Beyond Rationalization: Conceptualizing the Complexity of Innovation Systems

Fred Block
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
1 - 2:30 PM
CNS Conference Room, Girvetz 2620
Fred Block

Research Professor in Sociology

UC Davis

Abstract: The talk will put nanotechnology in the context of the broader innovation system and discuss the dilemmas we face in conceptualizing this system and improving its effectiveness.   The premise is that innovation requires both cooperation and competition across networks of differently motivated and structured organizations.  The constant danger is that a single type of organization will emerge as dominant within the network which would jeopardize the organizational diversity on which innovation depends.  Some specific ideas about avoiding this danger will be advanced.

Dr. Fred Block is Research Professor of Sociology at UC Davis with research interests in economic and political sociology. His current work focuses on what he terms “hidden” industrial policy - activities of the U.S. government in support of the commercialization of new technologies, despite the prevailing belief that technological and industrial advances are best left to market forces. He has authored numerous books and articles, including Swimming Against the Current: The Rise of a Hidden Developmental State in the United States and Rethinking ‘Capitalism'.