that matters most? It's hard to avoid innovation these days. Nearly every product gets marketed as being disruptive, whether it's a genuine new invention or just a new toothbrush. But in this manifes Innovation is the hottest buzzword in business. But what if its benefits has been exaggerated, and our obsession with finding the next big thing has distracted us from the work that matters most? It's hard to avoid innovation these days. Nearly every product gets marketed as being disruptive, whether it's a genuine new invention or just a new toothbrush. But in this manifesto on the state of American work, historians of technology Lee Vinsel and Andrew Russell argue that our way of thinking about and pursuing innovation has made us poorer, less safe, and - ironically - less innovative. Drawing on years of original research and reporting, Vinsel and Russell show how the ideology of change for its own sake has proved a disaster in the wrong hands. Corporations have spent millions hiring chief innovation officers while their core businesses tanked. Computer science programs have drilled their students on programming and design, even though the overwhelming majority of jobs are in IT and maintenance. In countless cities, suburban sprawl has left local governments with loads of deferred maintenance that they can't afford to fix. And sometimes, innovation even kills - like in 2018, when a Miami bridge hailed for its innovative design collapsed onto a highway and killed six people. In this provocative, deeply researched book, Vinsel and Russell tell the story of how we devalued the work that underpins modern life - and, in doing so, wrecked our economy and public infrastructure while lining the pockets of consultants who combine the ego of Silicon Valley with the worst of Wall Street's greed. The authors offer a compelling plan for how we can shift our focus away from the pursuit of growth at all costs, and back toward neglected activities like maintenance, care, and upkeep. For anyone concerned by the crumbling state of our roads and bridges or the direction our economy is headed, 'THE INNOVATION DELUSION' is a deeply necessary reevaluation of a trend we can still disrupt. RUNNING TIME ⇒ 11hrs. ©2020 Lee Vinsel and Andrew L. Russell (P)2020 Random House Audio

30 review for The Innovation Delusion: How Our Obsession with the New Has Disrupted the Work That Matters Most

