Innovation in a waste economy
Despite the creativity of British engineers, British industry continues to lack innovative drive because of a climate inimical to commercial success. Contemporary industrial economies, unlike that of Victorian Britain, are geared to produce rapidly consumed and discarded products. Victorian engineers sought primarily to add to society's stock of capital rather than to consumption, and their designs were intended to endure rather than to promote change. All were subject to scrutiny on strict commercial criteria as a measurement of their fitness for their intended purpose. This represents a change in what society demands of the engineer. The innovator is, in Britain, subject to particular discouragements in the form of: low prestige attached to engineering, inadequate financial provision for investment, high corporate and personal taxation and bureaucratic encumbrances by government. By contrast, to flourish, innovation requires leadership, reward, recognition, a flexible economy and a flexible workforce, and adequate and cheap capital.
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Volume (Year): 5 (1977)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
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