Monday, October 17, 2011

"Innovation": Breaking ground in buzzwords

He did not
produce innovation
I really do have a crime-fiction post lined up, but first a bit about a buzzword so pervasive that many people may not recognize it as such: Innovation.

I mean innovation as a product, not as a process, as an end rather than a means. What do I mean by this? In researching a recent post about Alan Glynn's Bloodland, I found that the author of a relevant statement worked for the Center for Innovation in something or other, and I thought, now there's a name tailor-made to capture the attention of deep-pocketed charitable foundations. What does a center for innovation produce? Innovation, I suppose.

On the other hand, there was Steve Jobs, who produced products. Yes, Jobs was an innovator (Thanks to him, millions of people can call up computer programs by swiping their fingers across a touch pad rather than clicking a button), but innovation for him was a means rather than an end. When innovation becomes a goal in itself, it's time to roll your eyes and watch millions of dollars being seduced out of millions of pockets.

(See "new and improved.")

© Peter Rozovsky 2011

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6 Comments:

Anonymous Linkmeister said...

The good bloggers at Making Light just came up with a bunch of marketing weasel words which you might enjoy.

October 18, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks. I'm waiting for the Occupy protesters to throw away their iPads, iPods, and iPhones, which are, after all, products of consumer capitalism. Let me know when that happens.

October 18, 2011  
Anonymous Linkmeister said...

I think you're misreading their complaint.

October 18, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Their core complaint -- that too many are excluded -- is indisputable. But the very openness of the movement has brought together any number of fringe groups. some of whom are, yes, out-and-out anti-capitalists.

This reminds me of the anti-globalization protests a few years ago, and the stories that reported how they were using the Internet at a powerful new tool for protest and change. Few or no one notes, according to one piece of commentary, that the Internet is the most powerful took of globalization ever created.

P.S. I bought an Apple Macbook Air last week. Just because I roll my eyes at the deification of Steve Jobs and the hysterical overstatement of his influence doesn't mean the man's company does not make good products.

October 18, 2011  
Anonymous Linkmeister said...

Of course there are people on the fringes. Did you not notice the same on the Tea Party side? I was particularly enamored of the clueless ones who demonstrated against a "government health care plan" holding signs which said "Government: keep your hands off my Medicare!"

October 18, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Oh, yeah, that one was the source of much merriment nationwide.

And I did read a statement in a newspaper from someone identified as a tea-party member who conceded that the tea party and the Occupy protests shared certain grievances.

October 19, 2011  

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