TITLE

The Breakthrough Illusion

AUTHOR(S)
Florida, Richard; Kenney, Martin
PUB. DATE
January 1991
SOURCE
2020 Vision - Business Book Summaries;1991, Vol. 1 Issue 1, p1
SOURCE TYPE
Review
DOC. TYPE
Book summary
ABSTRACT
It is the contention of Florida and Kenney in The Breakthrough Illusion, that there is trouble in America’s high-tech paradise. Whereas conventional wisdom touts the remarkable breakthroughs of the Silicon Valley and Route 128, these authors warn that the breakthrough economy has fallen into the same trap as the old economy by viewing manufacturing and production workers as a necessary nuisance rather than an integral part of operations.The breakthrough economy is based on the myth that innovation is synonymous with technological breakthrough. Although breakthrough innovations may once have created permanent advantage for American companies, that is no longer the case. The new reality is that the U.S. makes the breakthroughs, while other countries, particularly Japan, provide the follow-through.In fact, the basis of Japan’s success lies in its capacity to make important follow-through innovations in products and manufacturing processes. Japanese corporations quickly transform laboratory technologies into state-of-the-art high-tech consumer products, office equipment, and industrial machines-and in this way, outflank American companies with more advanced next-generation products.Important to their success is the new model of high-tech industrial organization they created. Teams are the cornerstone of this new model, providing decentralized, nonhierarchical, and integrated environments. The collective group approach to problem solving overcomes task specialization and enhances breakthrough capacity by unleashing the creativity and intelligence of high-tech think-workers. Teamwork is an important motivator. It enables individuals to devote themselves to one project and gives workers a sense of control, resulting in a willingness to put in extra hours.Florida and Kenney see America’s sense of optimism concerning the industrial patchwork of organizational "fixes" and the borderless flow of capital and technology as naive. They warn that until this nation whose mass production once dominated world markets learns to reconnect research and development with production, foreigners will continue to provide the follow-through for American innovations.
ACCESSION #
16898513

 

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