Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Dynamism by Design

Which factors catalyze industrial and design clusters such as Silicon Valley, and can government policy help to replicate them? Has specialization increased to such a degree that only teamwork can yield the kind of technological and design breakthroughs seen in the past? Are today’s prevailing technical skills readily transferable between fields as diverse as filmmaking and organ transplantation?

From Thomas Edison to Steve Jobs, the image of the lone genius pushing the frontiers of knowledge, technology, and design has long shaped our ideas about how the world advances. And, for much of human history since the Industrial Revolution, a lightning stroke of brilliance was, indeed, what made the world’s market economies dynamic. But is that still true today, or has the very nature of innovation changed?

One factor that has redefined innovation is innovation itself: huge improvements in computing power and communications have dramatically expanded access to cutting-edge research and facilitated collaboration with colleagues near and far. The result has been fundamental change not only in how research in technology, production, and medicine is conducted, but also in what is innovated.

In Project Syndicate’s exclusive series Dynamism by Design, the world’s leading experts in architecture, industrial design, medical research, economics, and other fields examine the causes and consequences of breakthrough innovations in communications, transport, energy (and energy storage), biotechnology, and similarly crucial sectors. Together, they address key issues that interest and attract sophisticated readers worldwide: the purpose of technological progress, and its intersection with economic dynamism, human freedom, and aesthetic advance.

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