From where I sit, the cult of maximizing shareholder value is a pretty strong root cause of a lot of the changes we’ve seen. We all know that this is not something that has been handed down by some higher power, nor is it required by law. It’s a set of decisions that people have made to orient a system around something that in my view is fatally flawed. It doesn’t lead to good for anybody, except for people who are making short-term gains as they get in and out of stocks. This helps explain a large part of the business challenges, that have more of a short-term focus, and more of a strip-mining mentality, than a real long-term orientation.
The promise of an information-enabled innovation strategy extends to disruption. Disruption, as seen through the lens of our model, is an event that suddenly resets and resimplifies an innovation space by lowering product complexity. We observe such events when two previously unconnected innovation spaces merge, giving rise to myriad new product innovations with reduced complexity. This implies that disruptions don’t just happen — they are created by innovators at the edge of a space who build simpler products that leverage components from a different space. A classic example is the disruption of the music media industry by edge players in peer-to-peer file sharing (like Napster) and research organizations developing new music encoding standards (like the Munich, Germany-based research organization Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, which was the main developer of MP3 technology). While we cannot claim that we can predict such disruptions (yet), our analytical approach allows innovators to spot such events and interpret them as early-warning signals.
A disruption always requires innovators to reset their innovation strategy and to return to an impatient approach. We modeled different responses to disruption in the technology space and found that companies that successfully reset their strategy have an innovation output that’s about 50% higher than companies that don’t. (See “Sensing and Navigating a Disruption.”) Switching back to impatient behavior is easier said than done, because it requires a switch in all aspects of the innovation approach.
Innovation is an evolutionary search process.
The exhibit below, “Information-Enabled Innovation Strategies Outperform,” demonstrates three crucial insights. First, information-enabled strategies outperform strategies that do not use the information generated by the search process. Second, in an earlier phase of the game, an impatient strategy outperforms; in later stages, a patient strategy does.
I’ve always loved Michael Schrage’s question: “what do you want your customers to become” as a way of framing innovation, as opposed to the needs you serve. If we think in terms of the superpowers we give them, the human capital we build, it creates a far richer and more meaningful outcome.
Sometimes we forget just how powerful we’ve become:
My concern is that right now you have people whose abilities, consciousness, and whose perception is enormously enhanced by the use of tools.
I began to realize this in 1996 when I first played with AltaVista, the first proper search engine. I was in the process of helping some lobbying of the government on privacy. We wanted to investigate some companies who appeared to be misbehaving. At the end of an afternoon when I’d figured out, using AltaVista, how to find out everything about these companies, about their accounts, their directors, their directors’ hobbies and interests, I realized that with a search engine I had the same kind of power at my fingertips that last year only the Prime Minister had with the security and intelligence agencies to do his bidding.
Source: The Threat | Edge.org
Facebook’s entire project, when it comes to news, rests on the assumption that people’s individual preferences ultimately coincide with the public good, and that, if it doesn’t appear that way at first, you’re not delving deeply enough into the data. By contrast, decades of social-science research shows that most of us simply prefer stuff that feels true to our world view even if it isn’t true at all and that the mining of all those preference signals is likely to lead us deeper into bubbles rather than out of them.
Multitasking, in short, is not only not thinking, it impairs your ability to think. Thinking means concentrating on one thing long enough to develop an idea about it. Not learning other people’s ideas, or memorizing a body of information, however much those may sometimes be useful. Developing your own ideas. In short, thinking for yourself. You simply cannot do that in bursts of 20 seconds at a time, constantly interrupted by Facebook messages or Twitter tweets, or fiddling with your iPod, or watching something on YouTube.
I find for myself that my first thought is never my best thought. My first thought is always someone else’s; it’s always what I’ve already heard about the subject, always the conventional wisdom. It’s only by concentrating, sticking to the question, being patient, letting all the parts of my mind come into play, that I arrive at an original idea. By giving my brain a chance to make associations, draw connections, take me by surprise. And often even that idea doesn’t turn out to be very good. I need time to think about it, too, to make mistakes and recognize them, to make false starts and correct them, to outlast my impulses, to defeat my desire to declare the job done and move on to the next thing.
Source: How To Learn How To Think
Design it. Over-invest in it.
Design your Design Work
This meta ability is about recognizing a project as a design problem and then deciding on the people, tools, techniques, and processes needed to tackle it.This ability develops with practice. We see it emerge in our more experienced students. It requires using intuition, adapting old tools to new contexts, and developing original techniques to meet the challenge at hand.
Source: About — Stanford d.school