Spurring Technological Innovation in America’s Legacy Sectors

November 4, 2015

One of America’s great innovation strengths has long been “greenfield innovation”—standing up whole new “frontier” sectors of the economy based on breakthrough technologies such as biotechnology, information technology, and mobile applications. But the United States has not fared as well in bringing innovation (and productivity growth) to established, “legacy” sectors such as education, energy, transportation, and manufacturing, a vexing challenge that Bill Bonvillian and Charles Weiss address with aplomb in their important new book Technological Innovation in Legacy Sectors (Oxford, 2015).

The book explores key barriers to disruptive innovation in legacy sectors, explains why America needs to rethink existing strategies for promoting innovation, including through a new conceptualization of manufacturing-led innovation processes, and articulates a new, unified, systems-based approach to U.S. innovation policy. At this event on November 3rd, the authors shared key conclusions from the book and discussed the implications for U.S. policymakers.