The Imperative Practice of Relaxing Constraints. Howard Morgan got node 50 on ARPAnet in 1972. Forty-six years later, he watched MemSQL, one of the companies he invested in, demo a database that processed a trillion records per second. Few technologists can claim either of those experiences. None can claim both. Where it gets astonishing is the roll call of tech and founders he’s guided over 50 years. The more one gets to know Morgan, the more he morphs into tech’s Most Interesting Man in the World.
The professor, former CEO, longtime investor, and co-founder of First Round Capital has been at the forefront of startups since before they got that name. After years teaching at Cornell, CalTech, and the University of Pennsylvania, he became a founder himself in the ‘80s with Interactive Systems, the first commercial Unix licensee. Morgan’s had a hand in many noteworthy companies along the way, and learned lessons from each of them. Simply put, he’s an encyclopedia of tech history and startup lessons. Take a simple one.
Product Development Payoff Asymmetry — Black Swan Farming. I recently gave a talk at a conference about “Tilting the playing field in product development”. I went through a number of “False Friends” – things that seem like a good idea, but actually lead us into trouble. The last of these was “Certainty”. The story here revolved primarily around the stochastic nature of product development – and what we can do about that. For starters, don’t fool yourself into thinking the benefits are certain, no matter what your gut is telling you. (If they are, your competitors are probably already there and you’re just playing catch up). Succeeding in product development requires the discovery and exploitation of options where there is an asymmetry to the payoff function. What does this “asymmetric payoff” mean though?
The holder of a call option has the right (but not the obligation) to buy something at a certain time at an agreed price (called the ‘strike’ or exercise price). Of course, it depends what the likelihood of these different outcomes are. Re:Work - Innovation isn’t rocket science. According to IDEO, the leaders of organizations who successfully build innovative cultures exhibit the same five behaviors. As a long-time consultant at IDEO, I hear the same four words from companies of all shapes and sizes: We need more innovation. They want to to know what they can do to to generate creativity and support developing ideas organizationally. Should they build an internal innovation lab? Hire an entrepreneur? But before trying something new, it’s important to look to see why innovation isn’t already happening. Innovation isn’t about products, it’s about people. 1. At a major cable network, one employee was inspired to create new programming. Mandates alone don’t change behavior. 2.
It’s easy to give the expected “right” answers and get to a resolution quickly. Be intentional about when to use each mindset. 3. 4. Top-down directives from leadership help set vision and priorities, but they often unintentionally disempower people, too. 5. 10 things I learned from Jason Fried about Building Products. If You Want to Be Creative, Don’t Be Data Driven – Microsoft Design. If you are a designer, engineer, or in any role that creates things, you probably hear a lot about “big data” and being “data driven.” The assumption is that data equals insight and direction. But does it? Data, any data, in any amount brings with it problems that make it very dangerous to rely on alone. Let’s consider a few of them: First, data is just information and alone does not represent objective reality. Next, whatever data you have is never, ever complete, and finally, getting more data does not necessarily mean more clarity. Let’s look at these in more detail. Data is not reality Humans are great at making decisions based on their context and history, but we’re pretty bad at seeing the possibilities beyond that.
If you read “what are you reading now?” All data is missing something Small data, big data, it doesn’t matter. Linda is: While this data might be useful for a profile, almost no one would call this a complete view of a person let alone a population. Any ideas? 1. 2. 3. Units of Time are the New Currency. “The key to investing…..is determining the competitive advantage of any given company, and, above all, the durability of that advantage.” — Warren Buffett Today we’re seeing that a moat—a barrier that protects a company from low-cost competitors or new, disruptive technology—isn’t enough to build a lasting business.
