I've talked earlier about something called the "Think/Do" cycle — the process of moving between thinking about what you should do and doing it. Most of the innovation literature has, to date, been focused on coming up with new ideas (thinking a lot; thinking better; thinking out of the box, etc…). Recently, thanks to design thinking, lean startups, lean launchpad, and other emerging conversations around innovation, popular advice is starting to emphasize words like doing, testing, experimentation, prototyping, and iterating. The challenge is finding the balance.
EVs, Electric Lights, and iPhones
When new technologies compete, what tips the scale toward one or the other? Maggie Koerth-Baker wrote a terrific article in the New York Times, Why Your Car Isn't Electric, which captures some of the social dimensions of technological innovation by looking at the dominance and demise of the electric vehicle in the first decade of the 20th century. If only inventors, entrepreneurs, and policy makers could spare the time to consider these dimensions before rushing off to change the world.
(to read more, jump to the post EV's, Electric Lights, and iPhones, at The Hargadon Files)
Apple v Google: It’s never pretty when parents fight
When the last tech blogger in the land has weighed in on the Apple iOS6 Maps debacle — which at this rate should be within the week — perhaps we can have a more interesting conversation about the tectonic shifts shaping the mobile market (and our driving experience). Here’s my take on those shifts and how they explain the sorry state of Apple Maps.
Who Built What?
The catch phrase of the Republican National Convention, “We Built It,” was a staged response to a strategically clipped quote from a speech by President Obama. As part of the government versus business debate, it has hopefully run its course. But as a lesson on innovation, it feels like a missed opportunity.
Five words that kill innovation
I submit for your consideration, five words that I'm beginning to think kill innovation in organizations. Use them at your own peril.
Not All That Disrupts is Good, and Not All That is Good Disrupts
Are our best efforts to bring the electric vehicle to market having the right effect? It’s important to remember that not all disruptive innovation is good, and not all good innovation is disruptive. Continue reading
Target Panic. What a great diagnosis. As soon as a read the term, I knew I’d suffered from it. Have you? Looking back, I can now see it in the would-be entrepreneurs and innovators I’ve worked with who, despite promising ideas and heroic efforts, never made much progress.
At the table or on the menu: The Politics of Innovation
Political. Self-interested. Calculating. Aggressive. Machiavellian. Few people use these words to describe innovation. Fewer still take pride in these traits.Yet developing more sustainable products or processes depends on the willingness and ability to engage in the politics of innovation. Continue reading
GE’s New Durathon Battery and the Challenge of Faster, Better, Cheaper
General Electric has just introduced its new Durathon molten salt battery. The battery illustrates the unique challenges of developing sustaining innovations – and particularly the Faster, Better, Cheaper challenge I've described earlier. In doing so, it offers insights for both innovators and policy makers pursuing similar efforts. (to read more on The Hargadon Files, follow the link)
The Hargadon Files now on Capital Public Radio
My writing on sustainability and innovation will now be appearing in The Hargadon Files, on the Capital Public Radio's Environment page. The purpose of this set of posts and essays is to explore how innovation and sustainability meet.