Recommendation: Econtalk with Matt Ridley on How Innovation Works

I highly recommend this episode of Econtalk with Matt Ridley talking about how innovation makes inventions useful by making them available, affordable and reliable. The Academy of Ideas podcast is a good overview of the book’s key points about how innovation works and made me feel that I probably didn’t need to read it. This excellent interview with Russ Roberts…

Incremental innovation: coffee cups from Ikea

It’s a small thing, but it’s very thoughtful of them. Ikea (they probably got the idea from someone else) added drainage slots to the bases of their coffee cups so that they dry better. This is particularly good news for users of dishwashers: there are few things more annoying than sprinkling brackish dishwasher juice from the base of a mug…

Matt Ridley: 15 principles of innovation from “How Innovation Works”

I think it [Innovation] is the most important thing that happens in history, bar none. It’s what explains all the trends that happen in the world, it’s what explains the prosperity, but it’s also what explains all the other cultural trends – it explains how social media has gone crazy and things like that. Innovation is at the heart of…

Orders of magnitude / next size up

There are lots of things that are easy enough to do once. Doing the same thing a second time can be almost as big a step: you’ll have learned some useful lessons the first time round but might also have used up non-renewable resources (available time, money, enthusiasm) or discover that you’ve picked the lowest-hanging fruit. If you’re serious about…

Gravity bites

Watching skate videos – try this one, or this one – is great. You can kind of imagine doing those tricks. Watching beginner “how to” skate videos – try this one – is fun too. You can definitely imagine doing those tricks: “So I just put my foot here, then I jump like this…” You can learn a lot from…

Five in a row

You’ve started practising*, tried fifty, and hit some. Now keep going until you stick five in a row. Then ten. If you can do ten times in a row you’re a drop, skip and a jump away from being able to do it “reliably,” and mastery can’t be far behind. *I think it might be time for British English to…

Try 50

In the light of Jonny Giger, why not take that discouragingly difficult thing you’re trying to learn* and commit to attempting it fifty times in a row? I made it to fifty far faster than I expected, and ended up stopping at 105, with ten successes. *That piece of sporting/writing/culinary/musical/artistic/technical prowess.

Not easy but possible: Jonny Giger, repetition and persistence

It’s time to revisit the mother of skill – this time in the world of skateboarding. Jonny Giger is – according to some – the best flat ground skater in the world, and by any measure very, very good (here’s a good sample). What I like about JG is that he makes it look easy, but shows and tells us…

Two questions mid-Covid

For any of the things you do… What don’t you / your customers miss about doing this in person? What do you / they miss? Whatever “real life” looks like in the coming months, it will help if the things we’re glad to see the back of stay gone, or stay at a minimum. Losing these things is likely to…

In it to win it (2): OK Go on the sandbox theory of how to find a wonderful idea

This may seem to you like testing, but it really isn’t, because at this point we don’t yet know what our idea is: we don’t have a plan to be testing. We’re just trying everything we can think of because we need to get the idea space filled with a chaos… because then… if we can… get just a few…