A moat simply buys a company time to figure out the next great business. Just like the invention of field artillery in the 16th century rendered moats obsolete, technology today is grinding down barriers to competition. Technology makes the moat of traditional business a mere jumping off point. For tech companies, it’s always about what’s next — not simply protecting what’s here today. For Buffett, creating economies of scale that drive lower per-unit costs protects a company from the competition. For Buffett, “buying a commodity and selling a brand” creates a moat around mindshare. Buffett’s not wrong, but technology has changed the nature of competition. 1. 2. WeChat Pay 3. Startups worship the young. But research shows people like lithium battery inventor John Goodenough are most innovative when they’re older.
In an economic climate where the top 1% own half the world’s wealth, a new analysis by Credit Suisse suggests that millennials in several advanced economies are likely going to face the worst income inequality of any generation in recent memory. The report, which focuses on the US, Germany, France, and Spain, shows that millennials are generally saddled with more student debt, less inherited money, and stricter mortgages than previous generations.
At the same time, a lucky few are set to become spectacularly wealthy, widening the already large gap between rich and poor. Why? College rewards a select few Millennials, unlike prior generations, are disproportionately burdened by student debt. As of 2013, 37% of Americans in their twenties had some student debt, making up close to 20% of their total debt holdings. What’s more, members of the class of 2015 owe, on average, around $35,000, about twice the amount (paywall) of their counterparts two decades ago, after adjusting for inflation. Inside X, Google’s Moonshot Factory - The Atlantic. I. The Question A snake-robot designer, a balloon scientist, a liquid-crystals technologist, an extradimensional physicist, a psychology geek, an electronic-materials wrangler, and a journalist walk into a room.
The journalist turns to the assembled crowd and asks: Should we build houses on the ocean? To hear more feature stories, see our full list or get the Audm iPhone app. The setting is X, the so-called moonshot factory at Alphabet, the parent company of Google. And the scene is not the beginning of some elaborate joke. Like a think-tank panel with the instincts of an improv troupe, the group sprang into an interrogative frenzy. X is perhaps the only enterprise on the planet where regular investigation into the absurd is not just permitted but encouraged, and even required. These ideas might sound too random to contain a unifying principle. The purpose of X is not to solve Google’s problems; thousands of people are already doing that. X is extremely secretive. II. III. IV. V. What We Get Wrong About Technology. What We Get Wrong About Technology Blade Runner (1982) is a magnificent film, but there’s something odd about it. The heroine, Rachael, seems to be a beautiful young woman.
In reality, she’s a piece of technology — an organic robot designed by the Tyrell Corporation. She has a lifelike mind, imbued with memories extracted from a human being. So sophisticated is Rachael that she is impossible to distinguish from a human without specialised equipment; she even believes herself to be human.
Los Angeles police detective Rick Deckard knows otherwise; in Rachael, Deckard is faced with an artificial intelligence so beguiling, he finds himself falling in love. He calls her up from a payphone. There is something revealing about the contrast between the two technologies — the biotech miracle that is Rachael, and the graffiti-scrawled videophone that Deckard uses to talk to her. Now is a perplexing time to be thinking about how technology shapes us. Paper opened the way for printing. The 4 Types of Innovation and the Problems They Solve.
Executive Summary Innovation is, at its core, about solving problems — and there are as many ways to innovate as there are different types of problems to solve. Just like we wouldn’t rely on a single marketing tactic for the life of an organization, or a single source of financing, we need to build up a portfolio of innovation strategies designed for specific tasks. Leaders identify the right type of strategy to solve the right type of problem, just by asking two questions: How well we can define the problem and how well we can define the skill domain(s) needed to solve it. Well-defined problems that benefit from well-defined skills fall into the category of “sustaining innovation.” Most innovation happens here, because most of the time we’re trying to get better at something we’re already doing. “Breakthrough innovation” is needed when we run into a well-defined problem that’s just devilishly hard to solve. In cases like these, we need to explore unconventional skill domains.
