Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Science vs. Technology as the innovation trailblazer


I found this New York times article interesting. It's a review of the book, "The Nature of Technology: What it is and How it Evolves".

In the book, author W. Brian Arthur evaluates the relationship between science and technology as part of an effort to more comprehensively define innovation. He explains that it is a symbiotic relationship where technology takes lead, saying, "...technology is more fundamental than either one." He argues that technology gives rise to science and the economy, and innovation arises as a preconceived solution to a social problem.

All this made me think about our class on law, policy, and the government's use of Universities to pursue the "science” behind technological innovations.

I wonder how Arthur's understanding of the innovation would affect the government’s policy toward subsidizing innovation.

I believe it would generate a greater focus on NGOs and small business that solve social problem (like Grameenphone). These organizations would be encouraged to solve social issues while creating innovations for the use and benefit of other organizations in society. Perhaps we would also see Universities more actively carrying out their service missions as well.

What are your thoughts?

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