Before you read this article...


The company where I work is a leader in providing technical computing software. Its people and products are certainly of the highest calibre. Its mission statement is both heartfelt and among the clearest in the industry:

Our goal is to increase the scope and productivity of science and engineering, accelerate the pace of discovery and development, facilitate learning, and amplify the creativity of research

When I first read this, it made me pause to consider its implication that accelerating the pace of discovery and development is of high urgency or is even necessarily a Good Thing. Rather than accept this assertion at face value, shouldn't we be willing to examine the social and economic dynamics of technical innovation from perspectives that transcend our own self-interest?

I've been around computing and software R&D long enough to have formed some opinions about where it is all heading and why. I don't like a lot of what I see in the marketplace or trade press, and I don't believe that innovation is all it's cracked up to be, or that its motivations and costs get the attention they deserve. In between my last job (writing a weekly IT e-letter for IDC) and coming to my present company, I distilled some of what was disturbing me about innovation fever into a critical essay, which I am happy to share with you here.

I am making the following article available here in order to provoke thought and solicit comments, but do request that nobody transmit any of this content outside the domain, at least not without discussing with me first. I'm sure you understand, and I hope you'll have a good read.

--Geoff Dutton
silica -at- maxentropyproductions -dot- net


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