Author Archives: Greg Satell

How Innovation Really Happens

When Alexander Fleming, a brilliant but sometimes careless scientist, returned to his lab after a summer holiday in 1928, he found his work ruined. A bacteria culture he had been growing was contaminated by fungus and, as it grew, it killed all the colonies it touched. Most people would have simply started over, but Fleming switched his focus from the bacteria to ...

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Energy Storage Key to an Electric Future

Why Energy Storage May Be The Most Important Technology In The World Right Now In 1882, Thomas Edison built the Pearl Street Station, his first steam powered electrical distribution plant. In the years that followed, intense competition broke out between he and George Westinghouse, which became known as the War of the Currents, and the technology improved markedly in the coming decades. As Robert Gordon pointed ...

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The One Big Reason Every Business Needs to Embrace Complexity

The underlying premise of any organization is to create value. Historically, firms have done so through engineering ever greater efficiency. By honing internal processes, optimizing the supply chain and reducing product inventories, managers could improve margins and create a sustainable competitive advantage. That’s created a bias for simple, linear thinking. Adding extra variables to any process is bound to increase ...

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The Nature of Work has Changed!

The Real Work of Innovation

Are communication technologies like Slack, Yammer and Skype actually helping us, or just getting in the way? Certainly, they have made it easier to communicate, share information and collaborate with colleagues, but what if all that extra communication is actually preventing us from getting important work done?

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To Adapt, We Need To Evolve

To Adapt, We Need To Evolve

When scientists decoded the human genome in 2001, they found something astounding. While our DNA provides the blueprint for everything about us—from how we develop in the womb to eye color and personality traits—it takes only 20,000 genes to do so, less than one fifth of what had previously been thought. What was even more mindblowing was the reason that they ...

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Moore’s Law Will Soon End, but Progress Doesn’t Have to

In 1965, Intel co-founder Gordon Moore published a remarkably prescient paper which observed that the number of transistors on an integrated circuit was doubling every two years and predicted that this pace would lead to computers becoming embedded in homes, cars and communication systems. That simple idea, known today as Moore’s Law, has helped power the digital revolution. As computing performance has become exponentially ...

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2020 Tipping Point: A New Era of Innovation

  For the past 20 or 30 years, innovation, especially in the digital space, has been fairly straightforward. We could rely on technology to improve at a foreseeable pace and that allowed us to predict, with a high degree of certainty, what would be possible in the years to come. That led most innovation efforts to be focused on applications, with ...

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We Need To Stop Glorifying Startups

In David and Goliath, bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell explains how small upstarts often have surprising advantages over larger, more powerful opponents. “Giants are not what we think they are,” he writes, “and that often makes us fail to appreciate less conventional strategies that may be superior.” That’s certainly true in business. Large enterprises must serve the present. Things are expected of them. ...

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The 2016 Digital Tonto Reading List

Books have been very much on my mind this year, even more than usual. Full-length books provide a depth and a breadth that you just can’t get from an article or a blog post. A good, thoughtful book is a profoundly important thing and I’ve always been an active reader and enjoy letting new ideas wash over me. This year, though, ...

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