petej + innovation   126

Disruptor has become a dirty word. And not just when applied to Donald Trump | Andre Spicer | Opinion | The Guardian
Toilers are the people who work for decades to develop and then improve a particular technology or technique. A classic toiler is the scientist who works for years on a particular problem, contributing small advances that help to take the field forward. Often it is sustained investment (often by governments) in these people that produce the really important technical breakthroughs.

Tinkerers are people who play around with existing as well as new technologies. These are the engineers who fiddle about with different technologies, trying things out and making do. Often it is these people who find ways to put basic scientific breakthroughs to work in solving specific problems. Typically, they create small improvements that make a big difference.

So instead of encouraging disruptors, our economy and also our political institutions may be better off with a few more toilers and tinkerers.
disruption  business  technology  TrumpDonald  ChristensenClayton  innovation  change  hype  research  dctagged  dc:creator=SpicerAndre 
6 weeks ago by petej
An Alternative History of Silicon Valley Disruption | WIRED
It is only now, a decade after the financial crisis, that the American public seems to appreciate that what we thought was disruption worked more like extraction—of our data, our attention, our time, our creativity, our content, our DNA, our homes, our cities, our relationships. The tech visionaries’ predictions did not usher us into the future, but rather a future where they are kings.

They promised the open web, we got walled gardens. They promised individual liberty, then broke democracy—and now they’ve appointed themselves the right men to fix it.
SiliconValley  technology  disruption  business  Darwinism  surveillanceCapitalism  flexibility  precarity  innovation  exceptionalism 
october 2018 by petej
Why I left Google to join Grab – Steve Yegge – Medium
You can look at Google’s entire portfolio of launches over the past decade, and trace nearly all of them to copying a competitor: Google+ (Facebook), Google Cloud (AWS), Google Home (Amazon Echo), Allo (WhatsApp), Android Instant Apps (Facebook, WeChat), Google Assistant (Apple/Siri), and on and on and on. They are stuck in me-too mode and have been for years. They simply don’t have innovation in their DNA any more. And it’s because their eyes are fixed on their competitors, not their customers.
Google  business  innovation  arrogance  conservatism  competition 
january 2018 by petej
Solving All the Wrong Problems - The New York Times
"Empathy, humility, compassion, conscience: These are the key ingredients missing in the pursuit of innovation, Ms. Helfand argues, and in her book she explores design, and by extension innovation, as an intrinsically human discipline — albeit one that seems to have lost its way. Ms. Helfand argues that innovation is now predicated less on creating and more on the undoing of the work of others.

“In this humility-poor environment, the idea of disruption appeals as a kind of subversive provocation,” she writes. “Too many designers think they are innovating when they are merely breaking and entering.”

In this way, innovation is very much mirroring the larger public discourse: a distrust of institutions combined with unabashed confidence in one’s own judgment shifts solutions away from fixing, repairing or improving and shoves them toward destruction for its own sake."
SiliconValley  technology  innovation  entrepreneurialism  empathy  humility 
july 2016 by petej
Stop pushing the web forward - QuirksBlog
"The innovation machine is running at full speed in the wrong direction."
Web  technology  browser  innovation  change  features 
july 2015 by petej
John Lanchester reviews ‘The Second Machine Age’ by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee and ‘Average Is Over’ by Tyler Cowen · LRB 5 March 2015
"It’s also worth noting what isn’t being said about this robotified future. The scenario we’re given – the one being made to feel inevitable – is of a hyper-capitalist dystopia. There’s capital, doing better than ever; the robots, doing all the work; and the great mass of humanity, doing not much, but having fun playing with its gadgets. (Though if there’s no work, there are going to be questions about who can afford to buy the gadgets.) There is a possible alternative, however, in which ownership and control of robots is disconnected from capital in its current form. The robots liberate most of humanity from work, and everybody benefits from the proceeds: we don’t have to work in factories or go down mines or clean toilets or drive long-distance lorries, but we can choreograph and weave and garden and tell stories and invent things and set about creating a new universe of wants. This would be the world of unlimited wants described by economics, but with a distinction between the wants satisfied by humans and the work done by our machines. It seems to me that the only way that world would work is with alternative forms of ownership. The reason, the only reason, for thinking this better world is possible is that the dystopian future of capitalism-plus-robots may prove just too grim to be politically viable. This alternative future would be the kind of world dreamed of by William Morris, full of humans engaged in meaningful and sanely remunerated labour. Except with added robots. It says a lot about the current moment that as we stand facing a future which might resemble either a hyper-capitalist dystopia or a socialist paradise, the second option doesn’t get a mention."
automation  work  labour  robots  jobs  economics  employment  computers  post-industrialism  innovation  technology  informationTechnology  productivity  capitalism  postFordism  determinism  deflation  communism  dctagged  dc:creator=LanchesterJohn  LRB 
march 2015 by petej
Why We’re Anxious About Technological Stagnation, And Why We Shouldn’t Be | The Frailest Thing
"These “moonshots” we keep hearing about longingly might just be shorthand for the phenomena that David Nye labeled the American Technological Sublime. You can click that link to read more about it, but here is the short version: Nye documented responses to new technologies throughout the 19th and early to mid-20th century that verged on religious awe. These experiences were elicited by technologies of tremendous and hitherto unseen scale or dynamism (railroads, the Hoover Dam, skyscrapers, the electrified cityscape, atomic weapons, the Saturn V, etc.), and they were channeled into what amounted to a civil religion, public celebrations of national character and unity."

