The Real, Large-scale "Gamechanger" Innovators:

Pioneering Users of Technological Innovations

The term “completely original analysis” is overused—by me, among others. But Amar Bhide’s well-received book, The Venturesome Economy: How Innovation Sustains Prosperity in a More Connected World, deserves this accolade.

The argument in a nutshell: The most important innovations are not the highly visible technology breakthroughs. They are, instead, the innovations created by consumers of the breakthrough innovations.

Here are a few of the media reviews cited at Amazon:

“In [Bhide’s] view, many analysts put too much emphasis on the production of new technological ideas. Instead, he observes, the real economic payoff lies in innovations in how technologies are used.”—Steve Lohr, New York Times.

“Arguments for protectionism are based on fears that are wholly at odds with the evidence. The experience of recent years does not support the idea that millions of jobs will be outsourced to cheap foreign locations. … [Amar Bhide argues] it is in the application of innovations to meet the needs of consumers that most economic value is created, so what matters is not so much where the innovation happens but where the ‘venturesome consumers’ are to be found. America’s consumers show no signs of becoming less venturesome, and its government remains committed to the idea that the customer is king.”—Matthew Bishop, the Economist.

“Innovation everywhere is a boon to America. That’s the argument from [Bhide] who sees hidden value in America’s unique ability to integrate and consume big new ideas, no matter where they’re spawned.”—Kirk Shinkle, U.S. News & World Report.

“A rigorously researched and original analysis that challenges much received wisdom about the process of innovation, particularly in the U.S. … In his analysis of innovation, Bhide distinguishes between cutting-edge scientific discoveries and ideas—what he calls ‘high-level’ know-how—and the kind of know-how needed to turn these ideas into innovative products and services to meet the needs of specific markets (‘mid- and ground-level innovation’). He says not enough attention has been paid to this mid- and ground-level activity, in particular to the commercial and organizational effort needed to turn scientific breakthroughs into useful products, or to how well America does it.”—Fergal Byrne, Financial Times.

“[Bhide’s] core message is that you need innovative consumers. This, rather than the cutting-edge stuff in the university labs or the research departments of the multinationals, is what gives America its edge.”—Hamish McRae, the Independent.

If I am a good judge, I predict you’ll never look at the world of innovation the same way again if–after you read this book.