Profiles of Innovators

Inside Four Decades of Breakthroughs at IBM Research

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American industry has a rich heritage of top-notch corporate labs. Bell Labs created not only the transistor, but also other fundamental breakthroughs, such as the laser and information theory. PARC, developed much of the technology we associate with modern computers, such as the mouse and the graphical user interface. Both labs have attained mythical status and rightly so. Yet IBM ...

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Three Insights for Innovators from Elon Musk

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Elon Musk was born in South Africa in 1971. He got his first computer at the age of 8 and learned to program. At 17 he went to University in Canada and subsequently settled in the USA where he founded a company, Zip2, which provided online travel guides. Zip2 was an early internet success and in 1999 he sold it ...

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Insight #2: BIF Summit 2016

Insight #2: BIF Summit 2016 - Innovation Excellence

The Business Innovation Factory (BIF) Summit has no theme beyond presenting remarkable stories about transformation. Participants themselves discover patterns, aha’s, and insights that make sense for them. That’s what happens when you put stories of transformation together with curious people from all walks of life and many different fields. I’m sharing my top 10 insights from BIF2016 in a series ...

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It Takes More than a Big Idea to Change the World

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In 1882, just three years after he had almost literally shocked the world with his revolutionary lighting system, Thomas Edison opened his Pearl Street Station, the first commercial electrical distribution plant in the United States. By 1884 it was already servicing over 500 homes. Up till that point, electric light was mostly a curiosity. While a few of the mighty elite could ...

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Innovation Doubts

Innovation Doubts

One of the first concepts I learned in a university course on statistics was not about regression analysis or significance of results but, rather, on the importance of doubt. Our professor drilled home the point that no matter how large our dataset and how clever our hypothesis, our results should always be presented using language such as “suggests” or “points ...

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