How innovation will defeat Covid-19

Matt Ridley talks innovation, lockdown and China.

Science writer, Tory peer and best-selling author Matt Ridley joins Chris Snowdon and Tom Slater for the latest episode of Last Orders. They discuss Matt’s new book, How Innovation Works, the UK’s never-ending lockdown, and the worrying rise of corona prohibition.

Pre-order How Innovation Works here.

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Darth Saddius

6th June 2020 at 11:05 pm

I for one look forward to Mr Ridley coming up with some innovative proposals for the British banking sector. What could possibly go wrong?

Christopher Tyson

30th May 2020 at 5:28 pm

My instinctive sympathies are with the eccentric inventor who can’t or won’t ‘get with the programme’, chances are he has been ripped off by some shyster.
In pop music in the 1960s and 70s, the eccentric genius could do well, make a lot of money for the company. By the 1980s this model began to change. I don’t know if there is any particular reason, there were social changes, in the UK the end of the grammar schools, where at lot of self-made popstars came from, ‘artists’ more trouble than they were worth, different styles of music, fashion, that’s the nature of pop. Perhaps record companies became risk averse, employed in-house songwriters, and auditioned for starlets, who they put on a wage. So things move on, people make money but where is the innovation? The business model? Akin to the post-war Hollywood star system, or 1950s pop. There were technological developments in recording, but often the surest way to a hit, was to find a song from a previous decade, or something derivative and formulaic, performed by the current favourite boy band.
There are always barriers to entry in established markets, start up costs, hostile competitors, amongst others. So one point is that a company or group of companies can remain dominant, without innovation. Indeed there may be new products, but as with the pop music example, they are not superior or improvements on past products, they may even be worse. Companies resort to gimmicks and marketing, or tinkering with ‘new improved’ versions.
Just sour grapes from the eccentric inventor? Possibly. Innovation just seems to take on a random form, not the positivistic sense of inevitable improvement.
The are social and cultural problems too. Once a company, or even a particular country get a head-start it can impossible for newcomers to compete. Certainly not just with the production of technology but its application. A society may fail to develop the potential of its people, and they in
turn may become disaffected ‘left behind’.
So, what about political innovation? Education has a role to play, but the education and the innovation may simply support the status quo, an illusion of ‘newness’ and progress, but still a class based society, where talent is not developed, or where there is no or insufficient opportunity for this to happen.
It used to be science and technology, science the dispassionate search for knowledge, technology the practical application of ideas, or sophisticated tool-making. Innovation carries the connotation of something positive and progressive. Some look forward to and some fear a technocratic society, what will become of us if we don’t ‘get with the programme’?
Back in at school in the 1970s, I remember talk of the ‘leisured society’. Maybe that remains the way forward. Maybe a few technocrats can do the work, or program the software to do the work, and the rest of us can chill out. If the plane is flying to where you want to go, you don’t mind who’s flying it or how it works. If you don’t know who’s flying the plane, how it works or where it’s going, you can start to feel nervous and uneasy. ‘Innovation’ sounds good though.

Jerry Owen

30th May 2020 at 4:21 pm

Little Jonnie I note that your allegations have collapsed as well. Unable to provide links of media outlets, unable to respond to the above article, and of course unable to provide a link to me saying he

Jerry Owen

30th May 2020 at 4:22 pm

.. hides behind an anonymous account.
I rest my case little Jonnie.

Constantine Sotiriou

30th May 2020 at 6:54 pm

Hides behind several accounts you mean…

James Conner

30th May 2020 at 3:48 pm

I’m going to get myself a clown’s hat in rediness for Ricky Sixpack’s next budget. It promises to be a real corker.

Final Score:
Hysterical scaremongers: 1 UK Economy: 0

John Pretty

29th May 2020 at 9:14 pm

I would think a bit of common sense would get us out of this “pandemic”.


31st May 2020 at 4:30 pm

Unfortunately common sense is in short supply in our politicians, civil servants, MSM and police.

Adamsson 66

29th May 2020 at 8:57 pm

It will be gone soon naturally

Eric Praline

29th May 2020 at 3:02 pm

Pandemic: “(of a disease) prevalent throughout an entire country, continent, or the whole world; epidemic over a large area.”

It’s called Covid-19, perhaps you’ve missed it.

Highland Fleet Lute

29th May 2020 at 12:29 pm

“It’s innovation that will get us out of this pandemic”.

What pandemic?

Mike Oliver

29th May 2020 at 2:53 pm

You know how words can take on new meanings.
Well in the age of twitter, a slightly more virulent outbreak of flu is a pandemic.

David J

29th May 2020 at 2:54 pm

The pandemic that killed one of my best friends earlier this week.

Jim Lawrie

29th May 2020 at 7:53 pm

Deaths from ;

AIDS – 690,000
FLU – 200,000
Malaria – 400,000
Road Traffic – 555,000
Abortions 17,500,000

Infected with AIDS worldwide- 42,000,000 COVID-19 – 6,000,000

Mark Houghton

29th May 2020 at 8:10 pm

I’m sorry for your friend but few healthy people are killed by this virus but we’ve shafted the economy and that’s going to come at a heavy price.

Highland Fleet Lute

29th May 2020 at 9:34 pm

Eric Praline

29th May 2020 at 3:02 pm

Pandemic: “(of a disease) prevalent throughout an entire country, continent, or the whole world; epidemic over a large area.”

It’s called Covid-19, perhaps you’ve missed it.

Highland Fleet Lute

29th May 2020 at 3:33 pm

Flu killed more people (that were other peoples best friends) two years ago. No one called that a pandemic. No one clapped for the NHS. No one thought it wise to bankrupt the entire country over it. Perhaps you missed it.

Stephen Kenny

31st May 2020 at 1:19 pm

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