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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

Hybrids (2): combinations and connections

New ideas and technologies are often hybrids. Sometimes we take quantum leaps and invent entirely new technologies, but more often they seem to emerge at the intersection of existing ideas, tools or ways of doing things. Walter Isaacson’s┬áThe Innovators: How…