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Atul Gawande: How Do Good Ideas Spread?

Atul Gawande: How Do Good Ideas Spread?
Why do some innovations spread so swiftly and others so slowly? Consider the very different trajectories of surgical anesthesia and antiseptics, both of which were discovered in the nineteenth century. The first public demonstration of anesthesia was in 1846. On October 16, 1846, at Massachusetts General Hospital, Morton administered his gas through an inhaler in the mouth of a young man undergoing the excision of a tumor in his jaw. Four weeks later, on November 18th, Bigelow published his report on the discovery of “insensibility produced by inhalation” in the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal. There were forces of resistance, to be sure. Sepsis—infection—was the other great scourge of surgery. In the eighteen-sixties, the Edinburgh surgeon Joseph Lister read a paper by Louis Pasteur laying out his evidence that spoiling and fermentation were the consequence of microorganisms. Far from it. Did the spread of anesthesia and antisepsis differ for economic reasons? Related:  100ème singe & propagation

Une opinion partagée par 10% des gens deviendra majoritaire Pour qu’une opinion minoritaire finisse par devenir majoritaire, il suffit qu’elle soit partagée par 10% de la population. Telle est la conclusion d’une étude d’un centre de recherche américain, le Social Cognitive Networks Academic Research Center (SCNARC), résumée par le blog économique Freakonomics: «Une fois que 10% de la population s’engage pour une idée, il est inévitable qu’elle devienne finalement l’opinion prédominante du groupe entier. Le directeur du SCNARC, Boleslaw Szymanski, résume également cette étude dans un communiqué diffusé par son institution: «Quand le nombre de gens engagés en faveur d’une opinion est inférieur à 10%, il n’existe pas de progrès visible dans la diffusion de cette idée. Le scientifique cite comme illustration de cette théorie les évènements de l’hiver en Tunisie et en Egypte: «Dans ces pays, des dictateurs qui étaient au pouvoir depuis des décennies ont été brutalement renversés en seulement quelques semaines.» Pas valable dans les sociétés polarisées

Mapping Projects Against Commitment ​It takes a drawing to see how the roll-out plan of an ERP implementation and the stages of commitment go hand in hand. Building further on last week’s post about Daryl Conner’s 8 stages of commitment, I forgot to tell that there is another good use we can make of this model. Now that we have checked the phases and thresholds against the stages of social architecture, it’s time to see how they can be a guideline throughout our projects. In the below drawing I have attempted to match the 8 stages of commitment on the typical project phases of an ERP roll-out. Some remarkable conclusions can be made when we look at that drawing: The phases of project setup and design are both below the disposition threshold and the level of commitment we can expect during those phases goes no further than contact or awareness (reality check: I have known this to be true in my world).

Coca-Cola to open startup accelerators in nine countries around the world Coca-Cola has already launched accelerators in Sydney and San Francisco. When you think of Coca-Cola do startups come to mind? The beverage giant has plans for accelerator programs in nine cities including Berlin and Istanbul by the end of the year. The accelerators in Sydney and San Francisco have already launched. According to a presentation given by Coca-Cola VP of Innovation David Butler in Sydney in early August, the Mexico City program should also already be active. The next cities lined up are Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Bangalore, Berlin, Singapore and Istanbul. “About a year and a half ago, the company stepped back and said – what are we not doing in terms of innovation?” The details so far are pretty vague – deliberately so, as it’s still an experiment for the company. A Coke-branded device to make you healthy? Butler told the crowd in Sydney that two broad areas of interest will be well being and distribution but the specifics will depend on each city and country.

The decline effect and the scientific method On September 18, 2007, a few dozen neuroscientists, psychiatrists, and drug-company executives gathered in a hotel conference room in Brussels to hear some startling news. It had to do with a class of drugs known as atypical or second-generation antipsychotics, which came on the market in the early nineties. The drugs, sold under brand names such as Abilify, Seroquel, and Zyprexa, had been tested on schizophrenics in several large clinical trials, all of which had demonstrated a dramatic decrease in the subjects’ psychiatric symptoms. As a result, second-generation antipsychotics had become one of the fastest-growing and most profitable pharmaceutical classes. By 2001, Eli Lilly’s Zyprexa was generating more revenue than Prozac. It remains the company’s top-selling drug. But the data presented at the Brussels meeting made it clear that something strange was happening: the therapeutic power of the drugs appeared to be steadily waning. The study turned him into an academic star.