"But if we’ve lost our taste for escapist fantasies of transcendence about the future, perhaps we might then be better prepared to pursue a more humane vision for our future technologies."
technology  innovation  optimism  pessimism  scienceFiction  dctagged  dc:creator=SacasasMichael 
october 2014 by petej
Against Sharing | Jacobin
"Uber is part of a new wave of corporations that make up what’s called the “sharing economy.” The premise is seductive in its simplicity: people have skills, and costumers want services. Silicon Valley plays matchmaker, churning out apps that pair workers with work. Now, anyone can rent out an apartment with AirBnB, become a cabbie through Uber, or clean houses using Homejoy.

But under the guise of innovation and progress, companies are stripping away worker protections, pushing down wages, and flouting government regulations. At its core, the sharing economy is a scheme to shift risk from companies to workers, discourage labor organizing, and ensure that capitalists can reap huge profits with low fixed costs.

There’s nothing innovative or new about this business model. Uber is just capitalism, in its most naked form."
capitalism  sharing  economy  Uber  work  labour  conditions  wages  SiliconValley  innovation  business  sharingEconomy 
september 2014 by petej
Jill Lepore: What the Theory of “Disruptive Innovation” Gets Wrong : The New Yorker
"Disruptive innovation is a theory about why businesses fail. It’s not more than that. It doesn’t explain change. It’s not a law of nature. It’s an artifact of history, an idea, forged in time; it’s the manufacture of a moment of upsetting and edgy uncertainty. Transfixed by change, it’s blind to continuity. It makes a very poor prophet.

The upstarts who work at startups don’t often stay at any one place for very long. (Three out of four startups fail. More than nine out of ten never earn a return.) They work a year here, a few months there—zany hours everywhere. They wear jeans and sneakers and ride scooters and share offices and sprawl on couches like Great Danes. Their coffee machines look like dollhouse-size factories.

They are told that they should be reckless and ruthless. Their investors, if they’re like Josh Linkner, tell them that the world is a terrifying place, moving at a devastating pace. “Today I run a venture capital firm and back the next generation of innovators who are, as I was throughout my earlier career, dead-focused on eating your lunch,” Linkner writes. His job appears to be to convince a generation of people who want to do good and do well to learn, instead, remorselessness. Forget rules, obligations, your conscience, loyalty, a sense of the commonweal. If you start a business and it succeeds, Linkner advises, sell it and take the cash. Don’t look back. Never pause. Disrupt or be disrupted.

But they do pause and they do look back, and they wonder. Meanwhile, they tweet, they post, they tumble in and out of love, they ponder. They send one another sly messages, touching the screens of sleek, soundless machines with a worshipful tenderness. They swap novels: David Foster Wallace, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Zadie Smith. “Steppenwolf” is still available in print, five dollars cheaper as an e-book. He’s a wolf, he’s a man. The rest is unreadable. So, as ever, is the future."
innovation  technology  SiliconValley  disruption  culture  ChristensenClay  startups 
june 2014 by petej
The People’s Republic of Zuckerstan | John Summers | The Baffler
"Taking a stand for Swartz would have dragged MIT down from its rising position in the Innovation Economy’s fable of classless utopia. Advocating leniency for this particular rule-breaking entrepreneur would have mired the school in the murky world of conflicting interests. How much safer to do nothing.

What does the Innovation Economy require of MIT? To be a global pacesetter in entrepreneurship? Check. A local real-estate kingpin? Check. An institution that’s prepared to discuss what philanthropy is really for, how cultural power masquerades as “economic development,” or why Aaron Swartz was prosecuted? No, not really."
business  technology  innovation  entrepreneurs  MIT  Harvard  housing  culture  exclusion  marketisation  CambridgeMA  SwartzAaron  power  economics  politics  basicIncome 
march 2014 by petej
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