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How the modern office is killing our creativity
March 14, 2019 | | Financial Times | by Pilita Clark.

Roger Mavity and Stephen Bayley, the design guru, have published "How to Steal Fire", ....a book on one of the most eagerly sought qualities in the business world: creativity. Companies buffeted by a storm of digital disruption and competitive pressures have embraced the need for creative thinking with gusto in recent years, which marks a turnaround......CEOs have talked ....about the importance of innovation (i.e. the implementation of new ideas), but far less attention has been devoted to figuring out how to foster creativity itself.....“The first thing that helps creativity is solitude,” “Creativity is essentially an individual rather than a collective activity.” Sir Isaac Newton was a case in point....The great thoughts that helped him go on to formulate the theory of gravity came after the Great Plague closed his university (Cambridge) and he spent nearly two years shut away in his home in Lincolnshire......When he was running Microsoft, Bill Gates used to head off by himself to a secluded hideaway twice a year for what he called Think Week.....Mavity says: “If you need to produce an idea, isolating yourself can be enormously beneficial.”......“How you do that in a big open-plan office with 100 other people trying to be creative at the same time?.......Solitude is in hopelessly short supply at a time when companies are captivated by the financial allure of the open-plan office and its evil twin, hot-desking. ....The idea that great creative thoughts come from teamwork, brainstorming and the ever-present away day is one of the “great myths” of creativity......the Ringelmann effect, named after a French engineer, Max Ringelmann, who first observed that individual productivity falls as group size increases. Away days can be useful for helping people get to know each other better, but not for generating ideas, said Mr Mavity. As his book puts it: “Brainstorming produces, at best, a light, irritating drizzle of complacent mediocrity.”....smart companies understand the need for focused concentration....what should executives be doing to foster creativity?....“They have to walk the talk,” ....leaders need to set clear goals and then give people doing creative work the time, resources and autonomy to achieve them....Managers must be genuinely open to new thoughts and make sure good ideas are fostered. “None of it is rocket science or brain surgery,” “But you have to pay attention on a regular basis to whether people have these things.”
advertising  billgates  books  brainstorming  creativity  disruption  ergonomics  ideas  innovation  Isaac_Newton  myths  open-plan  pay_attention  solitude  teams  workplaces 
5 days ago by jerryking
10 Breakthrough Technologies 2019, curated by Bill Gates - MIT Technology Review
We asked Gates to choose this year’s list of inventions that will change the world for the better.
Technology  2019  techreview  mit  billgates 
19 days ago by jorgebarba
20 Minutes With: Bridge International Academies’ Shannon May
Feb. 25, 2019 | Barron's | By Mitch Moxley.

Bridge International Academies, a private company May co-founded that transforms failing government schools into high performing ones. The results have been astounding. May, an Arizona native in her early 40s, oversees the education of more than a quarter of a million children every school day in six countries. On average, these schools charge just US$7 per month per child, and some graduates have gone to elite secondary schools in the U.S.

Bridge is backed by Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, among others, and has raised over US$140 million.

What was the original goal when you launched Bridge?

The original goal, seriously, was to serve a million kids in more than 1,000 schools…. It’s a lot harder than we thought, but 10 years on, now we’re working with close to 300,000 kids every day in six different countries.
billgates  China  education  high-achieving  PhDs  teachers  teaching  scaling  schools  transformational 
23 days ago by jerryking
We didn’t see this coming | Bill Gates
This year's Bill and Melinda Gates annual letter focusses on surprises they found in this past year of their work with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
BillGates  MelindaGates  philanthropy  linkfodder 
4 weeks ago by vanderwal
Bill Gates tweeted out a chart and sparked a debate on global poverty
Not so fast. In a Guardian article titled “Bill Gates says poverty is decreasing. He couldn’t be more wrong,” Hickel raises a variety of objections to the chart:

