Archive for August, 2011

NCN Articles of Interest

August 19, 2011 in Blog Post | Comments (0)



“Free imagination is the inestimable prerogative of youth and it must be cherished and guarded as a treasure.” – Felix Bloch

“At times failure is very necessary for the artist. It reminds him that failure is not the ultimate disaster. And this reminder liberates him from the mean fussing of perfectionism.” – John Berger

25 Inspiring Innovation Quotes
Blog: Innovation Excellence


Brain Storm: Unleashing Your Creative Self (short) by Don Hahn
(Hat tip to my brother for forwarding a link to this video!)
“Brain Storm: Unleashing Your Creative Self by author Don Hahn, producer of The Lion King & Beauty and the Beast”


Brain Storm: Unleashing Your Creative Self “Behind the Scenes” trailer featuring Cristian Ubilla


Top 10 Innovation Videos of 2011
Blog: Innovation Excellence
“Do you have a favorite innovation video? We asked you the global innovation community, to suggest videos for the Top 10 Innovation Videos of 2011. Many people did, and they had the chance to win some of the $3,650 worth of prizes up for grabs. Here are the Top 10 Innovation Videos of 2011 based on the submissions:”


Ideas – The last inexhaustible commodity?

Blog: Innovation Excellence
“The story of development, at least in the US, is the story of identifying and exploiting the seemingly inexhaustible commodity, then spotting and exploiting the next one. I’d argue that right now, late summer 2011, we are still shifting to discover the next inexhaustible commodity, even though it is right in front of us. But first, a brief history lesson.”


Intel Inspires Sci-fi Writers with “The Tomorrow Project”

Blog: The Exchange, The Science and Entertainment Exchange

Real science inspires science-fiction, and while we see this often in the consultations we provide, we have another great non-entertainment industry example for you. Last year, Intel Corporation’s The Tomorrow Project introduced four science-fiction writers to the latest research in photonics, robotics, telematics, dynamic physical rendering and intelligent sensors. Then, the writers let their imaginations run wild.


UW-Madison Team Part of IBM’s new ‘Cognitive’ Computing Chips
University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health
Madison, WI – “University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers are part of the IBM-led team that has unveiled a new generation of experimental computer chips – the first step in a project to create a computer that borrows principles from a mammal brain. The chips combine neuroscience and nanotechnology to operate more like brain cells by thinking and learning from experiences. They also run on much less power than current technology.”


The healing power of imagination
The Australian
“Why? To see if giving a patient’s brain the image of working, undamaged body parts will speed up the healing process. Touring the country to promote National Science Week, Fiona Wood says she’s also raising funds for a study to determine if major traumas such as burns alter a patient’s immune system, making them more susceptible to cancer or infections.”


Are Today’s Youth Less Creative & Imaginative?
Live Science
“It sounds like the complaint of a jaded adult: Kids these days are narrow-minded and just not as creative as they used to be. But researchers say they are finding exactly that. In a 2010 study of about 300,000 creativity tests going back to the 1970s, Kyung Hee Kim, a creativity researcher at the College of William and Mary, found creativity has decreased among American children in recent years. Since 1990, children have become less able to produce unique and unusual ideas. They are also less humorous, less imaginative and less able to elaborate on ideas, Kim said. Has modern society really extinguished the creative spark among our youth?”

Kids Today Are Less Creative – Are Schools to Blame?
Blog: Strollerderby,
“There are many a refrain about “kids today,” and a recent one has been that children don’t have the imagination and creative power as generations before.  And this one could be true. In a 2010 study of around 300,000 creativity tests going way back to the 1970s, Kyung Hee Kim, a creativity researcher at the College of William and Mary, found  that creativity has decreased among American kids over the years and especially since 1990 where it was found that “children have become less able to produce unique and unusual ideas. “ Not only were they not as creative but they are “also less humorous, less imaginative and less able to elaborate on ideas. What is causing this?”

P21 Common Core Toolkit
The Partnership for 21st Century Skills, Americans for the Arts
“The Partnership for 21st Century Skills has just released a toolkit, “A Guide to Aligning the Common Core State Standards with the Framework for 21st Century Skills.” Explore interesting examples, exercises, and activities, and find helpful classroom resources to improve your practices. Also be sure to take a look at the previously-released 21st-century Skills Arts Map, which presents the fundamental connections between arts education and creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication skills.”


