Repair is as important as innovation

IN 1533 A noblewoman in Calais presented a visiting grandee with a peculiar gift: her personal toothpick, which, she was eager to point out, she had used for seven years. Whether it pleased her guest is not known, according to Hazel Forsyth, a curator at the Museum of London. But the story amused Ms Forsyth’s audience at last month’s “Festival of Maintenance”, a conference dedicated to keeping things in good nick.

Events about making new things are ten a penny. Less common are events about keeping things as good as new. Maintenance lacks the glamour of innovation. It is mostly noticed in its absence—the tear in a shirt, the mould on a ceiling, the spluttering of an engine. Not long ago David Edgerton of Imperial College London, who also spoke at the festival, drove across the bridge in Genoa that collapsed in August, killing 43 people (pictured). “We’re encouraged to pride ourselves on all being innovators and...



via The Economist: Finance and economics Business Feeds

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