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The Anthropology of Innovation

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This is an episode of REVOLUTIONARIES, a co-production of the Computer History Museum and KQED television, with major sponsorship by Intel. Recorded: September 13, 2012. Broadcast date: April 22, 2013. an•thro•pol•o•gy [an-thruh-pol-uh-jee] The science that deals with the origins, physical and cultural development, biological characteristics, and social customs and beliefs of humankind. Silos and silo-busting - the secret of innovation The 21st century world is marked by a profound paradox. On the one hand we are more interconnected than ever before, in the sense that we now live and operate in systems that are tightly entwined. But on the other hand, we also live at a time of great intellectual and social polarization - or silos - and social media is making some of this fracture worse, by encouraging the development of intellectual echo chambers. The presence of silos inside organizations can often be deadly; the financial industry is a case in point. But groups or people who can "silo bust" - or jump across boundaries and categories - are often extremely innovative; indeed, much of the modern innovation that has occurred in recent years has arisen because of the ability of people to silo bust. What are the key perils of silos and what do anthropologists have to say about the existence and trap of silos today? How can organizations silo-bust effectively? Award-winning journalist (and anthropologist) Gillian Tett and her panel search for the answers to these questions and many more.
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[Recorded: September 13, 2012] an•thro•pol•o•gy [an-thruh-pol-uh-jee] The science that deals with the origins, physical and cultural development, biological characteristics, and social customs and beliefs of humankind. Silos and silo-busting - the secret of innovation The 21st century world is marked by a profound paradox. On the one hand we are more interconnected than ever before, in the sense that we now live and operate in systems that are tightly entwined. But on the other hand, we also live at a time of great intellectual and social polarization - or silos - and social media is making some of this fracture worse, by encouraging the development of intellectual echo chambers. The presence of silos inside organizations can often be deadly; the financial industry is a case in point. But groups or people who can "silo bust" - or jump across boundaries and categories - are often extremely innovative; indeed, much of the modern innovation that has occurred in recent years has arisen because of the ability of people to silo bust. What are the key perils of silos and what do anthropologists have to say about the existence and trap of silos today? How can organizations silo-bust effectively? Join award-winning journalist (and anthropologist) Gillian Tett and her panel to find the answers to these questions and many more. This event is part of the Computer History Museum's acclaimed speaker series Revolutionaries, featuring conversations with renowned innovators, business and technology leaders and authors in enthralling and educational conversations about the process of innovation, its risks and rewards, and failure that led to ultimate success
00:39
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Google Tech Talks May 14, 2007 ABSTRACT Much of what we know about innovation is wrong. That's the bet this talk takes, as it romps through the history of innovation, dispelling the mythologies we've constructed about how we got here. This talk, loosely based on the upcoming O'Reilly book (May 2007), will help you to recognize the myths, understand why they're popular (even if you don't believe in them), and how to use the truth to help you innovate today. Speaker: Scott Berkun Credits: Speaker:Scott Berkun
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Google Tech Talk September 10, 2012 Presented by Joel Spolsky. ABSTRACT Software developers love Stack Overflow and know that it has a ... unique culture to it. But what isn't as well known is how the structure of the software and technology behind Stack Overflow is designed to help shape that community. We'll discuss some of the unique aspects of the Stack Overflow community, the basics of cultural anthropology, and how we've designed the sites to facilitate the community that our users ask for. Speaker Info: Joel Spolsky is an expert on software development, co-founder of Fog Creek Software, and the co-creator of stackoverflow.com. His website Joel on Software is popular with software developers around the world and has been translated into over thirty languages. He has written four books about software development, including Smart and Gets Things Done: Joel Spolsky's Concise Guide to Finding the Best Technical Talent (Apress 2007). Joel has worked at Microsoft, where he designed VBA as a member of the Excel team, and at Juno Online Services, developing an Internet client used by millions.
