A History of Technology. Volume VI, The Twentieth Century, by Trevor I. Williams

By Trevor I. Williams

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Additional info for A History of Technology. Volume VI, The Twentieth Century, c. 1900 to c. 1950. Part I

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K . Galbraith, for lists forty-six important product and process innovations and the estimated example, that only large corporations can amass the liquidity of resources time interval between invention and innovation. We shall come later to discuss 52 T HE E C O N O M I C S OF T E C H N O L O G I C A L INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT STRUCTURE 53 the two terms invention and innovation-, at this poin: we are interested simply into his category of multi-component systems. Economic classification of in the variety displayed by the innovations, in gestation time, and in com­ technological change might distinguish disembodied from capital-embodied innovations (indicating whether or not the new technology, to be applied, has plexity, from radar to the homely zipper.

And H amburger, M. Research and innovation in the modem corporation. Norton, New York (1971). br, R. and S awers, O. The technical development of modem aviation. Routledge and Kegan Paul, London (1968). P e c k , M. J. Competition in the aluminium industry, ig4S~igs8, pp. 201-4. Harvard Univer­ sity Press, Cambridge, Mass. (1961). , and Stillerman , R. op. cit. [6]. M aclaurin , W. R. Technological progress in some American industries. American Econo­ mic Review, 44, 178 (1954). Boohs A llen, J.

Reluctance to innovate may reflect that many important inventions came from outsiders. In other industries, a company’s recognition of its own limitations, or a sound judgement of the road to commercial success in its industry. Innovation is one element in a such as plastics, studies have shown [8] that industrial research laboratories have made the major contribution. company’s commercial policy, and cannot be considered in isolation from all the other factors influencing it. cases quoted do include a number where radical inventions have been pro­ Generalization is dangerous where the evidence is inconclusive, but the duced by outsiders, even in industries which undertook research themselves.

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