If you want to understand how most technology breakthroughs happen, don't turn to your old physics, engineering or even management books. How Breakthroughs Happen: The Surprising Truth about How. Companies Innovate (review). A. J. Millard. Technology and Culture, Volume 45, Number 2, April. Review the key ideas in the book How Breakthroughs Happen by Andrew Hargadon in a condensed Soundview Executive Book Review. Summaries & book.


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First, if you want to create something new, look to the past: Search out existing ideas how breakthroughs happen can be combined in new ways. Think how eBay is nothing but auction plus Internet.

Second, it seems that organizational structure can be more important than individual creativity.

Review: How Breakthroughs Happen

Knowing where to look for ideas and how to network, and surrounding yourself with like-minded people—Edison worked with a team of 15 during his most fertile days—can be more valuable than individual insights.

It can how breakthroughs happen appealing to think of locking yourself in a room—with a how breakthroughs happen, perhaps—and waiting for inspiration to strike.


The reality is that is not the most efficient way to come up with something new. Reviewed by Paul B. Brown, the author of 14 business books how breakthroughs happen The Map of Innovation: In fact, innovation is really about creatively recombining ideas, people, and objects from past technologies in ways that spark new technological revolutions.

This process of 'technology brokering' is so powerful, explains Hargadon, because it exploits the networked how breakthroughs happen social side--of the innovation process.

Moving between historical accounts of labs and factory floors where past technological revolutions originated and field studies of similar processes in today's organizations, Hargadon shows how technology brokers create an enduring capacity for breakthrough innovations.

The successful how breakthroughs happen are those who can exploit networks of social ties. Great emphasis is put on the social and cultural aspects of innovation, especially on the operation of informal networks that disseminate information—a welcome break from histories that are anchored to the hardware and never get out of the laboratory.

These case studies stress the importance of the communities that evolve around new technologies.

Project MUSE - How Breakthroughs Happen: The Surprising Truth about How Companies Innovate (review)

Historians of technology who read this book will find plenty how breakthroughs happen gripe about: The book moves with an almost indecent haste and toward the end becomes a series of hurried lists of sure-fire innovative strategies.

Hargadon has an annoying habit of repeating himself, especially in the overlong summaries at the end of each chapter, how breakthroughs happen seems concerned that the reader will immediately forget all the useful tips he or she has learned.


Despite these faults, there is every reason for historians to be happy with this book, how breakthroughs happen it is firmly based in our discipline and on the work of historians rather than other scholars; psychologists only get a brief mention for their work on creativity, and anthropologists—who might claim this particular approach to innovation how breakthroughs happen their own—hardly get a nod for their contributions.

Instead the author relies on historians who regularly appear in the pages If you would like to authenticate using a different subscribed institution that supports Shibboleth authentication or have your own login and password to Project MUSE, click 'Authenticate'.


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