  1. 5 out of 5

    Taracuda

    I think the articles would have been enough. The book drug

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sharad Pandian

    A book that asks right at the beginning: "Do you ever get the feeling that everyone around you worships the wrong gods? That, through fluke or oversight, our society’s charlatans have been cast as its heroes, and the real heroes have been forgotten?" (6) is exactly the kind of thing a technogrouch like me is all for. Here's a quick summary: I. Against innovation-talk Initially, they make a distinction between innovation and innovation-talk, stressing that it’s the vacuous latter they’re against: Th A book that asks right at the beginning: "Do you ever get the feeling that everyone around you worships the wrong gods? That, through fluke or oversight, our society’s charlatans have been cast as its heroes, and the real heroes have been forgotten?" (6) is exactly the kind of thing a technogrouch like me is all for. Here's a quick summary: I. Against innovation-talk Initially, they make a distinction between innovation and innovation-talk, stressing that it’s the vacuous latter they’re against: There is actual innovation, the profitable combination of new or existing knowledge, resources, and/or technologies… But genuine innovation is quite distinct from innovation-speak, a breathless dialect of word salad that trumpets the importance of innovation while turning that term into an overused buzzword. (10) Because innovation is such a flexible term—and because its success is followed by profit—its promoters have wrapped the concept in promises about its future impact. “The Segway will change the world!” “We’re entering the era of the paperless office!” “The telegraph/airplane/Internet will usher in a new era of world peace!” And so on. We call this hype innovation-speak. Unlike actual innovation, which is tangible, measurable, and much less common, innovation-speak is a sales pitch about a future that doesn’t yet exist. (11) Innovation-speak is fundamentally dishonest. While it is often cast in terms of optimism, talking of opportunity and creativity and a boundless future, it is in fact the rhetoric of fear. It plays on our worry that we will be left behind: Our nation will not be able to compete in the global economy; our businesses will be disrupted; our children will fail to find good jobs because they don’t know how to code. Andy Grove, the founder of Intel, made this feeling explicit in the title of his 1996 book Only the Paranoid Survive. Innovation-speak is a dialect of perpetual worry. (11) They point to how there’s now a booming industry for who can produce innovation-babble: As innovation became a priority, it created demand for what the historian Matt Wisnioski calls innovation experts—a new breed of individuals, often consultants, who offered up visions and plans for how to make individuals, organizations, even cities, regions, and entire nations more innovative. And by “offered up,” we mean sold: You could make good money if you came with an enticing theory of innovation. (30) Drawing from their experience teaching at Stevens Institute of Technology, they point to how senior engineering students are now being trained to “how to bullshit and sell themselves as something they were not” about how innovative their competent but non-innovative works were (108). Using many case-studies and the work of others (credited), they argue that there’s a number of problems with such an approach to innovation: - [the] young, upstart firms that “disrupted” the disk-drive industry in the 1980s. But the firms that were still around in 2014 were the companies that “led the market in the nineteen-eighties,” Jill Lepore pointed out in The New Yorker. “In the longer term,” she concludes, “victory in the disk-drive industry appears to have gone to the manufacturers that were good at incremental improvements, whether or not they were the first to market the disruptive new format.” (31) - there is zero evidence that doing so has led to more new products or business models or upended existing technologies or industries. Disruption is not something you can work toward or plan… Actual innovation proceeds through small steps, not grand strategy. (31) - [Drawing from Stephen Turner:] nobody on this planet knows for certain how to make more innovation in general, and if someone claims to, he or she probably has something to sell you. (32) -Wittgenstein’s point is that we often hanker for universalities in cases where the complex world evades such easy summary. If we consider the broad panoply of things we call innovations—new things entering the world—we will quickly see there is no common pattern for how they come into being and spread through society. (35) we should resist the notion that anyone on this planet knows how to increase the rate and quality of innovation in general, and we should all be skeptical of anyone who makes such claims. The late economist Nathan Rosenberg and others who have written deep studies of innovation have tended to emphasize incremental changes and long processes of continual improvement. Indeed, most innovation and most of the changes that have contributed to the massive transformations of the last three hundred years are of this sort. The incrementalist vision suggests that the best advice one can give about innovation is this: Take care, pay attention, and do your job. It’s not the kind of message that will attract multimillion-dollar endowments to universities or enable your dear authors to open up a consultancy and get filthy rich. But we believe it’s a more honest picture of how technological change actually works. (36) There is no single set of capabilities or skills that links together the inventor Thomas Edison; the creator of nylon, Wallace Carothers; and entrepreneurs like Oprah Winfrey and Arianna Huffington. Some innovations come from gregarious extroverts who see opportunities in every social situation; others from shy autistics who would rather push pins under their fingernails than hang out at a party... Most innovations are incremental and come from individuals who are subject matter experts and who apply themselves to improving the domain they know so well. There is no shortcut to decades of training and hard work. (107) II. Taking Maintenance Seriously - However, they then argue that even obsessively focusing on innovation alone, as though it were an intrinsic good rather than a means to an end is dangerous (12). - Drawing on American history, they point out that it was the sense of failure after the post-war boom led to the shift from “progress” to “innovation”: In the midst of all of this upheaval, use of the word “progress” dropped significantly, and the notion of “innovation” became a kind of substitute, one that offered the ideal of change without the agony of mandating reforms in the structure of American society. As the historian Jill Lepore puts it, “Replacing ‘progress’ with ‘innovation’ skirts the question of whether a novelty is an improvement: the world may not be getting better and better but our devices are getting newer and newer.” (26-27) - The way they want to expand the conversation is to rehabilitate the value of maintenance and care: Since technology is not just innovation, and the tools that we use daily consist mostly of old things, then a logical next step is to think about not only what technology is but also when it is. A piece of technology passes through three basic phases: innovation, maintenance, and decay... When humans interact with technology, they