7 Sceptical voices
In this section we discuss alternative viewpoints to contemporary concerns of innovation.
So far in this course we have looked in some detail at what we mean by terms like innovation, technology and management, and the ways in which they are often used. Before considering some of the recurring themes in current thinking about innovation, we want to take a brief detour to consider some of the arguments put forward by researchers and commentators who are more sceptical about what we might term the ‘innovation agenda’.
The scale of our contemporary concerns with innovation has its critics. We noted earlier that there is frequent debate about precisely how ‘innovative’ particular innovations are and the extent to which the degree of innovation is a function of public relations as much as new utility. There are several strands of argument that make rather more sustained critiques of innovation (or perhaps more accurately, our apparent obsession with technology and innovation), which we look at briefly in this section.