The Attacker’s Dilemma

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The Bing It One challenge would have been a great tool in 1998. Unfortunately, now that Google dominates search, an improved algorithm isn’t enough to get people to switch. This is the Attacker’s Dilemma: unless you bring a major performance improvement, there is no point in directly attacking a strong incumbent in their area of strength.

Are You Ready for the #SocialEra?


What are the implications of the new ways that technology allows people to connect and interact? Nilofer Merchant explores this in her book 11 Rules for Creating Value in the #SocialEra – it’s a good book with some important lessons.

The Problem With Google


How can you learn what you need to know to become an expert? It requires deep knowledge of a field, but it also requires broad knowledge of related fields. Our current technologies support deep, but not broad. We need to figure out a way to find t-shaped knowledge.

The Worst Innovation Quote Ever


Here’s my candidate for the worst innovation quote ever: Now, to be fair, it’s actually a paraphrasing of Emerson. Or, to be more accurate, a misquote. Nevertheless, it reflects a very common innovation misconception – that it’s all about the idea. Andrew Hargadon has written a terrific post on this topic, which I encourage you […]

Innovation Requires a Change in Behaviour


What is the most important innovation ever? I’ve argued before that it is hand-washing in hospitals. This innovation was a major driver in the improved health outcomes that have increased our life expectancies from less than 60 years at birth to nearly 80 in most developed countries. It’s such a simple idea, and so easy […]

Three Posts That You Should Read

Here are three posts that caught my eye recently that I think you should read: Ten Rules for Maker Businesses What kind of business model do you need if you are building things? Chris Anderson from Wired addresses this question with some excellent advice on issues from pricing building good relationships with your shipper. Check […]

Three Innovation Lessons from the Outcome of the Netflix Prize

You probably heard about the contest that Netflix started in 2006 to crowdsource improvements in their recommendation algorithm. They offered a $1 million prize to anyone that could improve the accuracy of the recommendation algorithm by at least 10%. In 2009, a team of people hit the target, and won the prize. Awesome, right? The […]

Three Hidden Factors that Make Innovation Diffusion Hard

Andrew Gelman wrote a post today that includes a great graph that shows how the innovation diffusion curve has played out for a number of major inventions over the past century. His post includes a discussion of how the graphic developed, an interesting story in itself. Here it is (click here to see it full-size): […]

Thoughts on Spreading Ideas Well

You are responsible for getting your ideas to spread. How can you do this more effectively? The first step is to connect ideas creatively – this is the fundamental creative act in innovation. Here are some thoughts on this from Noam Chomsky, discussing the role of education in an excellent post from Maria Popova: You […]

How to Improve Your Information Diet with Better Filtering

There’s so much information around these days, how can we possibly deal with it all? Many of us are overwhelmed just by our email, so when you add in everything else (TV, books, newspapers, blogs, twitter, facebook, etc.), it’s just too much. And yet, we’ve always been faced with more information than we’re capable of […]

e-Books: Another Innovation Diffusion Problem

Regular readers of this blog have probably realised that I read a fair number of books. The good news for book publishers is that I buy nearly all of these books (and the others are either legally free, or from the library). The interesting news for book publishers is that the format I use is […]