The Truth: Creativity Comes From Blending Dissonant Goals Into Radical Harmony. Steve Jobs’s prominence in the collective imagination of what a truly innovative business leader should think, say, and do has only strengthened exponentially after his death. As it often happens in the case of similarly influential, seminal figures, the hard recollection of facts and of “what really happened” gets quickly out-shined by references to memorable, albeit often anecdotal, events in that person’s life. These are the stories that tend to be told again and again until they take on the aura of myths. We love myths, especially when they come with a hero. There’s no denying that the role Jobs has come to play in the field of innovation-at-large is usually associated with the term “genius”–and I largely agree with this value statement. But I’m interested in how Jobs’s example has shaped our perceptions of where innovation comes from. So what gives?
Okay, so what now? Bringing an innovative product or service to market involves a multitude of vectors. Rediscovering Social Innovation | Stanford Social Innovation Review. Beyond Disruption. Stop Focusing on Profitability and Go for Growth. Executive Summary Today’s era of superabundant capital rewards faster growth. The ready access to low-cost capital should change the way business leaders think about strategy – and, in particular, the relative value of improving profit margins vs. accelerating growth. But too many companies continue to pursue higher margins over growth. To thrive in this new world, leaders must overcome the obstacles to growth in their organizations.
They must reward the creativity and ingenuity required to devise new growth options. They must avoid screening out too many growth ideas and opt instead to invest behind a portfolio of growth experiments (or options). The global financial crisis prompted many companies to pull in their horns, hoard cash, trim costs, and take a wary view of large investments. Capital superabundance, combined with tepid economic growth, has produced historically low capital costs for most large companies. But the scales have now tipped in favor of accelerating growth.
What the Gospel of Innovation Gets Wrong | The New Yorker. In the last years of the nineteen-eighties, I worked not at startups but at what might be called finish-downs. Tech companies that were dying would hire temps—college students and new graduates—to do what little was left of the work of the employees they’d laid off.
This was in Cambridge, near M.I.T. I’d type users’ manuals, save them onto 5.25-inch floppy disks, and send them to a line printer that yammered like a set of prank-shop chatter teeth, but, by the time the last perforated page coiled out of it, the equipment whose functions those manuals explained had been discontinued. We’d work a month here, a week there. There wasn’t much to do. Not long after that, I got a better assignment: answering the phone for Michael Porter, a professor at the Harvard Business School. Porter was interested in how companies succeed.
Ever since “The Innovator’s Dilemma,” everyone is either disrupting or being disrupted. Most big ideas have loud critics. Why experts have killed innovation. Over the last few decades, the Western world has had an increasingly specialised workforce, with workers trained in narrow skills, for increasingly narrow positions. However, the more narrow our jobs have become, the less capable we have become in inventing new technologies, products and ideas.
Innovative ideas tend to come, not from specialised experts, but from generalists. But in today’s economy, education is focused almost entirely on vocational, specialist skills, creating a dampening effect on innovative thought and creativity. The more specialised our workforce becomes, the less capable we are of seeing how our industry relates to other industries. We also become less capable of inventing something to fit the knowledge gap between one industry and the next. Specialisation of the workforce has been driven by a system called “academic inflation”. Where certain jobs used to require only a high school certificate, they now require a bachelors degree, a masters degree or a PhD. Use This Model to Find the Opportunities for Innovation That Everyone Else Misses. Entrepreneurs are always seeking market openings and opportunities to introduce new products.
Sometimes this seeking leads them to unusual or arcane opportunities when more valuable and straightforward opportunities abound right under their noses. We all tend to suffer from the safety of sameness--trying to create a slightly new or better mousetrap, when there are a host of opportunities to innovate the mousetrap. In reality there are many opportunities for any innovator willing to look beyond offering a product or service. I'll introduce a way of evaluating new opportunities and provide two examples of how you can identify far more opportunities. Doblin's Ten Typesplaceholder I'll refer you to Doblin's Ten Types model, which describes ten different innovation outcomes. Putting this concept into action Let's look at a couple of examples.