Mayors With a New Vision of Creativity and Innovation Wanted
Huffington Post
“…Within the next several months there are countless mayoral races that present an opportunity to talk about a new path for the future of cities. It is the worst of times to have such a conversation, many would say, with pension deficits looming, services being cut and unemployment at an all time high. Yet, as the Cheshire cat said to Alice in Alice in Wonderland, “if you don’t know where you are going any road will get you there.” It is time Americans know the road they must take. It’s also time we talk candidly about the connections between art, commerce, education and economic development and importantly, what communities everywhere must do to be successful in what is being called “the creative and innovative economy.””

A New Plan To Mutate HIV Out Of Existence
Fast Company
“Instead of simply blocking HIV from replicating, a new drug in trial stages causes it to mutate. If it works, it could eventually fully eliminate HIV in people who have the disease, freeing them from a lifetime of drugs.”

Study: Women still not lured to technical jobs
The News Herald
“A smaller wage gap between the sexes in technical areas like science, engineering and mathematics is failing to entice more U.S. women to take jobs in those fields, according to a government study. Women accounted for 24 percent of the workforce in the so-called STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and math in 2009, unchanged from 2000, according to a report from the Commerce Department’s Economics and Statistics Bureau.”

Closing the Gap
“In its just-issued report “Women in STEM: A Gender Gap to Innovation” the U.S. Department of Commerce writes that while women fill close to half of all jobs in the U.S. economy, they hold less than 25 percent of science, technology, engineering, and math jobs. The gender gap in STEM jobs persists despite the fact that more women now graduate from college than men and the fact that women in STEM fields tend to have more equitable wages compared to those in non-STEM jobs. Women major and earn degrees in STEM fields, creating a female talent pool, but they tend to pursue careers in education and health care.”

The Importance of Women Entrepreneurs
Blog: Forbeswoman
“Entrepreneurship matters. Its benefits are many, from rewarding problem solving, organizational, and leadership abilities, to fostering creativity and engendering empowerment. Not the least of its merits is the significant boost it gives to the economy. Approximately ten and a half million American women run their own businesses. Their endeavors account for the creation of approximately twenty-three million jobs and three trillion dollars added to the U.S. economy. Ironically, as Nell Merlino, the founder and president of the non-profit Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence, has pointed out, the White House report on the status of American women released early this year surveyed employment data, yet remained silent on women-owned businesses.”

At This Girls’ Camp, Crafts Take a Drill Press
The New York Times
RIVER GROVE, Ill. — “Forget tie-dyed shirts, lanyards and water games. At summer camp this year, Nautika Kotero, 13, learned to use a drill press, solder electrical wires and build a lamp. Though the slim, 5-foot-5 teenager dreams of becoming a basketball star, Nautika now has a backup plan after her weeklong immersion course: a career in manufacturing. Just over a quarter of the 11.7 million workers in manufacturing are women. But Gadget Camp, a workshop for girls in this suburb west of Chicago, is part of an effort to change that.”

frog: Why ‘Wrong’ Is The Right Way To Go
“I’m usually skeptical when local habits become emerging trends and are subsequently declared a new global management paradigm, but in the case of the much buzzed-about Jugaad I am inclined to follow the gurus.The trend began with Reena Jana’s seminal article in BusinessWeek in December 2009 (full disclosure: Reena is a consulting editor at frog), in which she critically investigated the value of Jugaad and anticipated its entering the lexicon of management consultants. The term Jugaad (pronounced ‘joo-gaardh’) is a colloquial Hindi word that describes a creative ad hoc solution to a vexing issue, making existing things work and/or creating new things with scarce resources. Although sometimes used pejoratively (in the sense of a makeshift cheap fix), it is now widely accepted as a noun to describe Indian-style innovation (some also call it ‘indovation’) – describing the inventiveness of Indian grassroots engineers and scientists that have led to the pedal-powered washing machine, inspired the extra-low-cost Tata Nano car, or the success of India’s space program. It is, in short, the art of holistic (and therefore lateral) thinking, of unbound, resilient creativity, and of improvisation and rapid prototyping under severe constraints.”

Innovation and Google’s Attack on the Patent System
Business Insider
“An online debate has exploded around Google’s complaint that patent-owners are attempting to limit Google’s ability to innovate by unfairly limiting Google’s use of other companies’ intellectual property.  Google does not appear to be disputing who owns the patents, but appears to be arguing that these patents, and the patent system more broadly, may be harming innovation and therefore harming consumers beyond any value that the patent system creates.”

