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Wired for Innovation: How Information Technology Is Reshaping the Economy
 
 

Wired for Innovation: How Information Technology Is Reshaping the Economy [Kindle Edition]

Adam Saunders , Erik Brynjolfsson
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Review

"Compact and insightful, Wired for Innovation provides a synthesis of the research on econometric analyses of information and communication technologies (ICT) that bear on organizational and industrial productivity." -- Steve Sawyer, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology

Product Description

A wave of business innovation is driving the productivity resurgence in the U.S. economy. In Wired for Innovation, Erik Brynjolfsson and Adam Saunders describe how information technology directly or indirectly created this productivity explosion, reversing decades of slow growth. They argue that the companies with the highest level of returns to their technology investment are doing more than just buying technology; they are inventing new forms of organizational capital to become digital organizations. These innovations include a cluster of organizational and business-process changes, including broader sharing of information, decentralized decision-making, linking pay and promotions to performance, pruning of non-core products and processes, and greater investments in training and education.Innovation continues through booms and busts. This book provides an essential guide for policy makers and economists who need to understand how information technology is transforming the economy and how it will create value in the coming decade.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1385 KB
  • Print Length: 176 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press (11 Sep 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0032JTDRC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #135,038 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Valuable summary of IT economics 2 April 2010
By Wfiver
Format:Hardcover
This book helps to bring most of what's known so far about the economic value of IT, to managers and practitioners in business. It is not a typical airport paperback management 'how to' cook-book. If you only like the newspaper smooth writers-craft style of business book, this may not be for you. However if you are a CIO or other senior IT leader in a larger company it is very useful background. It reminds us what is really known, and not known about the value IT creates and the way that can be measured. It shows you how that has been researched and demonstrated by economists so far - and where there is still work to do. If you operate towards the leading edge, trying to make business cases for multiyear investment programmes in new areas of technology enabled business capability; this will help you think straight.
Other reviewers (on the US Amazon website) point out that it has a fairly academic style - with lots of references to studies and papers. That is true, but for the most part they don't get in the way of a fairly brisk read. One reviewer points out that the title is not helpful - I have some sympathy with that. 'The Economics of IT' would be a simpler statement of its contents - and it doesn't sit so well alongside the typical fodder found under the innovation management category.
If the information age really matters, then understanding how it works to create wealth is important. Erik Brynjolfsson's research in this area, for over two decades, has been outstanding. Together with Adam Saunders he does nice job of summarising the story so far. This reader looks forward to the next instalment.

Mark Raskino
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Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Although about technology, the scholarly analysis is much more about economic theory. Intangible assets as capital investment rather than expenses is a breakthrough conclusion.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.3 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wired for Innovation is more wired for academics and not innovation 31 Jan 2010
By Mark P. McDonald - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Erik Brynjolfsson and Adam Saunders tackle the issue of information technology's impact on the economy in this book. The book's title is misleading, as this book is NOT about innovation, so people looking to read up on the subject should give this book a pass. Instead this book is intended to "provide a guide for policy makers and economics who want to understand how information technology is transforming the economy ..." page 11.

Information and IT in the economy is a complex and difficult subject and the authors provide a comprehensive view of the issue and where it stands from the perspective of academic research. This book is a good at covering the history of academic research on the topics of IT's contribution to the economy, measuring information in the economy, organizational capital and the like.

Recommended for readers who are comfortable reading academic research on macroeconomics, as I believe this is the intended audience. The 128 pages are well written and I was able to read the book on two short haul airline flights. As a book looking to straddle the economic and business world, the authors do a good job. The book centers on a `study of studies' than offering a new hypothesis and supporting research.

As a study of studies, the book seems comprehensive and does a good job of bringing in a range of research publications. There are a few things missing, for example David Teece's work on Dynamic Capabilities. One weakeness is that the book relies on 16 articles authored by Erik Brynjolfsson, by far the most commonly cited author.

As a business or strategy book, Wired for Innovation has some significant shortcomings. First the title is misleading; the book does not talk about innovation and cannot be recommended as an innovation book. The book is concerned with macro economic issues such as measuring IT, information and intangible goods in calculating GDP rather than focusing on individual firms. This requires the reader look hard between the lines to begin to draw information and ideas that would be applicable to any one company.

