Sunday, June 11, 2006

The Business press is dangerous

The business press is A follower. Whether a magazine such as Business Week, Fortune, Fornes, Fast Company, or a daily paper such as the Wall Street Journal or Fincancial Times, it reports what has gone before. Unfortunately, it often does so in a tone of breathless excitement as though it had discovered the Laws of Gravition.

Not to simgle it out, but the latest issue of Business Week is a classic. Highlighting Innovation, it reads as though Innovation is new, and so are the rules of Innovation. It features some predictable faces and repeats old truths. For example, it states that innovators have an exlectic, rather tan specialized education, as though it had never heard the term "renaissance man." Leonardo Da Vinci could have taught most of the people featured a few lessons. It was Thomas Edison who invented the concept of the R&D lab (a visit to his factory and laboratory is essential to anyone who wants to learn how to innovate). Arkwright invented the Spinning Jenny, Gutenberg the movable type printing press, Henry Ford, mass production (though some would argue that Samuel Colt did before him), and many, many other innovators managed to innovate long before they read Business Week, Even the 9 rules printed in Business Week are old one, which date from many years ago. As for the polymath who is the inventor, this is not new. It is only recently, that business people became specialists. I, although I studied multiple scisnces and engineering, also learnt Latin and Greek! And though the magazine raves about the young, neither Colonel Sanders nor James Dyson were young when they created KFC and the Dyson vacuum machine. The founder of University of Phoenix and creator of the concept of for-profit higher educationm, was over 60 when he started his business.

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