Five Discovery Skills that Distinguish Great Innovators

Working Knowledge (Harvard Business School) • July 20, 2011

Think different. Check out this excerpt from The Innovator's DNA, which chronicles the results of an eight-year study on innovation conducted by Harvard's Clayton Christensen, Brigham Young's Jeff Dyer and INSEAD's Hal Gergersen. It turns out that innovative behavior is developed rather than inherited, and that a key ignition spark is what they call "associational thinking"—"making connections across seemingly unrelated questions, problems, or ideas."

"A high Q/A ratio" is the way the authors refer to the questioning skills of innovators. I like the phrase and it will help remind me that I ought to do more of it. Anything that Christensen is involved in is worth attention but the book is not yet in my local library. ( Michalko)

From Technologist to Philosopher

Chronicle of Higher Education • July 17, 2011

From geek to Greek. Damon Horowitz recounts his path from AI entrepreneur to Google in-house philosopher. Read his story for a first-hand endorsement of well-rounded liberal arts education—which just may lead to more "associational thinking," as described in The Innovator's DNA.

You may have seen this talk when Horowitz first gave it at the Stanford BiblioTech conference. It's a compelling apologia for humanistic investigatory methods from a credentialed supergeek. I remember a feeling similar to the one he described when I wrote my first program in Assembly language thinking that I had invented the bubble sort. You can learn about it via this song and dance version using Hungarian Folk dance. Really. ( Michalko)

"Not for Free": Saul J. Berman on Creating New Revenue Models

Knowledge@Wharton  • July 22, 2011

Paying the piper. IBM's Saul Berman discusses the fast-shifting world of digital content business models and sheds light on how those experiments may influence the future of publishing. Find out more about freemiums, variable pricing, value-adds and why people will pay much more for a 20-second ringtone than for the whole song.

All of our discussions about "sustainability" in the library space would benefit from the kind of thinking in this article. In particular the redefinition of the library's value in the academy is likely to revolve around the integration of our distinctive assets and distinctive services and the creation of a new experience that is valued. ( Michalko)

Whose Point of View?

The American Prospect • June 13, 2011

Call to arms. Scott Rosenberg says Wikipedia's slanted entry on Social Security illustrates the risk of relying solely on the one-stop information repository for answers. Despite the efforts of Wikipedia's elite army of editors, "they can resolve specific factual claims and balance rhetorical scales, but they can't correct for collective blind spots or provide a contextual sense of the weight of an expert consensus." Read on for Rosenberg's solution for providing fair and balanced information.

SOFIXIT is the Wikipedian's response. Which is good for Wikipedia's health. I learned some about the Wikipedia working approaches from this article but don't think the core criticism is that damning—it's "ready reference," not nuanced, long-form exploration. ( Michalko)

New TED Book: Erin McKean's "Aftercrimes, Geoslavery and Thermogeddon"

TED Blog • July 20, 2011

Linguistically speaking . . . Lexicographer Erin McKean talks about her favorite new (and old) finds in word-sleuthing and what drives her passion: "Words are like houses for ideas, and well-designed, beautiful words are easier for ideas to live in."

On the basis of this short excerpt (and being introduced to the word "plussies" for the users of Google+) I bought the book to read on my iPhone. Couldn't find it in WorldCat but she does have a body of work there. Here's Erin's TED talk about redefining the dictionary. ( Michalko)

Above the Fold Quiz

According to an item in this week's News and Views section, what is the deadline to apply for the 2012 OCLC/ALISE Library and Information Science Research Grant Program?

Get the answer.