The book does contain some thought provoking data and the description of economic issues is clear, but I found myself glad I had a background in economics while reading the book. Non-economists will get value from the book, but they will often have to step back and translate the author's intend into their experience and knowledge to have it make sense.

In the end this is a good book that bridges the academic and macro business community. There are other policy oriented books that offer more insight and impact such as Zitrain's "The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It" or Beckler's "The Wealth of Networks"

Four stars as an academic/economic book, three stars as a business oriented book and three stars overall. I am glad I read the book and I have many notes in the margin, but that is more from taking an economic outlook rather than one as a business executive looking to understand the role and value of information and IT in their firm and the economy.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating -- shows where the "dark matter" of Productivity comes from 26 Nov 2009
By Bill y - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Brynjolfsson and Saunders have written a short, easy to read but cogent explanation of the mysterious productivity increase arising from IT. The book was intended to illuminate strategy and it did just that. They discuss at length how the IT revolution had to be merged with equivalent business processes before the value could be realized. Both IT and procedural changes are necessary. Organizational capital, not shown on the balance sheet, accounts for a great deal of productivity. I particularly liked the "seven pillars of the digital organization." Some firms get extraordinary value out of IT; others, spending just as much money, do not. Another point stressed is that a dollar of IT assets, with appropriate training, support and organizational change, can provide far more value than a dollar spent on plant and equipment. The author's assertions are backed up by copious hard dollar examples as well as references in the literature. If you are a fast reader, you can cover the material in 3-5 hours. This is a real contribution to the IT and business literature. Bill Yarberry, Houston Texas
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wired for Innovation an important read! 22 Sep 2009
By Michael LoBue - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Brynjolfsson and Saunders did a masterful job of synthesizing a vast amount of material from a broad range of subject areas to produce a highly readable book on issues central to the economic challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

Unlike so many business books today, the authors are not trying to pass along advice, which is refreshing. Rather, they provide a framework for understanding why productivity is vital and how information technology has contributed to innovation that drives productivity. This is one of those books worth tossing in the brief case as a travel companion on the next business trip.
3.0 out of 5 stars A book that does not know who its audience is and hence is little value to either the economically knowledgeable or to laymen 31 Aug 2014
By Yoda - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The biggest problem with this book is that it does not seem to know who its audience is. These relatively short MIT Press monograms are usually written for upper level Economics undergrads but most of the facts that are presented in here would not exactly be a revelation to those with such a background. For example the authors, Erik Brynjolfsson and Adam Saunders, point out that increases in GDP due to the use of information technology are hard to measure. They also point out that organizational changes need to occur to take advantage of such technology. They make the analogy with the application of dynamos in the past using the famous article by David (1990) showing that only after there were many other complimentary changes in factories, such as factory layouts, was this technology able to be properly and fully taken advantage of. None of this would really be a revelation, however, to such an audience.

Someone could counter, on the other hand, that this book is not really intended for such an audience but is, instead, targeted at laymen. However, laymen would not be really familiar with the many articles that the authors just mention (without a full length exposition) such as the David article mentioned above or the nobel prize winner Ronald Coase's work, early in his career, on firm and market size, vis-à-vis each other. These early articles of Coase imply that technology that enables firms to reduce communication costs and impediments (such as IT) would lead to less vertical integration within firms and more sub-contracting (i.e., use of markets as opposed to performing tasks within the firm itself). However, unless one is really very familiar with Coase's work this is not self-evident. The problem is that the authors do not explicitly discuss this and make it obvious to lay readers without this background. Thus the fact that the book does not do this makes it of very limited to laymen.

Hence the book is of little value to either those with a decent economic background, at say the equivalent of an economics upper undergrad major, or to laymen. This begs the question of who, exactly, was this book was intended for?
3.0 out of 5 stars Not for the faint-hearted 20 Mar 2014
By Kiwi Cove - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
While I don't underestimate or downrate Brynjolfsson's technical research, this is a dense economic text, and didn't focus nearly as much on innovation as I had expected from the title.
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