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Innovation as network phenomenon: Matt Ridley on who invented the motor car

So who invented the motor car running on an internal combustion engine?

Like the steam engine – and as I will show later, the computer – there is no simple answer.

Ford made it ubiquitous and cheap; Maybach gave it all its familiar features; Levassor provided crucial changes; Daimler got it running properly; Benz made it run on petrol; Otto devised the engine’s cycle; Lenoir made the first crude version; and de Rivaz pressaged its history.

And yet even this complicated history leaves out many other names: James Atkinson, Edward Butler, Rudolf Diesel, Armand Peugeot and many more.

Innovation is not an individual phenomenon but a collective, incremental and messy network phenomenon.

Matt RidleyHow Innovation Works

Each of these people made a contribution. What’s yours?

More on innovation:

Matt Ridley: 15 principles of innovation
Efosa Ojomo on market-creating innovation
Marks and Spencer as disruptive innovators
Marc Andreesen on networks of innovation
… and “Scenius”
C├ęsar Hidalgo on the importance of trust in networks of innovation
Astro Teller on planning, experimentation and innovation
Resource: Clayton Christensen on disruptive innovation
Zen Hae on cross-pollination, imitation and innovation
The innovation in your head…
W. Brian Arthur on combinatorial innovation
Seeds (2): bikes, planes and automobiles
Hybrids (2): combinations and connections

I'd love to hear your thoughts and recommended resources...