Here’s more fodder for economist Tyler Cower’s “Great Stagnation” thesis.
For the uninitiated, Cowen argues, in short, that technological innovations are harder to come by, rates of annual growth have therefore stagnated, and Americans need to adjust to the reality that prosperity won’t grow on trees like it seemed to in the last century.
Appropriately, Leslie Kwoh has an instructive piece in the Wall Street Journal explaining how companies fling around the term “innovation” with abandon. These days, it pretty much means everything except what it used to plainly mean:
Like the once ubiquitous buzzwords “synergy” and “optimization,” innovation is in danger of becoming a cliché — if it isn’t one already.
“Most companies say they’re innovative in the hope they can somehow con investors into thinking there is growth when there isn’t,” says Clayton Christensen, a professor at Harvard Business School and the author of the 1997 book, “The Innovator’s Dilemma.”
One company, notes Kwoh with a hint of acidity, is considering dropping “innovation” in favor of “inventive.” You see, because “Inventive is a mind set; innovation is a thing.”
Let’s see how long corporate America can milk that distinction.