I am currently writing a book on why innovation accelerated in the eighteenth century in Britain, which in turn led to the Industrial Revolution. (You can read a summary of the book's argument here). One of my key findings is that innovation is a practice that spreads from person to person. I argue that people became innovators because they adopted an improving mentality - and that Britain experienced an acceleration of innovation because its innovators were committed to evangelising that mentality further.
To stay updated on my research, sign up for my email newsletter, Age of Invention. For my past writing, check out my blog.
My first book, Arts and Minds: How the Royal Society of Arts Changed a Nation, is out now from Princeton University Press. It tells the story of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce - essentially, Britain's national improvement agency, in any and every way imaginable. I like to think of it as a hidden history of three centuries of social reform, from eighteenth-century coffee houses, to the schemes of Victorian utilitarian reformers, the early environmentalists of the mid-twentieth century, and much more. Frankly, it's an organisation unlike any other. It's available here (the publishers), here (Amazon UK), here (Amazon US), and from all good bookshops too!
In terms of roles, I am head of innovation research at The Entrepreneurs Network, a UK-based think tank focused on encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship. I am also historian-in-residence at the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce, having written its latest history. For two years I was also lecturer in Economic History at King's College London, and before that a post-doctoral research associate at Brown University's Political Theory Project. I received my PhD in Political Economy from King's College London in 2016. To contact me:
Email me: anton.howes [[at]] rsa.org.uk Or follow me on Twitter.
Previous work: The Relevance of Skills to Innovation during the British Industrial Revolution, 1547-1851 (working paper) with Anthony Turner, "Harrison and Ellicott on watch wheel finishing, with notes on Samuel Hoole", Antiquarian Horology Vol. 42, 4 (Dec 2021), pp.493-511 (here)
Syllabi: The World Economy and its History (link) Capitalism: For & Against (link)