WHEN CORPORATE bosses want to impress investors they increasingly reach for the i-word. Mentions of “innovation” during the earnings calls of S&P500 firms have almost doubled in the past decade. And no other sector talks about it as much as the technology companies do. For Hewlett-Packard, a printer and personal-computer maker, innovation has on occasion become what location is to estate agents and education to Tony Blair: so important it has to be said three times in quick succession.
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