The “innovation industry” has evolved into a large workshop for discussion, encompassing academia, the private consultancy sector and the public service. All share a common interest in promoting the idea of the state as a benevolent and wise shepherd of innovation. Fentem’s experience confuses this belief.
“There are children in India who think that the state invented the iPhone, and not Apple”, despairs Fentem. He attributes this to the relentless promotion of academics such as Professor Mariana Mazzucato, who popularized this claim in his 2013 book. The entrepreneurial state.
“Eight years ago his proposal was seen as a joke – and such an obvious draw,” he notes. But thanks to relentless promotion by the BBC and the European Union’s innovation bureaucrats, the idea spread. And a new class emerged – a “Blob,” to use one of Cummings’ favorite phrases.
“Innovation attracts people who basically don’t want to innovate. They really have no understanding of it. If they did, they would be starting up or working for a company like Apple, ”says Fentem. No one in the public sector is harmed by promoting the Mazzacato mythology, he adds: “They all benefit.”
And once they get the ear of the state, innovation experts like Mazzucato design more roles for people like her – diluting the input of technologists or engineers. For example, Mazzucato’s 2019 document for the European Union highlighted the need to involve more citizens in the process.
The STEM part of innovation has been explicitly demoted: “Rather than focusing on purely technological issues,” Mazzucato advised, “we can focus innovation efforts to solve societal challenges that involve technological change, the institutional and behavioral change and regulatory change ”.
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This notice was published: 2021-05-13 05:00:00