Ideas Don’t Equal Innovation
Blog: Innovation Excellence
“I had a long conversation yesterday with a friend discussing creativity, ideas, innovation, branding and the like. As a result of our conversation, I decided to dust-off an old post, give it a few updates, and pass along my thoughts, which can be best summarized as “Ideas Don’t Equal Innovation.“ It is my hope to help dispel the myth that ideas are inherently good things.”

Mother Nature as Engineer: 9 Design Tricks Borrowed From Biology
Wired Science
“For elegance and efficiency in design, Mother Nature takes gold. Compared with our technology, Nature’s solutions are often less wasteful, longer lived, self-maintaining and typically stronger, faster and lighter. Engineers looking for new ideas have found inspiration in nature’s designs. Biomimicry, or “life imitating,” is a time-honored route to innovation, stretching back at least to the 15th century, when Leonardo DaVinci studied birds to create plans for flying machines. In celebration of Nature’s clever creativity we’ve collected a sampling of the coolest biomimetic applications and areas of research.”

Introducing the Popular Science/InnoCentive Education Challenge
Popular Science and InnoCentive 
“It’s time to get the next generation of scientists thinking about what’s important, and you can help. Below are five education challenges chosen by the editors of Popular Science in partnership with InnoCentive, an open-innovation and crowdsourcing firm. We invite you to devise a simple lesson plan for one or more of them.”

UWE shares £16 million as leader of new SW UK creative industries hub
Creative Boom, UK
“The University of the West of England (UWE) has been chosen to lead one of four prestigious Knowledge Exchange Hubs for the Creative Economy by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).”

Rich Ross Makes Moves (And Movies) At Disney
Fast Company
“Innovation in Hollywood isn’t for the faint of heart. Meet Rich Ross, the outsider (from television, no less!) tugging Disney’s movie studio into the 21st century. [UPDATE: Now there's even more tugging, following halted production on one of the first big franchises in his stable, "The Lone Ranger."]”

Leadership lessons from Tina Fey: women in higher education admin
Guardian, UK
“When I was elected chair of my department this past semester, I did two things immediately. First, I sent out a tweet asking for resources, suggestions, and advice. Second, I bought Tina Fey’s Bossypants – on audiobook, so I could listen to her reading it.”

Art and science collide at CERN
Blog: CultureLab, New Scientist
“CERN has had its fair share of great scientists pass through its doughnut-shaped halls, and it has also played host to and inspired artists like sculptor Antony Gormley, painter Patrick Hughes and photographer Andreas Gursky. The particle physics laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland, home of the Large Hadron Collider is now making its connection with the arts official: it is launching Great Arts for Great Science, its cultural policy for engaging with the arts.”

Innovation, Quality and Beauty
Blog: Innovation Excellence
“Imagine building something almost entirely out of wood and glue. Your employees work on it for several months and you add the finishing touches. You sell it and go on to build several more models. Each model is hand made using primitive woodworking tools. The purpose of each product is to produce musical notes. You might be building a lute, cello or a harp, but you happen to prefer building violins since there is a stronger customer demand for them. However, you are not just building any violin, you are building a Stradivarius.”

July game sales lowest since October 2006, says NPD
Los Angeles Times, Americans for the Arts
“Monthly video game sales are at their lowest point since October 2006. July’s 26 percent decline in sales of video games and consoles reinforces a recent industry trend of users downloading more video game content online and playing more video games on mobile devices rather than traditional consoles. Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello predicts than within five years, the majority of revenue the video game industry receives will be from digital downloads and subscriptions.”

Nine Ways To Light Your Creativity ON FIRE
The Altucher Confidential, Business Insider
“…I got an email the other day. Someone asked me, “when you are totally out of luck and feeling incredibly down, how do you spark that creativity up so you can get going again?” We’re all creative people. Unless we’re just going to disappear and die, you have to spark it up again at some point.  And recession and politics doesn’t matter. We’re in a $15 trillion economy. There’s $3 trillion in cash lying in the bank. There’s six million private businesses. So once you’re creative again there’s no reason you can’t make money. Lots of it. I don’t care what the debt ceiling did today or what imaginary monster “downgraded” some other imaginary monster. None of that matters for creative people. None of that matters for you and me.”

Google’s Big Bet on the Mobile Future
The New York Times
“Google made a $12.5 billion bet on Monday that its future — and the future of big Internet companies — lies in mobile computing, and moved aggressively to take on its arch rival Apple in the mobile market.”

