Chapter 12: Common innovation: the oldest species of innovation?
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This chapter considers 'common innovation': that is, innovation carried out by 'the common man and woman' for their own benefit. It can also be called vernacular innovation, as it is not intended for commercial use. The chapter has five main objectives. First, we clarify how common innovation differs from other categories of innovation. Second, we argue that common innovation is the oldest form of human innovation: stone-age innovations, from stone tools and pottery onwards, are all examples of common innovation. Third, we show that despite its ancient origins, there are many modern examples of common innovation. Fourth, we consider the economic function of X-Innovation, as described in this book. And finally, we consider whether some types of innovation are becoming dysfunctional, because they produce many undesirable side-effects. This is becoming quite common with business innovation, but not, we argue, with common innovation.

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