The First Time I Saw The Web

in history, Innovation, Software/Web development

In honor of the 25th anniversary of the web, here’s my story. I was a senior at CMU in ’93/’94 and for my computer science classes I spent many long hours in the computer labs, called clusters, working on programming projects or doing other schoolwork. Many of my friends hung out in clusters and it […]

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Why Do Some Innovations Spread Slowly?

in Innovation

I’m a fan of Atul Gawande (here’s my review of Checklist Manifesto) and I’ve read all his books. His recent essay in the New Yorker, Slow Ideas, is about why some good ideas spread slowly. It’s about his experience with ideas in medicine, and struggles he’s observed with gaining adoption. Like Gladwell he winds a […]

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The Meaninglessness of Google Glass

in Innovation

“The more we elaborate our means of communication, the less we communicate.” – J. B. Priestley I don’t care about Google Glass. When I say this I mean I’m neutral about the impact it will have on me or culture at large. Google Glass does not solve a single problem that bothers me. My life […]

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Truths, myths and lies

in Innovation, Philosophy

There are two different uses of the word myth: A falsehood, as in “the weight loss myth” A story with metaphorical truth even if not factually accurate I spend time on this blog debunking factual myths like Newton’s Apple, even for things as boring as mythical numbers in schedule estimates, because I have expertise and believe people […]

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The best definition of Innovation

in Innovation

For years I’ve studied use and abuse of the word innovation. Mostly it’s used as jargon, without any meaningful intent at all. I’ve complained about this for years, which naturally leads to people asking me to stop whining and offer a definition. I generally recommend people don’t use the word. It’s mostly meaningless. At best […]

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The 177 truths of innovation

in Innovation, Myths of Innovation

In making the mega list of 177 innovation myths, I hoped the hours it took to research would pay off in others building on it. Designer Stefan Klocek was first by inverting all the myths as an experiment, creating a list of 177 innovation truths. Of course semantic inversions don’t always work, but some are interesting especially […]

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The 177 Myths of Innovation: Mega summary

in Innovation, Myths of Innovation

The term Myths of Innovation has become popular on the web, but few of these articles link to each other, which is sad. Much like the abuse of the term innovation itself, the meaning stretches further all the time. And somehow in all this innovation abuse we’ve forgotten inventions like web searches, links and footnotes to […]

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The top women innovators of all time

in Innovation

In honor of International Women’s day here’s a list of my favorite female innovators of all time. Historical note: what’s most disturbing in the history of all innovation is how unfair history has been to women. It’s hard to identify a singular cause but there’s evidence the shift to monotheism changed what had been a more […]

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A class full of The Myths of Innovation

in Innovation, Myths of Innovation

Many universities use The Myths of Innovation in courses on entrepreneurship or creativity, but David Burkus lined up his class for a photo, which I promised to post here. Among other places he teaches at OSLEP, a program for top students across Oklahoma and they’re seen here. If you use my book in a course, […]

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How to learn from a nuclear missile

in Innovation, Management

One great way to find management insights is to study a field other than your own. By becoming a tourist, a traveler, it’s easier to be curious. You can ask big questions since you’re free from the baggage of your own ego. It’s one reasons movies like Apollo 13, Hoosiers, and Miracle are popular films among management types looking […]

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Good Beats Innovative Nearly Every Time

in Innovation

[This post originally published on BusinessWeek] One troubling phenomenon is the push for everyone to be innovators. I suspect more books have been sold with the word innovation in their title in the last 10 years than in the previous 50, including, I confess, one of my own. And while much has changed, it’s hard to say […]

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The amazing invention of Braille

in Creative Thinking, Innovation

While studying to write the Myths of Innovation I read hundreds of accounts of how world changing inventions came to be. While many of those stories are in the book, there are hundreds more worthy of telling. Today is the birthday of Louis Braile, one of the inventors for the amazingly clever system of writing […]

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Innovation is an illusion

in history, Innovation

Here is a great thought experiment: Consider the last time you walked into a convenience store to get a soda. Perhaps you grabbed a snack or two, waited in line to pay, and left. Did anything in the experience seem interesting? Probably not. Now magically transport that same little convenience store to a poor shanty […]

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I answer MBA student questions about Innovation

in Innovation

Liz Barclay at Oakland University, is using the Myths of Innovation in a MBA course on creativity. I offer to teachers who use my books that if they send in a list of student questions, I’m happy to answer here. Here’s some Q&A with her class: Kevin: A key component of innovation is failure, and it […]

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Why we’re wrong about the phone of the future

in Innovation

I recently read a fine article in the Atlantic called iPhone 5? Yawn. What Will the ‘Phone’ of 2022 Look Like? It does a good job of summaring what some engineers and designers believe will be next. It’s a fun and inspiring read. The problem is the odds are very good we’re all wrong. The trap […]

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9 ways to understand how ideas spread

in Business, Innovation, Pop Culture

A reader named Niko, who is working on a PhD in social network analysis, asked me for my favorite sources about how ideas spread: I am doing a PhD in the field of social network analysis in which I try to determine mutual influence among people who are connected with cell phones. Many times individuals […]

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Does dedicated innovation time work?

in Business, Innovation

I wrote a popular post awhile ago with an analysis on the Google’s 20% time concept. Howard Baldwin from Computerworld interviewed me about this. Sadly, none of my comments made it into his article. The good news is here are the questions he asked with my answers. HB: Please characterize the importance of creativity and innovation […]

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Listen to my interview with NPR on innovation

in Innovation, On Tour

The fine folks at WGBH posted the entire interview. Topics covered include: language abuse and hype consumer culture Top 3 things needed for creative culture The best lesson from Steve Jobs George Orwell and more Listen to the interview here. Thanks to the Callie Crossley and Abbie Ruzcika for having me on.

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