generally do not create it; rather, they use and maintain it. (41-42) [the central paradox of maintenance:] It is, simultaneously, both absolutely necessary and usually neglected. This is a cruel irony, since maintenance is the key to ensuring that the benefits of technology are felt in their full depth and breadth... Maintenance preserves order. It is the constant war against entropy—the second law of thermodynamics, which states that, over time and without intervention, every system will decline into disorder and randomness. Although you wouldn’t know it from histories that fixate on innovation and inventors, much of human history is, in fact, stories of stability: of how societies coordinate labor to maintain the large-scale public systems we’ve relied on since ancient times. (38) - While decay is mentioned: “When technologies are harmful, we should stop maintaining them and instead help them die—put coal-burning power plants in hospice, give palliative care to coal mining” (226), the emphasis in the book is on maintenance. -To better appreciate maintenance, they wish to expand what’s counted as “tech”/”technology” from the current reference to digital gadgets: To find a healthier approach to technology, let’s start by considering a simple definition: Technology includes all the things humans use to help them reach their goals. These things include tools (including ordinary objects like cutlery), buildings, cloth, streets and sidewalks, and the pipes, pumps, and wires that we use to transport water, waste, energy, and information. The late novelist Ursula K. Le Guin had an even simpler definition: “Technology is how a society copes with physical reality.” In her “Rant about ‘Technology,’ ” she noted that “we have been so desensitized by a hundred and fifty years of ceaselessly expanding technical prowess that we think nothing less complex and showy than a computer or a jet bomber deserves to be called ‘technology’ at all.” (41) - New concepts are introduced • deferred maintenance and preventive maintenance (50) • fast disasters and slow disasters (62-63) - Reasons for why maintenance budgets are slashed include cost cutting when economic growth slowed (65) as well as depopulation of many areas eroding the tax base (77). -They point to the issue of “occupational prestige” (103) - how maintenance roles “often fall at the bottom of status hierarchies,” for eg: in the modern corporation “Nearly all maintainers experience condescension on the job, whether it takes the form of being ignored, talked down to, or taken advantage of. In many organizations, for instance, janitors and maintenance workers are required to wear uniforms—often one-piece coveralls—that mark them out as maintainers” (102). This is stark in caste societies, like how Dalits “do work known as manual scavenging, which involves cleaning open-air toilets and sewers by hand” (103). They also point to how care work, typically feminized and undertaken by women, is also devalued and so connect their work to work on care by people like Carol Gilligan, Nel Noddings, and Virginia Held (43). III. The Maintenance mindset Against “The innovation delusion” (157-158), they put forward the maintenance mindset: To understand the maintenance mindset, you should start with a question: What is good and worth preserving? This is the fundamental point of departure from the language of innovation, which asks you to worry about what you need to change, or what will be disrupted—it is a language of fear. Instead, we’re asking you to adopt a new habit when you walk around, or think about your work, your community, and your personal life: Ask yourself, What is good here? And how can I maintain that goodness? How can I preserve and extend extend that which is valuable? (142) …we have distilled three general principles of the maintenance mindset. • First, there is the principle that maintenance sustains success. Maintenance consists of activities that, when done correctly, ensure longevity and sustainability for a company, a city, or a family home. To put the point a different way, no innovation can persist without maintenance. • Second, there is the principle that maintenance depends on culture and management. Good maintenance is possible only with good planning that takes an organization’s preexisting culture and values into account. • The third principle is that maintenance requires constant care. The best maintainers take a nurturing and supportive approach to their work. They are often detail oriented, creative, and, more than anything else, dedicated to their craft. (142) They advocate a “Fix It First” national infrastructure policy (166), but are aware that there are many difficult questions, and that these can only be discovered and answered cautiously, through careful attention “to small details in their communities” (164). Some of these complications include: -The question of how to pay—and who should pay—for deferred maintenance is an unanswered question of justice in our country. (161) -A big reason the true cost of infrastructure and the maintenance thereof is not visible is a trick of accounting. Municipalities are not required to count infrastructure as liabilities, even though they are on the hook for taking care of them in perpetuity. (163) -Making this accounting shift would be painful, pushing the books of most American cities massively into the red, but it would provide a more realistic picture of where we are and would allow us to grapple with reality, even if only on a triage basis. (163) -one thing, infrastructure is highly varied and it may be difficult to come up with standard measurements that cover all of it. For example, we might have to choose between maintaining roads, dams, and schools. How do we meaningfully compare their contributions to our lives and the state of their degradation? (164) - it’s very difficult, sometimes impossible, to know if a new piece of infrastructure is worth the downstream cost. (165) IV. Who’s in the movement? All this talk isn’t just about possible changes – they talk about “repair cafés, fix-it clinics” (200) that have already cropped up to try to allow people to repair things on their own. A theme from the beginning is how people in America across the spectrum contribute to the movement, since ultimately “partisan politics and identities fall to the wayside when people give themselves and one another some space to talk about maintenance and repair” (222). This perhaps is where some gentle criticism should be levied – while the authors make a difference between innovation and innovation-talk, there’s no attempt to unentangle maintenance and maintenance-talk, so they just quote people like Camille Acey saying vapid-sounding stuff like: “One thing I really believe in is customers as partners. We rely on them as much as they rely on us” (190). A good excuse is that the opposition is so ubiquitous that even the modest goal of showing alternate approaches is valuable. This is true, but the next step is presumably trying to evaluate what kind of maintenance/talk is valuable and what isn’t. Regardless, this is a fine mission: To us, all of this suggests that there may be a gap in popular discourse about the things we own and use. On one side is a kind of consumerism that celebrates the rapid consumption of disposable things. On the other are traditions that criticize “materialism” and assert that objects are not the answer to our soul’s desires. What’s missing is a kind of positive materialism that recognizes the deep pleasure and meaning that can accompany physical realities. (210)

