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…

When I’m bigger

My sons tell fantastic stories about what they’re going to do and be when they’re grown up: spies, taxi drivers, race-car drivers, generals, fathers of improbably large numbers of children (!), expert fighters, designers, inventors… The stories are a wonderful mix of the improbable and the impossible with a smattering of the realistic and the actual thrown in for good…

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…

Neil Gaiman on reading fiction, empathy and changing the world

“Fiction has two uses. Firstly, it’s a gateway drug to reading. The drive to know what happens next, to want to turn the page, the need to keep going, even if it’s hard, because someone’s in trouble and you have to know how it’s all going to end … that’s a very real drive. And it forces you to learn…

Fewer inputs, greater output (1)

More than ever, we’re aware that our energy and attention are scarce resources. How are you stewarding yours? Rather than starting with the fear that you’re frittering your time away, it might help to remind yourself how valuable your attention is: valuable enough that other people are willing to go great lengths (making websites, movies, TV, articles – and adverts)…

Just one chapter

If you could write a book – any kind of book – with a group of other people, who would they be? What would the book be about? And if you had to contribute a chapter – just one – what subject would you choose, and what do you have to say about it? Go and write your chapter.* Then…

Little jobs

There’s a lot to be said for batching – saving up similar jobs and then working through them efficiently in one go. But doing little jobs in free moments – in checking-the-news moments, social media moments, junky youtube moments – has its benefits too: Doing little jobs can act like a form of mental keepy-uppy, keeping your head in the…

Typo (2): error rate

The other thing about typos is how few we actually make relative to the attention we pay to them. A single spelling or grammar mistake in a thousand words leaps off the page – is embarrassing – but makes no difference to our understanding. We pay errors far more attention than they deserve as signals of the quality of a…

W. Brian Arthur on combinatorial innovation

The idea … that we have is that there’s some genius in an attic… cooking up technology and coming up with inventions. But it started to become clear to me having looked in detail at some inventions is that technologies in a way come out of other technologies. If you take any individual technology, say like a computer in the…