Sunday, May 14, 2017

Teaching Our Children Exploitation is Better than Innovation

The public schools talk about teaching innovation.  Business consultants say they can teach innovation.  There has been a steady drum beat for increased innovation. Here is an article from the Wall Street Journal:  The Economy’s Hidden Problem: We’re Out of Big Ideas by Greg Ip, Dec. 20, 2016 (  The article says dwindling gains in science, medicine and technology are holding back growth.  We as parents need to coach our children about how innovation actually works:  people who exploit the innovations of other people profit much more that the innovators.

Today's New York Times,  Sunday May 14, 2017, on page ST-9, has an informative article about innovation:  The Hour's Hot Toy Has a Long History by Alex Williams (  This article says the fidget spinner is #17 in the list of top 20 toys sold on  However, the inventor of this toy, Catherine Hettinger, has not made money off of her invention.

We need to tell our children that selling is harder than inventing.  If you cannot sell you invention; if you cannot exploit your innovation, then you leave it to other people to exploit and profit from your innovations.  After Catherine Hettinger's patent on the fidget spinner expired in 2005, then other people started manufacturing and selling her toy.

If your child wants wealth, then your child should learn about selling; about starting businesses; about exploiting the innovations of other people.  Remember Steve Wozniak was the Apple II computer creator, but Steve Jobs was the computer salesman and probably got most of the wealth.


I have written on this topic before, on my Texas Ascendant blog (

The Exploitation of Innovation, March 13, 2010:
Exploitation, Not Innovation,  August 5, 2012:

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