Or take advertising on clothing. Opportunities abound. Mathematical Model Reveals the Patterns of How Innovations Arise. Innovation is one of the driving forces in our world. The constant creation of new ideas and their transformation into technologies and products forms a powerful cornerstone for 21st century society. Indeed, many universities and institutes, along with regions such as Silicon Valley, cultivate this process. And yet the process of innovation is something of a mystery. A wide range of researchers have studied it, ranging from economists and anthropologists to evolutionary biologists and engineers. Their goal is to understand how innovation happens and the factors that drive it so that they can optimize conditions for future innovation.
This approach has had limited success, however. The rate at which innovations appear and disappear has been carefully measured. Today, all that changes thanks to the work of Vittorio Loreto at Sapienza University of Rome in Italy and a few pals, who have created the first mathematical model that accurately reproduces the patterns that innovations follow. Principles for an Age of Acceleration. 4 Keys to Understanding Clayton Christensen's Theory of Disruptive Innovation.
Simple Rules for Business Strategy. Most of the time, innovators don’t move fast and break things | Aeon Essays. The Top Idea in Your Mind. Re:Work - The Roofshot Manifesto. Failure, innovation, and engineering culture | Astro Teller, X. Hares, Tortoises, and the Trouble with Genius. Innovation is overvalued. Maintenance often matters more | Aeon Essays.
What Is Disruptive Innovation? These are Google’s 4 best practices for fostering creativity and innovation. Tom Wujec: Build a tower, build a team. Www.innovation-point.com/Innovation_Lifecycles.pdf. The Red Queen, Success Bias, and Organizational Inertia. The Technology Adoption S-Curve and the Assimilation Gap | The Integrated Lab. The forces at work when choosing a product. Innovation and the S-Curve. The Law of Accelerating Returns. Get Ready for an Innovation Explosion. How visionaries see the future. Putting Elon Musk and Steve Jobs on a Pedestal Misrepresents How Innovation Happens. Malcolm Gladwell: One Character Trait That Will Make You Disruptive | Inc.com. WHERE GOOD IDEAS COME FROM by Steven Johnson.
The Magic of Idea Math. Product Development: 9 Steps for Creative Problem Solving [INFOGRAPHIC] What Innovators Can Learn From Artists. When Creativity Trumps Ego, Everyone Wins. The Five Habits Of Highly Innovative Leaders. The Inescapable Paradox of Managing Creativity. Let's Stop Focusing on Shiny Gadgets and Start Using Tech to Empower People | Wired Opinion. 3 Signs You're Too Busy to Be Brilliant.
Your Innovation Problem Is Really a Leadership Problem - Scott Anthony. The Proof Is In The Profits: America's Happiest Companies Make More Money. To Create Innovation, Learn How To See A Fourth Option. The Three Essential Properties of the Engineering Mind-Set. Researchers study concept of design fixation. How To Innovate Like A Shark. A Brief Rant on the Future of Interaction Design. How Do You Create A Culture Of Innovation?
Why do we welcome innovation to products more readily than to processes? Teaching Smart People How to Learn. Ideas are not singular. 10 Ways To Create An Open Culture. Google – a new paradigm to cultivate innovation & collective intelligence | Mindful Adventures – Lisa Markwick. The Google Way of Attacking Problems. 4 Ways To Amplify Your Creativity. Seth Godin on Failing Until You Succeed. Changing Perspective: A New Look At Old Problems. Innovation and the Bell Labs Miracle. Innovation: How the Creative Stay Creative -- How to Inspire Creativity -- Tips for Innovation. When Collaboration Kills Creativity - Susan Cain.
Does Collaboration Actually Hurt Productivity? The Fortunes Of Solitude: Susan Cain On Introverts, The "New Groupthink," And The Problems With Brainstorming. Searching For The Soul Of Startups. Minimum Viable Product vs. Minimum Delightful Product | Startup Blender. The Art of Complex Problem Solving. Draw How To Make Toast - a Wicked Problem Solving™ Tool. Search by development stage | Living map of jobs innovators – BETA. Wicked Problems and Social Complexity. Design Kit. Human-Centered Design Toolkit. Gamestorming.