Review of Technological Innovation: Why the U.S. Leads

By Herbert Fusfeld, Professor of Management (retired), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Reviewed by Brian Christian

We hope to offer our readers the occasional book review when something catches our attention.  A friend of Inovo, Alan Fusfeld, brought to our attention a few months ago a new book authored by his father, Herbert. Mr. Fusfeld (Herbert) has had a very distinguished career spanning private industry, academia and government roles. He has also been active his entire career in the Industrial Research Institute, a very important Association in which Inovo is also very active. Mr. Fusfeld remains active as author and Chairman of the Fusfeld Group, Inc. This is his third book in the area of industrial research, technology and innovation.

If you have an interest in the roles of private industry, universities and government in driving technological innovation, and the resulting impact on national economic prosperity in the U.S. and beyond, you will enjoy this book. It is a short and sweeping look at the subject. Several strong themes permeate the book.  One is that it is a myth that U.S. technological and innovation capability is on the decline. While this may be marginally true in relative terms, given the rise of China and India, it is not true in absolute terms. Furthermore, Mr. Fusfeld argues that this decline in relative terms can actually be a good thing in terms of absolute output of technological innovation and economic prosperity.  Second, Mr. Fusfeld argues strongly that all three legs of the technological innovation stool – industry, university and government – are necessary to success.  Further, we must ensure the free flow of human resources and knowledge across these three legs of the stool and across national boundaries. Finally, Mr. Fusfeld maintains that each of these three legs of the stool must understand their important and unique roles in driving technological innovation and take care to sustain and not overstep these roles.

Happy reading!

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