1️⃣ The $1.90-a-day line is “obscenely low,” and “earning $2 per day doesn’t mean that you’re somehow suddenly free of extreme poverty.” A minimum of $7.40 per day, at least, is necessary for “basic nutrition and normal human life expectancy.”
2️⃣ Using the percentage of people in poverty is misleading, and we should instead focus on the absolute number of people in poverty, which according to Hickel’s preferred $7.40-a-day line has increased since 1981.
3️⃣ All the numbers before 1981, when the World Bank began collecting detailed survey data on poverty, are illegitimate: “Anything before that is extremely sketchy, and to go back as far as 1820 is meaningless. Roser draws on a dataset that was never intended to describe poverty, but rather inequality in the distribution of world GDP — and that for only a limited range of countries.”
4️⃣ The chart erases the toll of colonialism, particularly in the 1820 to 1981 period. “The world went from a situation where most of humanity had no need of money at all to one where today most of humanity struggles to survive on extremely small amounts of money,” Hickel writes. “The graph casts this as a decline in poverty, but in reality what was going on was a process of dispossession that bulldozed people into the capitalist labour system, during the enclosure movements in Europe and the colonization of the global south.”
5️⃣ Related to point 4, it’s not clear that going from a pre-monetary society to a monetary society — even if that monetary society is cutting monetary poverty at a rapid rate — represents an improvement in living standards, especially when that transition happened in large part due to violence and coercion by Western powers.
6️⃣ “Virtually all” the reduction in extreme poverty occurred in China, which relied on extensive state support for industry and exports. “It is disingenuous, then, for the likes of Gates and [Steven] Pinker to claim these gains as victories for Washington-consensus neoliberalism,” Hickel writes.
by:DylanMatthews  from:Vox  BillGates  poverty  economics  JasonHickel  MaxRoser  from:OurWorldInData  history 
5 weeks ago by owenblacker
Episode 58: The Neoliberal Optimism Industry de Citations Needed Podcast
"We're told the world is getting better all the time. In January, The New York Times' Nick Kristof explained "Why 2017 Was the Best Year in Human History." The same month, Harvard professor and Bill Gates' favorite optimist Steven Pinker lamented (in a special edition of Time magazine guest edited by - who else? - Bill Gates) the “bad habits of media... bring out the worst in human cognition”. By focusing so much on negative things, the theory goes, we are tricked into thinking things are getting worse when, in reality, it's actually the opposite.

For the TEDtalk set, that the world is awesome and still improving is self-evidently true - just look at the data. But how true is this popular axiom? How accurate is the portrayal that the world is improving we so often seen in sexy, hockey stick graphs of upward growth and rapidly declining poverty? And how, exactly, are the powers that be "measuring" improvements in society?

On this episode, we take a look at the ideological project of telling us everything's going swimmingly, how those in power cook the books and spin data to make their case for maintaining the status quo, and how The Neoliberal Optimism Industry is, at its core, an anti-intellectual enterprise designed to lull us into complacency and political impotence.

Our guest is Dr. Jason Hickel."
jasonhickel  2018  stevenpinker  billgates  neoliberalism  capitalism  ideology  politics  economics  globalsouth  development  colonialism  colonization  china  africa  lies  data  poverty  inequality  trends  climatechange  globalwarming  climatereparations  nicholaskristof  thomasfriedman  society  gamingthenumbers  self-justification  us  europe  policy  vox  race  racism  intelligence  worldbank  imf 
5 weeks ago by robertogreco
Bill Gates says poverty is decreasing. He couldn’t be more wrong | Jason Hickel | Opinion | The Guardian
"An infographic endorsed by the Davos set presents the story of coerced global proletarianisation as a neoliberal triumph"

"Last week, as world leaders and business elites arrived in Davos for the World Economic Forum, Bill Gates tweeted an infographic to his 46 million followers showing that the world has been getting better and better. “This is one of my favourite infographics,” he wrote. “A lot of people underestimate just how much life has improved over the past two centuries.”

Of the six graphs – developed by Max Roser of Our World in Data – the first has attracted the most attention by far. It shows that the proportion of people living in poverty has declined from 94% in 1820 to only 10% today. The claim is simple and compelling. And it’s not just Gates who’s grabbed on to it. These figures have been trotted out in the past year by everyone from Steven Pinker to Nick Kristof and much of the rest of the Davos set to argue that the global extension of free-market capitalism has been great for everyone. Pinker and Gates have gone even further, saying we shouldn’t complain about rising inequality when the very forces that deliver such immense wealth to the richest are also eradicating poverty before our very eyes.

It’s a powerful narrative. And it’s completely wrong.

[tweet by Bill Gates with graphs]

There are a number of problems with this graph, though. First of all, real data on poverty has only been collected since 1981. Anything before that is extremely sketchy, and to go back as far as 1820 is meaningless. Roser draws on a dataset that was never intended to describe poverty, but rather inequality in the distribution of world GDP – and that for only a limited range of countries. There is no actual research to bolster the claims about long-term poverty. It’s not science; it’s social media.

