Innovation is part of the foundations on which IP policy is built, and improving our understanding of innovation should help IP achieve its incentive-to-innovate goals. This is also the theme of another book I recently reviewed, the Cambridge University Press book on innovation in the informal economy. Innovation has classically been framed as the Schumpeterian "creative destruction," in which innovation (creation) disrupts (destroys) the status quo. Swann puts common innovation in perspective,
If [business innovation] can be described as Schumpeter's 'perennial gale of creative destruction,' [common innovation] is usually much more like a 'gentle and benign breeze.' ... some business innovations have substantial 'destructive' power because the innovator accounts for the beneftis to his business, but does not account for the damage done to other interests. ... [in common innovation], such destructive power is unusual. The interests of the innovator and the user are close, and the innovator is unlikely to pursue projects that are against the interests of the user.A case study chapter examines common innovation and the socio-economic environment. It discusses a oft-overlooked idea in economics - social innovation. One of the case studies which peaked my interest was the provision of pro-bono legal services as a social innovation. Swann notes pro bono work is done for the public good and has risen in prominence since cuts to Legal Aid. However, Swann describes a chicken game (brinkmanship) between government and the legal profession, where the government argues Legal Aid savings are achievable with pro bono support, and the profession argues it can't - and yet the cuts proceed, leading to a socially inefficient outcome.
|An uncommon cat,|
Il gatto Briciola by Peter Forster
Having recently got into a number of debates in my personal life (a professional hazard) about the impact of innovation and technology on workers and consumers, this is the kind of book which would equip me with more things to shout (an excellent debating tactic.) The back cover states that the book, "will be of great interest to scholars and students seeking a more expansive and insightful understandings of the economics of innovation and wealth." That sounds about right, although I would add that some basic understanding of economics would aid the reader.
Swann, G. M. P. Common Innovation: How We Create the Wealth of Nations. 2014, published by Edward Elgar, ISBN: 978 1 84720 050 1, is available here for £72 hardback or £20 paperback. Rupture factor: Low, a comfortable 260 pages.
Book Review: Common Innovation Reviewed by Nicola Searle on Wednesday, July 26, 2017 Rating: