The “innovation industry” has come to be a sprawling chatting shop, one particular that spans academia, the non-public consultancy sector, and the civil service. All share a mutual fascination in advertising and marketing the plan of the condition as a benevolent and sensible shepherd of innovation. Fentem’s encounter confounds this belief.

“There are youngsters in India who feel the condition invented the Iphone, and not Apple”, Fentem despairs. He characteristics this to relentless promotion of academics this kind of as Professor Mariana Mazzucato, who popularised this quite claim in her 2013 book The Entrepreneurial Point out.

“Eight several years in the past her proposition was deemed a little bit of a joke – and this kind of an evident seize for interest,” he notes. But thanks to unceasing promotion by the BBC and the European Union’s innovation bureaucrats, the plan spread. And a new class has emerged – a “Blob”, to use one particular of Cummings’ favorite phrases. 

“Innovation draws in people who generally never want to innovate. They never definitely have any comprehending of it. If they did, they’d be doing some startup, or working for a enterprise like Apple,” Fentem states. No person in the general public sector is harmed by advertising and marketing Mazzacato’s mythology, he adds: “They all gain.”

And at the time they have the ear of the condition, innovation specialists this kind of as Mazzucato devise additional roles for people just like her – diluting the enter of technologists or engineers. For example, Mazzucato’s 2019 paper for the European Union highlighted the have to have to provide additional citizens into the method.

The STEM component of innovation was explicitly demoted: “Rather than focusing on purely technological difficulties,” Mazzucato recommended, “we can emphasis innovation attempts to remedy societal issues that include technological change, institutional and behavioural change and regulatory change”.