NASA’S Former Chief Scientist Highlights Different Ways to Make an Impact in Technology
Blog: USA Science and Engineering Festival
“If there is a piece of advice that Kathie Olsen would give students, it would be this: “Be aware that you’re most likely going to be changing your directions and your careers throughout your entire life and you need to be open to it and look forward to the opportunities.””

How Our Senses Influence Creativity Tickling the senses can lead to greater creativity.
Blog: Beautiful Minds, Psychology Today
“Do you focus on the forest or the trees? Whether you have more of a global (holistic) or local (detail-oriented) processing style influences how you fundamentally perceive the world, and is one of the most prominent factors influencing creative thought.”

Keep Your Company From Colonizing Innovation Island
Blog: CIO Central, Forbes
“I recently met the “Head of Innovation” for an $80 billion energy company. A very intelligent man with a stellar engineering and management career, he had been in his current role for more than two years. I asked him what he’d accomplished during his tenure in the Innovation function. With a somewhat pained expression, he carefully said, “We’ve had some very interesting discussions.””

More Innovation in Unlikely Places
“With markets crashing, politics bashing and jobs slashing it certainly feels like innovation doesn’t have a fighting chance in the U.S. these days. So how can we pull ourselves out of America’s Lost Decade, survive Recession 2.0 and avoid the mistakes Japan made during their financial meltdown in the 1990’s? The answer, my friends, is not blowing in the wind. As I’ve said before, it’s found in unlikely places.”

Leonardo: Math, creativity align
The Chronicle Herald, Canada
“In July, I was invited to the Netherlands to do mathematical research and to give three lectures. So off I went, overseas. It was my first trip to mainland Europe, and the Netherlands was a perfect place to visit. The weather was fairly good, and the people wonderful. I know the pitfalls of generalizing national characteristics from a sample of social interactions, but like most people, I can’t avoid making statistical inferences from my observations.”

Math and Science: Out of the Classroom, Into the World
“It’s great to be a student these days. The opportunities to learn math, science, technology and engineering have come such a long way from the days of sitting through interminable hours of watching teachers solve equations and explain complicated theories on the chalkboard. Witnessing how technology has redefined learning makes me wish I could start school all over again.”

Immersion strategy engages kids’ tech creativity
Wrangler News
“Nick Phillips filled some idle summer hours with a technology camp at Arizona State University. He created his own level for a video game known as Half-Life 2.Although parents often cringe at the thought of their child being zombie-locked into video games for days on end, the fact is kids are catching the technology wave of what’s becoming the centerpiece of today’s education. This summer, iD Tech brought its technology camps to Arizona State University, where kids ages 7-17 were immersed in a multitude cyber skills, utilizing state-of-the-art software to create their own videogames, and even program their own robots.”

The Patent System Is The World’s Biggest Threat To Innovation Today
Business Insider
“At the risk of stating the obvious, I’ll say this right up front: The patent system in both Europe and the United States is the biggest threat to innovation in the world today.”

Designers Not Alone in GM 3D Rapid Prototyping Innovation
WARREN, MI – “General Motors issued the following news release: The three-dimensional rapid prototyping technology that lets designers and engineers fabricate almost anything they can imagine has led the skilled trades technicians who work in the shop around the clock six days a week to innovations of their own.”

Why Google Bought Motorola Mobility, And What It Means
Fast Company
“With the “unanimous” approval of both boards, Google has agreed to hand over $40 per share to acquire Motorola Mobility–the spun-off phone-making wing of the original Motorola, separate from its government and enterprise business. The price is a big premium on Motorola’s last closing share price, and amounts to some $12.5 billion. That’s about a third of Google’s cash reserves, as per the most recent figures, which demonstrates exactly how gigantic a move this is. But exactly why is Google pulling this trick off?”

Google CEO On Why He Bought Motorola.
Wall Street Journal
“Since its launch in November 2007, Android has not only dramatically increased consumer choice but also improved the entire mobile experience for users. Today, more than 150 million Android devices have been activated worldwide—with over 550,000 devices now lit up every day—through a network of about 39 manufacturers and 231 carriers in 123 countries. Given Android’s phenomenal success, we are always looking for new ways to supercharge the Android ecosystem. That is why I am so excited today to announce that we have agreed to acquire Motorola.”

The Selfish Gene, a musical
Blog: CultureLab, New Scientist
“I couldn’t imagine how Richard Dawkins’s iconic book The Selfish Gene could be turned into an Edinburgh Festival Fringe show, billed as the world’s first “biomusical”. But you know what? Bex Productions has managed to pull it off.”