How a secretive panel uses data that distorts doctors’ pay “I have experience,” the Yale-trained, Orlando-based doctor said. “I’m not that slow; I’m not fast. I’m thorough.” This seemingly miraculous proficiency, which yields good pay for doctors who perform colonoscopies, reveals one of the fundamental flaws in the pricing of U.S. health care, a Washington Post investigation has found. Unknown to most, a single committee of the AMA, the chief lobbying group for physicians, meets confidentially every year to come up with values for most of the services a doctor performs. Those values are required under federal law to be based on the time and intensity of the procedures. But the AMA’s estimates of the time involved in many procedures are exaggerated, sometimes by as much as 100 percent, according to an analysis of doctors’ time, as well as interviews and reviews of medical journals. If the time estimates are to be believed, some doctors would have to be averaging more than 24 hours a day to perform all of the procedures that they are reporting.

The 100th Monkey Syndrome Copyrights, Patents, And Trademarks Fade To The 100th Monkey Syndrome How Can There Be Intellectual Ownership? You have probably heard about the 100th Monkey Syndrome? It's happened many times where a few monkeys in a remote area learn something new that has never been done before by other monkeys. And when this new action has been practiced enough times, suddenly, other monkeys- even in completely different parts of the world- begin doing what was learned by those few monkeys. The whole idea about copyrights, patenting and trademarks in the future will likely change due to this phenomena called the 100th Monkey Syndrome. You see that quite often in science where teams in different parts of the world basically make very similar or the same discovery at around the same time. So if your ideas don't belong to you, then how do you copyright them or patent them or trademark a symbol that you got out of thin air? But we are talking about the future, where we are evolving towards.

Implications for Practitioners Using the Burning-Platform Metaphor | Conner Partners With the previous three posts as a foundation, the following implications may be helpful for change practitioners who wish to use the burning-platform metaphor in their work. 1. When real burning-platform urgency is at hand (due to either current or anticipated problems or opportunities), it means people believe the penalty for not realizing the intended outcomes is significantly higher than the investment for doing so. - Current problems attract attention more easily but they usually provide only limited options. - Anticipated opportunities are the hardest to convince people to accept because it often looks as if something is being fixed that isn’t broken. - Timing is important. - With true business imperatives, commitment is inevitable…the issue is whether the determination to take action will come forward in time to be meaningful. 2. - The fact that a burning-platform-type situation is scary doesn’t mean fear is at the heart of the unfolding dynamics. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.

Habits of Successful People: Start Before You Feel Ready In 1966, a dyslexic sixteen-year-old boy dropped out of school. With the help of a friend, he started a magazine for students and made money by selling advertisements to local businesses. With only a little bit of money to get started, he ran the operation out of the crypt inside a local church. Four years later, he was looking for ways to grow his small magazine and started selling mail order records to the students who bought the magazine. The records sold well enough that he built his first record store the next year. After two years of selling records, he decided to open his own record label and recording studio. He rented the recording studio out to local artists, including one named Mike Oldfield. Over the next decade, the young boy grew his record label by adding bands like the Sex Pistols, Culture Club, and the Rolling Stones. How I Met Sir Richard Branson Two weeks ago, I walked into a conference room in Moscow, Russia and sat down ten feet from Branson. —Richard Branson Start Now

Gut feelings: the future of psychiatry may be inside your stomach Her parents were running out of hope. Their teenage daughter, Mary, had been diagnosed with a severe case of obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD), as well as ADHD. They had dragged her to clinics around the country in an effort to thwart the scary, intrusive thoughts and the repetitive behaviors that Mary felt compelled to perform. Even a litany of psychotropic medications didn’t make much difference. Their last hope for Mary was Boston-area psychiatrist James Greenblatt. Greenblatt started by posing the usual questions about Mary’s background, her childhood, and the onset of her illness. That’s what prompted Greenblatt to take a surprising approach: besides psychotherapy and medication, Greenblatt also prescribed Mary a twice-daily dose of probiotics, the array of helpful bacteria that lives in our gut. Her parents may have been stunned, but to Greenblatt, Mary’s case was an obvious one. For decades, researchers have known of the connection between the brain and the gut Read next:

