Global innovation: Need, Speed, Greed

Book review: Need, Speed, Greed: “Thanks to the globalization and Googlization of the world economy,” writes Economist correspondent Vaitheeswaran, “clever ideas from every corner of the world now have the chance to be taken seriously—even if they come from people without fancy credentials.”

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Need, Speed, Greed:
How the New Rules of Innovation can Transform Businesses, Propel Nations to Greatness, and Tame the World’s Most Wicked Problems

(Harper Business)

Author: Vijay V. Vaitheeswaran

“Thanks to the globalization and Googlization of the world economy,” writes Economist correspondent Vaitheeswaran, “clever ideas from every corner of the world now have the chance to be taken seriously—even if they come from people without fancy credentials.” Not exactly a stop the- presses revelation, and the sort of thing that most hobbles Need, Speed and Greed. Like so many books about innovation and the exciting world of tomorrow’s business, it’s a little buzzwordy and breathless, which can get stale quickly—and when you’re talking about the future, stale is the last thing you want to be.

Which isn’t to say that Vaitheeswaran doesn’t know his subject mattter, or have interesting things to say about it. He argues convincingly that innovation “is not a zero-sum game,” a point often neglected by westerners concerned that a world where eastward economic and demographic shifts must portend a dark age for America. And he makes an interesting case for fostering innovation through incentivized competitions such as the X Prize, which seem to be multiplying. But the book serves best as a round-up of thinking on the subject; there’s little here that’s innovative in itself.

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