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Common Innovation: Ordinary People Have Ideas

By Shlomo Maital


Peter Swann is emeritus Professor of Industrial Economics at Nottingham University Business School.  Previously he was Professor of Economics and Management of Innovation at Manchester Business School.   He has been researching and teaching the economics of innovation since 1980 and is the author of 8 books and over 100 articles, chapters and reports.

   His latest book is about a wonderful subject: “Common Innovation”, or, innovation by ordinary people, in everyday life, far removed from the industrial R&D departments of huge companies. * The Wealth of Nations does not come solely from Apple, Google and Intel. It comes from you and me, claims Swann, and from our creative ideas.

   I have not read it. But I intend to very soon. Here is how his publisher, E. Elgar, describes it:

     Common innovation is the contribution of ordinary people to innovation and the wealth of nations. Innovation and wealth creation are not merely the monopoly of business. While Schumpeter described business innovation as a, ‘perennial gale of creative destruction’, common innovation is more a, ‘gentle and benign breeze’. This book analyses some illustrations of the destructive side of business innovation, and provides numerous examples of the ‘benign breeze’ of common innovation.  It builds on the pioneering work of von Hippel, but takes that a step further. In common innovation, the ordinary citizen is centre stage and business can be quite peripheral.

   Swann carried out many studies for government departments and international agencies including DTI, BIS, Cabinet Office, Home Office, OECD and EU.    He was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2005, “for services to business and economic policy”.

     * G. M.P. Swann. Common Innovation: How We Create the Wealth of Nations. Edward Elgar: UK, 2016.


Blog entries written by Prof. Shlomo Maital

Shlomo Maital