When you think about innovation, what comes to mind?
Do you immediately envision scientists in lab coats and lines of computer code? The latest electronic gadget, app or mobile device? An Innovation District start-up working on a pharmaceutical breakthrough or new social media platform? The next Facebook! The next Twitter!
That kind of innovation — the high-tech kind — is often pointed to as the way to boost local economies. It's why many communities create start-up incubators and celebrate when companies such as Google or Microsoft come to town.
But what if that's the wrong way to think about economic revival, especially in cities and towns really struggling financially, like Lowell and Holyoke and New Bedford? Why not instead — and this may sound counter-intuitive — turn to to farming or fishing or factory work for economic revitalization? Hands-on trades that made many cities so strong a century or so ago?
In other words, why don't we "unnovate?"
WBUR's Sacha Pfeiffer explores the concept of "unnovation."
Catherine Tumber, historian, journalist and visiting scholar at Northeastern University. She's also the author of "Small, Gritty, and Green: The Promise of America's Smaller Industrial Cities in a Low-Carbon World."
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