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L04 Adjacent Possible


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Innovation is the change in technology. The question is this: how does innovation happen? Many people have believe that new ideas come from brilliant inventors that have lightbulb moments or an epiphany. Greek scholar Archimedes had a Eureka moment, Newton discovered the theory of gravity when the apple fell on his head, and so on. This idea has been popularized, but the truth is quite different. Most discoveries are based on long evaluation - slow hunches, and collaboration.

In this lecture we look at how innovation happens. We look at the slow hunch, the liquid network, and serendipity.

Published in: Technology
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L04 Adjacent Possible

  2. 2. Exponential World Local and linear Global and Exponential
  3. 3. The S-curve Improvements in performance varies throughout the life of the technology
  4. 4. Number of transistors on
 an integrated circuit will double in about 18-24 months Moore’s Law
  5. 5. The Law of Accelerating Returns Evolution applies positive feedback in that the more capable methods resulting from one stage of evolutionary progress are used to 
 create the next stage As a result, the rate of progress of an evolutionary process increases exponentially over time
  6. 6. Complexity of Technology Local and linear Global and Exponential
  7. 7. Combinatorial
  8. 8. Ideas build upon Ideas Every generation of technology 
 becomes a source for new 
  9. 9. Web of Technology Products are made using different parts using many technologies - confection of ideas
  10. 10. Gall’s Law All complex systems that work, evolved from 
 simpler system that worked
  11. 11. “I, Pencil” by Leonard E. Read
  12. 12. Toaster
  13. 13. Thomas Thwaits: The Toaster Project
  14. 14. "Left to his own devices he couldn’t build a toaster. He could just about make a sandwich 
 and that was it." Mostly Harmless, Douglas Adams, 1992
  15. 15. “And that was something that reoccurred throughout the project, was, the smaller the scale you want to work on, the further back in time you have to go” - Thomas Thwaites
  16. 16. Layers of Technology Technologies evolves layer by layer, from simple to complex technologies
  17. 17. Combinatory Process New technology is created 
 by combining other existing technology in new ways
  18. 18. The Law of Disappearing Technology When some technique is mastered, it will “disappear” as something obvious and trivial, and other more useful things that are built on top of it
  19. 19. The Resistance Corollary Even outdated things that should “disappear” don’t due to supposed importance
  20. 20. Adjacent Possible
  21. 21. Adjacent Possible ...a kind of shadow future, hovering on the edges of the present state of things, a map of all the ways in which the present can reinvent itself Steven Johnson
  22. 22. Ideas usually come at similar time Who invented the telephone?
  23. 23. Enabling Technology Existing technology that can be used to build new technologies
  24. 24. Why was the computer invented in the 1940s 
 and not in the 1840s? Think about this!
  25. 25. Charles Babbage
 worked on his 
 difference engine and later 
 analytical engine In 1822-1871
  26. 26. Ada Lovelace influenced or even conceived the concept ot programmable computer
  27. 27. Adjacent Possible The inventor must use the components that exist in his environment Steven  Johnson
  28. 28. Image  source: Vacuum tubes were used 
 to build computers
  29. 29. The Second Industrial Revolution The period 1870-1914 shaw innovations in the chemical, electric, petroleum and steel industries
  30. 30. Nikolai Kondratiev Kondratiev waves are supposedly cycle-like phenomena in the modern world economy
  31. 31. Source:  Wikipedia,  Kondratiev  Wave Kontrativ Wave
  32. 32. Source:  Wikipedia,  Kondratiev  Wave Wave Years 1 First Industrial Revolution 1787–1842 2 Railroad and Steam Engine Era 1842–1897 3 Age of steel, electricity and internal combustion 1897–1939 4 War and Post-war Boom: Suburbia 1939–1982 5 Post Industrial Era: Information Technology 1982? – ?? Kontrativ Wave
  33. 33. The Prevailing Technology Trap Current  and  dominant  technology  will  highly   influence  and  restrict  new  innovations
  34. 34. Technology Cramming
  35. 35. Technology Cramming
  36. 36. Two Waves of Products Development In the first wave the product is restricted by the prevailing technology, but in the second, there is something new
  37. 37. Timeline Each wave creates number of new inventions
  38. 38. Timeline Let’s play a game
  39. 39. Timeline when? Submarine Navigation The Safe Cork Rubber eraser The brick
  40. 40. -10.000 TODAY The brick -7000 Navigation -4000 Cork 1695 The Safe 1844 Submarine 1775 Rubber eraser 1770 1000 The brick The safe Submarine Rubber eraser Navigation Cork slide rule 1624 Telescope Ceramics hourglass Violin Typewriter Barbed wire Telescope 1668 Violin 1548 Typewriter 1873 Barbed wire 1874 Hourglass 900 Ceramics -6000
  41. 41. Next L05 Innovation