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Innovation and Its Enemies


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About the Author

Calestous Juma was Professor of the Practice of International Development and Director of the Science, Technology, and Globalization Project at Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. A national of Kenya, he was an internationally-recognized authority on the role of science, technology, and innovation in economic development.


A leading scholar of innovation, Juma looks at the past 600 years of economic history to explain how and why incumbents, and society more broadly, resist technological disruption The book enriches an often one-sided debate in which innovation is seen as the ultimate source of prosperity: something to promote and accept no matter what." * Foreign Affairs *
Not many academic books could credibly be called good nightstand reading. Harvard professor Calestous Juma's Innovation and Its Enemies can, in part because of its use of entertaining stories and anecdotes to illustrate ideas concerning innovation. These stories will prompt many readers to reflect on what they think they know about how innovation occurs and how the resulting advances are accepted." * Regulation Magazine *
Fittingly titled Innovation and Its Enemies, the book charts a fascinating new history of emerging technologies and the social opposition they ignite." * Issues in Science and Technology *
Timely and insightful." * Joel Mokyr, EH.Net *
It takes one of the leading lights on innovation - Calestous Juma - to truly understand the forces that oppose it. Just as technologic change is reaching peak velocity, this extraordinary work provides a systematic, scholarly, and surgical dissection of what can hold us back." * Eric Topol, author of The Patient Will See You Now *
An insightful book that addresses one of the paradoxes of our time, namely why generations that have benefited so much from innovation are so resistant to it. Drawing on a fascinating diversity of historical examples - coffee, electricity, refrigeration, farm mechanization, genetic modification - Professor Juma discusses how innovation occurs, the role of experts and why skepticism and confusion are often inevitable. A must-read for everyone involved in technology development and policy." * Louise O. Fresco, President of Wageningen University and Research Centre, The Netherlands *
An outstanding treatise on how new technologies are created and why they are so often not initially accepted by society. lInnovation and Its Enemies is filled with wonderful stories that go through innovations ranging from cell phones to coffee to the light bulb. I loved reading it." * Robert Langer, David H. Koch Institute Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology *
Calestous Juma's book provides a very enjoyable insight into the attitudes of society and individuals to innovation over the centuries. Its highly accessible style provides the reader with great historical nuggets arising from the introduction of coffee and printing through to reactions invoked when margarine and transgenic crops were launched. The conclusions are supported by amazing facts and details-I didn't want to put the book down because there were so many instances when I thought I knew the full story only to find new twists and turns." * Sir Christopher Snowden, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Southampton *
We all know how difficult it can be to accept truly revolutionary innovations. Professor Juma illustrates the difficulties faced by the innovators with a few case histories and provides some guidelines for avoiding many of the difficulties. One strong lesson is that engaging with the consumers, usually the general public, at an early stage is a very good idea. Another clear lesson is that different stakeholders react very differently to innovation, especially when it seems it might seriously disrupt existing businesses or traditional social structures. A must read for anyone who wishes to engage in such disruption themselves." * Richard J. Roberts, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, and Chief Scientific Officer, New England Biolabs *
We live among so many innovations that we tend to forget that before their acceptance, there tends to be resistance among the public, or by people whose livelihoods are threatened by them. Coffee, printing and refrigeration are among the innovations which have become so widespread that we may be amazed to read about their troubled histories. Other newer innovations, including genetic modification of plants and animals are still in the midst of public scrutiny. Professor Juma's book is a very well-researched account of innovation and its enemies, not to be missed by scholars and the public, both for historical perspectives and readiness for future innovations." * Professor Yongyuth Yuthavong, Former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Science and Technology, Thailand *
Knowledge is a continuum; thus Mendelian genetics has now given way to molecular genetics. Innovation and Its Enemies gives an excellent account of the continuity of innovation and the impediments faced in getting new ideas accepted. The author has given excellent examples of the conflict between the old and the new in scientific progress. A recent example is genetic modification. This book is a timely one since scientific knowledge is progressing at such a rate that often the new technologies are viewed with suspicion. We owe a deep debt of gratitude to Dr. Calestous Juma for his labor of love for the progress of human wellbeing through scientific innovations." * M S Swaminathan, Founder Chairman, M S Swaminathan Research Foundation *
This is a good read and an invaluable reference work for those working on new technologies, especially those needed to meet the grand challenges of the 21st century. Calestous Juma's detailed analysis of how innovations have been accepted or resisted is complete and fascinating. Many view resistance to advances such as GM foods and mobile phones as a modern phenomenon related to recent advances in science. Calestous explains that innovations have in fact been resisted for centuries but goes on to explain how this resistance can, and has been, overcome." * Lord Alec Broers, British House of Lords and Former Vice Chancellor of Cambridge University *
Drawing from an insightful study of over 600 years of technological history, Innovation and Its Enemies is an excellent analysis of forces that oppose new innovative products and services like incumbent industries, fear of change and risk, and socioeconomic uncertainties resulting from the perception of benefiting only a few and costing the majority. A must read for entrepreneurs, policy framers and academicians." * N. R. Narayana Murthy, Founder, Infosys *
This stimulating history of innovation looks beyond just the obvious successes and failures. Between the high and lows lies a large territory where adoption might go either way and Juma's insight is to see how the appropriate deployment of political capital and a deeper understanding of how the average citizen can confuse hazard and risk can make crucial differences to outcomes. Scientific and political leaders need this book." * Ian Blatchford, Director and Chief Executive of the Science Museum Group *
Innovation and Its Enemies is the best book on technology policy of the past decade. Amazing work." * Adam Thierer, Georgetown University, and author of Permissionless Innovation *
Superb! Magnificent! A must-read to anyone holding public office. Having overcome obstacles as president of the Dominican Republic in building the metro system of Santo Domingo, I found in Professor Calestous Juma's book useful theoretical insights into the understanding of why resistance occurs when introducing innovation in the public sphere. * Leonel Fernandez, Former President of the Dominican Republic *

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