The key insights of Hargadon, Chesbrough, and Chakravorti are substantiated by this engaging story about the big bang of innovation that was unleashed by the microchip — cell phones, personal computers, microwave ovens, antilock brakes, etc., etc. I could not put this book down without a sense of awe for what the likes of Shockley and Kilby wrought.
In early 2003, Larry Ellison of Oracle pronounced the decline of technology innovation. Where is the invention that can spawn a bounty of innovations the way the microchip did? Ellison should read these books. Opening up the walls of captive research to the wealth of outside knowledge offers the opportunity for accelerating innovation. Technology brokers have access to an abundance of ideas generated in these networks of innovation, which they in turn can cross-pollinate into brilliant new products and services. The methods may be changing, but unchanging is the fact that invention and change themselves are inextricable parts of being human. Innovation is far from dead; in fact, it is an unstoppable force of nature.
Randy Komisar (email@example.com[email protected]) has been a founder, executive, or director of more than a dozen companies, including Claris, LucasArts, and TiVo. He teaches entrepreneurship at Stanford University, and he is the author of The Monk and the Riddle: The Education of a Silicon Valley Entrepreneur (Harvard Business School Press, 2000).