Tom Peters: “What Diversity Problem?”

This is Tom Peters on Diversity in 1994’s The Pursuit of Wow!: Diversity problem? Hurdle? Diversity creates one and only one thing: opportunity. Business, in the mad global marketplace [1994!], needs a rush of serious creativity. Creativity is, invariably, a byproduct of sparks, new views, juxtaposed interests etc. How does a company acquire those assets? Diversity! … It seems obvious…

Zen Hae on cross-pollination, imitation and innovation in Indonesian Peranakan literature

The pattern of hybridity, imitation and innovation we talk about under the label “combinatorial innovation” isn’t limited to cars and computers – it’s central to (and has been discussed for far longer) in literature and the arts. In a paper from the Jakarta International Literary Festival 2019, Zen Hae unpacks the example of Indonesian-language writing by Peranakan* writers as a…

Seeds (2): bikes, planes and automobiles

Many of the seeds of the automobile industry came from bicycle manufacturers (I touched on this in Use, Copy, Repair, Make), and on a visit to the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu I learnt some more of the story. Karl Benz, widely credited as the maker of the first practical automobile, started in mechanical engineering and ironwork and started experimenting…

AI and us: Kevin Kelly on ‘centaurs’

In 1997 Watson’s precursor, IBM’s Deep Blue, beat the reigning chess grand master Garry Kasperov in a famous man-versus machine match. After machines repeated their victories in a few more matches, humans largely lost interest in such contests. You might think that this was the end of the story (if not the end of human history), but Kasparov realised that…

Ways in: ravelling the network

Interface A discipline, culture or scene is a network: a mesh of people, things, ideas and ways of doing things. It might be tightly defined, with a clear centre, tightly woven middle, and a strong sense of a margin. It might be clustered, with areas where the web is thicker and deeper, but with threadbare valleys inbetween,  fading out to…

Where’s the scene?

In the first full episode of the Broken Record podcast, Malcolm Gladwell chats to Rick Rubin about the start of his journey to becoming a record producer. I’m piecing together fragments here – iffy chronology: He loved music. Punk and hardcore on the radio. Listening to hip-hop (tapes of Mister Magic’s Rap Attack – ‘the only place that hip-hop was…

Intelligences

Imagine you are in charge of developing an artificial intelligence. Your AI has the ability to move into the world and mingle with human beings, all the while augmenting both its physical capability and its intelligence. In time, your AI will certainly be able to perform many tasks that would help the people around it. It will be smarter, stronger,…

Hybrids (4): Intersections and you

This is the fourth of a series on the role of hybrids in innovation. This is where I put the ideas of the previous posts to work using the principle of ‘combinatorial innovation’ to look for fertile soil for cross-breeds between my work in educational development and other areas. Translation and Contextualisation In a way, this whole post is about these two…

Hybrids (3): when ideas breed

Kevin Kelly has a lot to say about innovation as combination. Here’s a good riff: Most new ideas and new inventions are disjointed ideas merged. Innovations in the design of clocks inspired better windmills, furnaces engineered to brew beer turned out to be useful to the iron industry, mechanisms invented for organ-making were applied to looms, and mechanisms in looms…

More from Mill

More from Mill on diversity (see Hybrids). It’s a longer quotation than usual, but it’s great. In short: diversity and mixing allow new “good things, which did not before exist.” – hybrids. It will not be denied by anybody, that originality is a valuable element in human affairs. There is always need of persons not only to discover new truths,…