THE INNOVATORS: Rediscovering America Creative Energy by James; Dan Dimancescu & Ray Stata Botkin

THE INNOVATORS: Rediscovering America Creative Energy

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A smooth, indeed slick pitch for technology and education as the keys to competitive, quality production--without destruction of jobs (for the qualified), elimination of middle-level positions, or deskilling-and-demoralization. As an entry in the national-turnaround sweepstakes, this reflects the recent shift-of-focus from management to production; as an executive rub-down, it's less personable than In Search of Excellence--but it does take in a range of timely, attractive prospects. See 'the transformation wrought by Ford's Employee Involvement program at its Rawsonville plant. (""You feel you're part of something now. By building character in people you end up with quality in parts."") See the Emhart Corporation's commitment to ""integrating state-of-the-art technologies to prevent obsolescence."" (How to keep glass bottles competitive; how to offset lower Italian labor costs in manufacturing shoe machines, where ""sophisticated automation? is difficult.) See Aetna's Institute for Corporate Education--re-education in the new technology. (""Instead of a missing middle, at Aetna the bottom has been dropped."") See New England's fabled comeback, Michigan's government-foundation partnership in applying new technologies to old industries, Mississippi's landmark 1982 education act. I.e., Automation needn't cause unemployment, at least not for the ""educated, skilled and knowledgeable""; nor need technology lead to drone-work. Then the authors (Global Stakes, 1982) move abroad, to assess Pacific Basin competition in technology, education, overall potential for innovation. In Japan proper, they report some much publicized initiatives and drawbacks; but they find ""staggering numbers of executives"" ready to revamp Japanese society to also achieve results. The concluding chapters talk up the education and R&D themes, with examples: regional university-industry consortiums, ""quality"" funding. No ideas or information to grab hold of--no resemblance to a real study, or a genuine tract. But a proficient (if leas-than-rousing) invocation of US can-do, designed to downplay damaging side-effects.

Pub Date: Oct. 31st, 1984
Publisher: Harper & Row