What Roser’s numbers actually reveal is that the world went from a situation where most of humanity had no need of money at all to one where today most of humanity struggles to survive on extremely small amounts of money. The graph casts this as a decline in poverty, but in reality what was going on was a process of dispossession that bulldozed people into the capitalist labour system, during the enclosure movements in Europe and the colonisation of the global south.

Prior to colonisation, most people lived in subsistence economies where they enjoyed access to abundant commons – land, water, forests, livestock and robust systems of sharing and reciprocity. They had little if any money, but then they didn’t need it in order to live well – so it makes little sense to claim that they were poor. This way of life was violently destroyed by colonisers who forced people off the land and into European-owned mines, factories and plantations, where they were paid paltry wages for work they never wanted to do in the first place.

In other words, Roser’s graph illustrates a story of coerced proletarianisation. It is not at all clear that this represents an improvement in people’s lives, as in most cases we know that the new income people earned from wages didn’t come anywhere close to compensating for their loss of land and resources, which were of course gobbled up by colonisers. Gates’s favourite infographic takes the violence of colonisation and repackages it as a happy story of progress.

But that’s not all that’s wrong here. The trend that the graph depicts is based on a poverty line of $1.90 (£1.44) per day, which is the equivalent of what $1.90 could buy in the US in 2011. It’s obscenely low by any standard, and we now have piles of evidence that people living just above this line have terrible levels of malnutrition and mortality. Earning $2 per day doesn’t mean that you’re somehow suddenly free of extreme poverty. Not by a long shot.

Scholars have been calling for a more reasonable poverty line for many years. Most agree that people need a minimum of about $7.40 per day to achieve basic nutrition and normal human life expectancy, plus a half-decent chance of seeing their kids survive their fifth birthday. And many scholars, including Harvard economist Lant Pritchett, insist that the poverty line should be set even higher, at $10 to $15 per day.

So what happens if we measure global poverty at the low end of this more realistic spectrum – $7.40 per day, to be extra conservative? Well, we see that the number of people living under this line has increased dramatically since measurements began in 1981, reaching some 4.2 billion people today. Suddenly the happy Davos narrative melts away.

Moreover, the few gains that have been made have virtually all happened in one place: China. It is disingenuous, then, for the likes of Gates and Pinker to claim these gains as victories for Washington-consensus neoliberalism. Take China out of the equation, and the numbers look even worse. Over the four decades since 1981, not only has the number of people in poverty gone up, the proportion of people in poverty has remained stagnant at about 60%. It would be difficult to overstate the suffering that these numbers represent.

This is a ringing indictment of our global economic system, which is failing the vast majority of humanity. Our world is richer than ever before, but virtually all of it is being captured by a small elite. Only 5% of all new income from global growth trickles down to the poorest 60% – and yet they are the people who produce most of the food and goods that the world consumes, toiling away in those factories, plantations and mines to which they were condemned 200 years ago. It is madness – and no amount of mansplaining from billionaires will be adequate to justify it."

[See also:

"A Letter to Steven Pinker (and Bill Gates, For That Matter) About Global Poverty"
https://www.jasonhickel.org/blog/2019/2/3/pinker-and-global-poverty

"A Response to Max Roser: How Not to Measure Global Poverty"
https://www.jasonhickel.org/blog/2019/2/6/response-to-max-roser

"Citations Needed Podcast: Episode 58: The Neoliberal Optimism Industry"
https://soundcloud.com/citationsneeded/episode-58-the-neoliberal-optimism-industry ]
billgates  statistics  capitalism  inequality  poverty  2019  jasonhickel  davos  wealth  land  property  colonialism  colonization  maxroser  data  stevenpinker  nicholaskristof  gdp  dispossession  labor  work  money  neoliberalism  exploitation 
6 weeks ago by robertogreco
Steve Jobs and Bill Gates: What happened when Microsoft saved Apple
29 Aug 2017 | CNBC | by Catherine Clifford.

Steve Jobs and Bill Gates' rivalrous friendship is the stuff of tech lore. The most poignant moment of that fraught relationship happened 20 years ago. In August of 1997, Gates stepped in and saved Apple, which, at the time, was on the brink of bankruptcy.

"Bill, thank you. The world's a better place," Jobs told Gates after the Microsoft exec agreed to make a $150 million investment in Apple.
Apple  billgates  Microsoft  Steve_Jobs 
12 weeks ago by jerryking

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