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mirek Jasinski

    While I agree with most of the ideas presented in the book, I would stress that we need disruptive innovation as well. It's like with yin & yang - we need to balance the innovation with maintenance (of the status quo!). While I agree with most of the ideas presented in the book, I would stress that we need disruptive innovation as well. It's like with yin & yang - we need to balance the innovation with maintenance (of the status quo!).

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Iacabucci

    Sick of hearing about innovation, pressure to be new/flashy/the latest trend? Wish you knew someone that could fix your damn washing machine - what happened to those skill sets? This book is for you. The appreciation and need for maintainers is something that 100% needs more attention. This book was refreshing, approachable, and necessary in today's society. Highly recommend. Edit - I listened to this book on audible - narrator Rob Shapiro. 5 stars for the narration as well

  5. 5 out of 5

    Doc Martin

    Interesting, but in parts long winded. Totally agree with the authors’ point around being able to distinguish actual innovation and from the false promises of innovation-speak. Applaud their refocus from just innovation to the importance of maintenance, and how to preserve and extend that which is valuable. I could certainly benefit from remembering their general principles of the maintenance mindset rather than moving towards the next shine new thing! 1. maintenance sustains success. 2. Maintenan Interesting, but in parts long winded. Totally agree with the authors’ point around being able to distinguish actual innovation and from the false promises of innovation-speak. Applaud their refocus from just innovation to the importance of maintenance, and how to preserve and extend that which is valuable. I could certainly benefit from remembering their general principles of the maintenance mindset rather than moving towards the next shine new thing! 1. maintenance sustains success. 2. Maintenance depends on culture and management 3. Maintenance requires constant care. Time to celebrate the maintainers of the world. ‘ These workers don’t give TEDTalks, they don’t have philanthropic foundations, and they don’t play volleyball or ping-pong at a lush corporate campus. But when they are successful, their work helps to preserve the appearance of software, social media platforms, and digital infrastructure as smooth, impersonal, and automated. Their work, ironically supports the tenuous credibility of pundits who claim that automation will eliminate jobs.’

  6. 4 out of 5

    عبدالله عطيه

    The actual issues that this book discusses are: -The Growth mentality is bad -Maintenance is very much underrated. I find that the attack is not an innovation itself as much as on the capitalist growth mentality at all costs.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Veronica

    "The innovation delusion is the mistaken notion that the creation of new things, cloaked in the buzzwords of innovation, are the best and only path to resolve all kinds of problems that we face in society, from our personal lives to our businesses or universities to infrastructure at large."

  8. 5 out of 5

    Roy Kenagy

    AAA KINDLE READ0

  9. 4 out of 5

    Hauri

  10. 5 out of 5

    Noah

  11. 4 out of 5

    Julia

  12. 4 out of 5

    Erica Sarmiento

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ben

  14. 5 out of 5

    Logan

  15. 5 out of 5

    Alex

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kris

  17. 5 out of 5

    Florence Meyer

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sim

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lynn

  20. 4 out of 5

    Josh Maher

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ashwise

  22. 5 out of 5

    Toddk

  23. 4 out of 5

    D

  24. 5 out of 5

    Remi

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

  26. 4 out of 5

    Aleksander Gansen

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tammy

  28. 4 out of 5

    G

  29. 5 out of 5

    David Marton

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jani-Petri

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.