George Saunders's Advice to Graduates It’s long past graduation season, but we recently learned that George Saunders delivered the convocation speech at Syracuse University for the class of 2013, and George was kind enough to send it our way and allow us to reprint it here. The speech touches on some of the moments in his life and larger themes (in his life and work) that George spoke about in the profile we ran back in January — the need for kindness and all the things working against our actually achieving it, the risk in focusing too much on “success,” the trouble with swimming in a river full of monkey feces. The entire speech, graduation season or not, is well worth reading, and is included below.

Minority rules: Scientists discover tipping point for the spread of ideas Scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have found that when just 10 percent of the population holds an unshakable belief, their belief will always be adopted by the majority of the society. The scientists, who are members of the Social Cognitive Networks Academic Research Center (SCNARC) at Rensselaer, used computational and analytical methods to discover the tipping point where a minority belief becomes the majority opinion. The finding has implications for the study and influence of societal interactions ranging from the spread of innovations to the movement of political ideals. "When the number of committed opinion holders is below 10 percent, there is no visible progress in the spread of ideas. It would literally take the amount of time comparable to the age of the universe for this size group to reach the majority," said SCNARC Director Boleslaw Szymanski, the Claire and Roland Schmitt Distinguished Professor at Rensselaer.

The Beliefs that Built a Global Brewer - James Allen by James Allen | 11:52 AM April 27, 2012 Anheuser Busch InBev (AB InBev) announced its annual financial results this month and they are impressive, especially for a company with roots as a small brewer in Sao Paolo, Brazil. Now the largest beer company in the world, AB InBev reported a double digit EBITDA growth rate and almost 30% growth in earnings per share. And yet, in announcing those numbers, management confessed: “We know we can do better. That’s AB InBev in a nutshell: a relentless focus on achieving bottom line results, coupled with a ‘desire to dream.’ Observers tend to overlook the “dream” talk and chalk up AB InBev’s extraordinary success to its relentless cost cutting culture. To understand what made AB InBev — a descendant of multiple mergers and acquisitions — the success story it is today, let’s trace the lineage of this ‘desire to dream’ through its complex family tree. Expanding rapidly throughout South America, AmBev soon became the third largest brewer in the world.

The Rise of the Intangible Economy: U.S. GDP Counts R&D, Artistic Creation On July 31, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis will rewrite history on a grand scale by restating the size and composition of the gross domestic product, all the way back to the first year it was recorded, 1929. The biggest change will be the reclassification—nay, the elevation—of research and development. R&D will no longer be treated as a mere expense, like the electricity bill or food for the company cafeteria. It’s a great idea, if late. GDP is the main yardstick of macroeconomics—the sum total of all goods and services produced in the country. The effect of the revision will be immediate. Of course, it’s hard to work up much excitement over an upward revision in historical GDP figures. Intangible investment is far from a faddish new idea. Economic theory was ahead of accounting practice. The U.S. generates a disproportionate share of its wealth from the likes of patents, copyrights, trademarks, designs, cultural creations, and business processes. No one said this would be easy.

Your Thoughts Can Release Abilities Beyond Normal Limits There seems to be a simple way to instantly increase a person’s level of general knowledge. Psychologists Ulrich Weger and Stephen Loughnan recently asked two groups of people to answer questions. People in one group were told that before each question, the answer would be briefly flashed on their screens — too quickly to consciously perceive, but slow enough for their unconscious to take it in. The other group was told that the flashes simply signaled the next question. Our cognitive and physical abilities are in general limited, but our conceptions of the nature and extent of those limits may need revising. Can our thoughts improve our vision? To rule out the possible effect of motivation, the researchers brought another group of people into the cockpit and asked them to read a brief essay on motivation. In an eye exam, we are used to start experiencing problems at the bottom third of the eye chart, where letters start to get small.

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