Why Don’t We Use What We Know?

Two Major Innovations, Two Different Outcomes In the 1850s, infection rates in maternity wards were very high, and this was a big problem. No one knew why, and no one knew how to fix it. Ignaz Semmelweis wondered “what if everyone washes their hands before the come in contact with patients?” It was an experiment. […]

Lessons From Kodak’s S-Curve Problems

With Kodak in big trouble this week, a lot of people have been reflecting on what went wrong. While many are using this an opportunity to talk about bad management, or missing the digital photography trend, I think there’s more to the Kodak story than this. Kodak’s problems illustrate two very important innovation problems. The […]

There’s No Such Thing as Information Overload

The size of your inbox or your RSS feed or your twitter stream might all argue otherwise, but there’s no such thing as information overload. Or, at least, if there is, it’s not new. Check this out: As long as the centuries continue to unfold, the number of books will grow continually, and one can […]

When is it OK to Ignore Innovation?

The earth has been around for 4.5 billion years or so. If you think of the last 10% of that time, a fair bit has happened. There have periods of major global warming, and a few ice ages. There have been asteroid strikes, and other natural disasters too numerous to count. Continents that were one […]

Innovation Lessons from Hedy Lamarr

Every time you use wi-fi, bluetooth, a cordless phone (including mobiles), GPS or anything with an RFID tag, you’re using a technology called spread spectrum radio. The first version of spread spectrum was invented during World War II as a method for controlling torpedos using rapidly changing radio frequency to control their direction in a […]

Two Reasons Why You Must Change Your Mind

One of the frustrating things about following politics is the idea, apparently deeply engrained, that you must never change your mind. If you do, you’re a flip-flopper, or wishy-washy, and you’re clearly not to be trusted. The main problem with this line of thinking is that it is utterly and dangerously wrong. We live in […]

Innovation Obstacle: Most People Don’t Like New Ideas

You have a new idea and it’s great! And yet, people are slow to adopt it. In fact, sometimes it seems like they hate it – it would actually be an improvement if they were only indifferent. Why does this happen? It’s a common problem, and it doesn’t really matter what kind of idea it […]

When Was the Last Time You Were Wrong?

Here’s just one of several examples from me today – I was completely wrong about the talk I gave this morning. I sent the slides through to the organisation I was giving it for on Wednesday. Then I spent the entire 90 minute drive down to the venue re-thinking what should go in the talk. […]

How to Make Things Look Simple

Here’s a story I’ve told a couple of times now: One of the best live shows that I saw during my university days was Beat Happening and Girl Trouble. All of us were a long way from home in Washington when I saw them in New Jersey. While Beat Happening was playing what I thought […]

Life’s What You Make It

Well, we’re all getting older. What do you make of it? I ran across an interesting post by Ben Casnocha, which referenced an article by Benjamin Schwarz which includes this comment on John Updike: Above all, and most poignantly, this collection highlights Updike’s evaluation of the slackening of his own mental and athletic prowess… A […]

Scarcity as the “Mother of Invention”

Can we decouple growth from consumption of resources? Guest post by: James Bradfield Moody Co-Author, The Sixth Wave: How to Succeed in a Resource-Limited World Over the last 200 years, since the industrial revolution, we have seen economic growth strongly coupled with the consumption of more and more resources.  The more we grew, the more […]