Doug Vining Makers

The novel 'Makers' by Cory Doctorow paints some interesting pictures for a future where there is super-abundance, but social ills. Get the free e-book here
Posted: 2 June 2010 at 00:00

John Whillier Innovation

It was a lazy man who invented the wheel. There are no bounds to what a bored man (woman?) can invent, but the benefits to humankind of these inventions could be negated by the other pursuits of bored people - hedonism, sex, gluttony and drugs.
Posted: 3 June 2010 at 10:08

Doug Vining Networks vs Pyramids

A distributed network of Playstations or iPads, with the right connections, can easily outstrip the largest supercomputer. One has to remember there are millions of them 'available'. But would people choose to build such networks, and if they did, what would they create?
On the other hand, a Ponzi scheme very rapidly reaches saturation, and peters out. Both are examples of exponential growth, leading to either super-performance or extinction.
The difference is that an effective network creates value for all participants, presumably sustainable value through constant innovation. A pyramid scheme only benefits the few at the top, removing value from the masses at the bottom.
In Ray Kurzweil’s view of the future, accelerating returns are endless, and thus marginal cost reduces to zero. But once everything is commoditized to the nth degree, 3D printers are commonplace, and computers do all the thinking, might we not reach saturation? Then all products need to be truly unique – essentially artworks.
Both these points of view have profound implications for business, and how to position for the future.
Posted: 3 June 2010 at 20:16

John Menasce Is this the end of inovation

Remember back in the days of the idle aristocracy that they had servants and minions to do all the hard work and so they did several things - spent time bored to tears, went to war or found ways to indulge their sexual and other fantasies such as art. As a result they were not known for their left brained intellectual prowess and most of the inventions of the industrial revolution in fact came from the working classes
Lawrence Durrell was often quoted having said that the Dodo [extinct bird] was so stupid that it would not be out of place taking a seat in the British House of Lords.
Also to quote Tennysson "Mankind becomes the slave of what his slaves create"

Good article!!!
Posted: 21 June 2010 at 07:47

Anton Musgrave IBM Watson to the rescue

Another step forward for really smart computing... Humans beware.
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Posted: 29 October 2012 at 18:24

Wolfgang Grulke IBM Watson to the rescue

We shouldn't "beware", we should welcome the partnership of smart computing and smart humans! In this case 1 + 1 definitely creates infinite opportunity!
Posted: 30 October 2012 at 10:24

Doug Vining Techno-pessimism

Is the age of technology innovation coming to an end? The Economist thinks not, but it's quite a lengthy debate.
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Posted: 24 January 2013 at 07:50

Anton Musgrave New rules for disruption

In he fast world even disruption is being disrupted! Radically fast disruption demands new approaches . These are scary but powerful!
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Posted: 7 March 2013 at 01:13

Neil Jacobsohn Which is the world's most innovative country?

OK, take a guess - which is the most innovative nation in the world? The US? Singapore? China? How many of you would have guessed....Switzerland? Yet, according to the 2013 Global innovation Index, Switzerland tops the list, with Sweden in second place, followed by the UK and Netherlands, with the US in only 5th position. China slipped to 14th place. It's an interesting study - read on!
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Posted: 3 July 2013 at 09:14

Doug Vining Which is the world's most innovative country?

Interesting that the UK rose to third place in the Global Innovation Index. Who would have thought the stodgy Brits could out-innovate the Americans and Singapore? :-)
Posted: 3 July 2013 at 10:59

Wolfgang Grulke Which is the world's most innovative country?

Innovation and commercial success of economies do not necessarily correlate.
Posted: 4 July 2013 at 10:00

Doug Vining Looking back to see the future

Sometimes as futurists it's useful to look back (with perfect hindsight) to see the future. I don't mean that we should forecast, based on the past, but rather that looking back 10 or 20 years can often give us an idea of just how much things can change in the next 10 or 20 years.

Ten years ago there was no Facebook. Just think today, as Facebook celebrates its 10th birthday, how any technology or media discussion could not ignore Facebook, and yet a decade ago we couldn't imagine it, let alone the fact that it's free.

A bit more than two decades ago, it would have cost US$ 3.6 million to make an iPhone. In 1991 we barely had decent cell phones, and laptops were more luggable than portable. Now we take all that exponential innovation for granted.

And if the curve is still exponential, can we really imagine where we'll be 20 years from now? Are our ideas crazy enough?
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Posted: 7 February 2014 at 13:43

Wolfgang Grulke Disruptive Innovation - is it relevant?

This us an important debate for anyone concerned about the future relevance of their business...and another example of how political academia can get!
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Posted: 21 June 2014 at 08:58

Wolfgang Grulke Thought-provoking writing...

...that really gets those grey cells going. Highly recommend this online magazine!
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Posted: 3 December 2014 at 15:59

Doug Vining Back to the retro future

David Boyle claims that technological change is not accelerating, and that we're going back to real things over digital products. He has a point, up to a point, but I believe digital technologies are radically changing the way the world works, especially in consumer lifestyles and business lifecycles.

Take space travel. Sure, we went to the moon in 1969. But the way SpaceX is changing the economics of space flight is radically different; the effects will only be felt in the future. Or how about air travel? Again the 747 was a marvel of innovation in the 70s and is still in use, but the 787 Dreamliner and Airbus A350 are a quantum leap in efficiency, capability and comfort - something which is not yet apparent. And don't forget how many more people around the world can afford and are making use of air travel today versus the 70s. It's many orders of magnitude higher.

And finally, ubiquitous connectivity and smartphones, to say nothing of the coming internet of things. And 3D printing, artificial intelligence and robotics. These will still have impacts on the future we cannot fully comprehend. No, I'm afraid we haven't seen it all before. If we look closely enough, we'll discover that we ain't seen nothing yet!
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Posted: 31 December 2014 at 14:42
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