Archive for August, 2009

Ego and Bad Design

August 29th, 2009

I would like to go to the new $1.2 billion Cowboys Stadium in Texas to watch the movie The Matrix.   I have no interest in watching a football game there.  Full disclosure, I have never liked the Dallas Cowboys.  I think it has something to do with a mean cousin who loved them and harassed me about it in grade school.

Cowboys Stadium FootballIn a classic egomaniacal move Cowboy’s owner Jerry Jones ordered a ginormous jumbotron that hangs 90 ft above the playing field spanning from one twenty yard line to the other, right in the likely flight path of many punts. Read more

Education Rant

August 21st, 2009

mht1I know everyone is focused on health care reform but it is the education system in the U.S. that is in critical condition.  Mass High Tech published my Education Rant in this month’s It’s Saul About Innovation.  Let’s go.  The student is waiting.

“Education is not the filling of a bucket, but the lighting of a fire” W.B. Yeats

Excuse the rant but I am outraged by the state of the U.S. education system. We have let the pilot light go out and we are failing our youth. Particularly egregious is the way we are failing our urban youth.

We must refocus our national and regional innovation conversation on how to solve real world problems. Job number one is to design a better education system that lights a fire for every youth, creating lifelong passionate learners. It is time to move beyond public policy debates and institutional rugby scrums to try new solutions. What we are doing now isn’t working, and far too much of the federal stimulus investment in education is being spent to sustain the current system.

Continue reading Mass High Tech column here:

Random Collisions

August 12th, 2009

Beware of random collisions with unusual suspects.  Unless, of course, if you want to learn something new.  In that case seek out innovators from across every imaginable silo and listen, really listen, to their stories.  New ideas, perspectives, and the big value creating opportunities are in the gray areas between the unusual suspects.  It seems so obvious and yet we spend most of our time with the usual suspects in our respective silos.  We need to get out of our silos more.

It is human nature to surround ourselves with people who are exactly like us.  We connect and spend time with people who share a common world-view, look the same, enjoy the same activities, and speak the same language.  We join clubs to be with others like us.  I want to belong to the non-club club.  The only tribe I want to be in is a tribe of unusual suspects who can challenge my world-view, expose me to new ideas, and teach me something new.  Our tribe of unusual suspects can change the world if we connect in purposeful ways. Read more

Ideas Worth Scaling

August 1st, 2009

If TED is about Ideas Worth Spreading then BIF is about Ideas Worth Scaling. I may have stumbled on to BIF’s new positioning. I blurted it out in my last post Biotech Disruption Part Deux. It has stuck with me all week. What do you think?  I love TED and what it is doing.  I am biased due to my friendship with Richard Saul Wurman (RSW) who founded it.   RSW has been a BIF advisor from the beginning and as a BIF-5 storyteller on October 7-8th, he will share the story of his new book about an old fable.  The BIF community was proud this week being named by Mashable in the same company as TED as one of the “Top 7 Places to Watch Great Minds in Action“.

I think spreading ideas is critical but the end goal is solving a problem or creating a new opportunity.  I don’t know about you but over the course of my day I hear a lot of great ideas.  I even occasionally contribute a few. The question is can the ideas translate into action and can they scale?  I think a lot about how to enable R&D at the business model and systems level. The BIF community is passionate about scaling new ideas in health care, education, and energy. Read more