53:29
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Google Tech Talk October 23, 2012 Presented by Chris Pacione ABSTRACT Recent socioeconomic shifts are driving organizations worldwide to get better at innovation—not just within traditional areas like R&D, but throughout an entire culture of work. However current research indicates that, on the whole, most organizations are still at loss as to how to make innovation more frequent and pervasive. But this should be no surprise. Do you know anyone with a degree in innovation? Have you ever taken a course on innovation? Do you consider yourself an expert at innovation? Do you think innovation can even be taught? If so, what would *you* teach? This talk is about how leveling-up in innovation is not only a global imperative, but possible through mastery of Human-Centered Design—the disciplined practice of developing solutions in the service of people. Designer, entrepreneur and current CEO of LUMA Institute Chris Pacione will present how his company is helping all kinds of organizations around the world, get better at innovation and bring new and lasting value to the world. Speaker Info As Director and CEO of LUMA Institute, Chris leads a highly skilled, multidisciplinary team of practitioners and educators who are passionate about helping everyone "make things better." Chris is a frequent speaker, teacher, and writer on the topics of innovation, design and education in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. He has accumulated years of experience as both an innovative entrepreneur and educator and his work has been cited in Business Week, the New York Times, and Fast Company. Prior to joining Luma, Chris co-founded Body-Media, Inc, which was an early pioneer in wearable health monitoring; held the Mc Candless Chair at the Carnegie Mellon School of Design; taught courses in human-computer interaction; and developed new product ideas and experiences for clients such as Intel, Motorola, Xerox, and Microsoft. Chris received his Bachelor's from Carnegie Mellon University, where he continues to serve as a guest lecturer, and his Master's from the Cranbrook Academy of Art.
20:00
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On June 3, 2010, the Computer History Museum hosted a 6-session conference on the PLATO learning system. Session 1 was entitled "A Culture of Innovation: What Don Bitzer Wrought." Session 1 Description: The Computer-based Education Research Lab, where the PLATO system was invented, was a caldron of innovation. Out of that environment, new technologies grew and lives were changed. What was it about the environment that stimulated innovation? Bob Sutton, management guru and scholar of innovation, leads a conversation focusing on the characteristics of a culture of innovation. What was special about the PLATO environment? What applicable lessons might be gleaned? Are there insights to be gained from CDC's efforts to commercialize an enormous project from an academic research laboratory, in an unproven market? Sutton conducts a discussion with Dr. Don Bitzer, the director of the PLATO lab and lead innovator, David Frankel and C.K. Gunsalus: two CERL alumni whose career paths have gone in quite different directions, and Bob Price, who led Control Data to the licensing and further development of the PLATO system. PLATO Overview: PLATO was a centralized, mainframe-based system, with very sophisticated terminals connected to it. Its mission was to deliver education electronically at low cost. But it became much, much more than that. It quickly became home to a diverse online community that represented a microcosm of today's online world. Much of what we take for granted in today's hyper-active, always-on world of social media, blogs, and addictive computer games could be applied to what life was like on the PLATO system beginning in the mid-1970s. PLATO, an acronym standing for "Programmed Logic for Automated Teaching Operations," started as a project of the Coordinated Sciences Laboratory (CSL) at the University of Illinois in 1960. The original goal was to build on the mechanical "teaching machine" work of B.F. Skinner and instead see if it was possible to build a computer that could teach. In time they discovered not only was the answer yes, but computers could be extremely effective, and economically viable, at teaching large segments of the population. In the 1970s, Control Data Corporation entered into a series of agreements with the University of Illinois to commercialize the PLATO system and bring it to the marketplace. The result was a great expansion of PLATO throughout the U.S. and the world, with systems installed in Canada, France, Belgium, Israel, Sweden, Australia, South Africa, United Kingdom, and elsewhere. Fifty years on, PLATO has left its imprint across a wide range of computing activities, from e-learning to social media, from online multiplayer games to major hardware and software innovations.
53:56
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In the current moment of economic uncertainty, every economy is taking stock and once again turning to innovation as the silver bullet that will guide us forward. Yet in the eyes of many leaders, innovation seems tightly coupled with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math -- the STEM subjects. RISD President John Maeda posits that we need to add "Art" to turn STEM into STEAM. Through his experiences as president of the US's leading art and design college, Maeda argues that the critical thinking, critical making and creative leadership which is embodied at RISD can lead us to an enlightened form of innovation where art, design, technology, and business meet. He shares lessons from his journey as an artist-technologist-professor turned president to reveal a new model of leadership for the next generation of leaders.