Author Archives: Greg Satell

Innovation Needs Exploration

In Sapiens, Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harari argues that it was the exploratory mindset that led to European dominance over the world. Other empires, such as the Chinese and the Ottomans, had far greater military and economic power in the 18th century. Yet, it was the Europeans quest for understanding that made the difference. To explore, you first need to ...

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All Great Innovators Have One Thing In Common

Take any great idea and you can find no shortage of people who think they had it first. And it’s quite possible they did. History is full of examples of nearly simultaneous discovery. David Hilbert discovered general relativity at about the same time Einstein did. Alexander Graham Bell only narrowly beat Elisha Gray to the patent office. Yet the debate ...

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Innovation Needs Communication

In 2014, Thomas Royen, a retired German statistician, solved a puzzle that had stumped mathematicians for decades. Called the Gaussian correlation inequality, it involves the probability of a random point lying in overlapping shapes and is one of those seemingly simple mathematical ideas that is devilishly hard to figure out. Yet the mathematics community was skeptical. Royen published his proof, ...

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Inside the Battery Race to Power The 21st Century

The garage startup has become as much of an American icon in the twenty first century as the automobile and the drive-in were to earlier generations. The idea that anyone with an idea can change the world is as romantic as democracy itself, but it’s not altogether true. A garage startup only works if there is existing technology to build ...

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Can Small Business Access World Class Scientific Research? Yes!

Take a look at any breakthrough technology and invariably it started out in a lab somewhere, usually decades before any commercial product hits the market. The problem is that, with tens of thousands of scientific papers published every year, it’s hard to separate the wheat from the chaff. That’s why major corporations spend billions on research and development, invest in ...

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We Need To Stop Trying To Predict The Future And Start Exploring It

In a celebrated 1995 article in Newsweek, astronomer Clifford Stoll blasted Internet visionaries. “Do our computer pundits lack all common sense?” he asked. “The truth is no online database will replace your daily newspaper, no CD-ROM can take the place of a competent teacher and no computer network will change the way government works.” Clearly, he was mistaken, but Stoll ...

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