Friday, July 31, 2015

John Seely Brown and Entrepreneurial Learning

I was reading an article this morning on the blog of Irving Wladawsky-Berger (which I highly recommend that you add to your feed reader) when I came across a couple of posts about John Seely Brown. Brown was chief scientist at Xerox for a number of years, and is now Independent Co-Chairman of Center for the Edge at Deloitte. The topic of the most recent post was Brown's paper "Cultivating the Entrepreneurial Learner in the 21st Century".

It's been a busy day, so look for a better summary this weekend.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Other Kind of Distributed Creative Problem Solving

According to an article posted in Techcrunch, IBM and its Watson project are teaming up with CVS to monitor customer data to pinpoint health problems before customers experience a medical crisis. The article reports that "CVS will allow Watson to scour many millions of data points from patient’s clinical records, medical claims, and fitness devices to go through the same cognition process as others within the Watson ecosystem, but the idea here is to aid CVS nurses and pharmacists in determining patient risk."

The network relies on the data that is recorded by humans and machines, processing it faster than humanly possible. This will be increasingly the case as technology progresses. We will find many more tasks for Watson (and others) to work on, hopefully increasing our problem solving pace.

I think, though, that Globally Distributed Creative Problem Solving by humans will result in a more human world. That is, if we continue to remove the obstacles to global cooperation. A globally distributed network of unique human experiences, that cannot yet be quantified, should allow us to solve problems that result from our sometimes irrational behavior.

Perhaps, future cooperation between these global problem-solving networks will begin to resemble the interaction between left and right hemispheres of the brain--the human side, and the machine side. Or maybe we will fail to keep up, and Watson will, as Stephen Hawking predicts, become our Skynet.

IBM Watson

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Permissionless, or "Open", Innovation in the Pharmaceutical Industry

Open Innovation Community pointed me to an interesting article from the pharmaceutical industry this morning. In the August 2015 edition of the Communications of the ACM, an article titled "Permissionless Innovation: Seeking a better approach to pharmaceutical research and development" argues the benefits of opening some aspects of drug development to outside research. The authors, Henry Chesbrough and Marshall Van Alstyne, point out that this would allow drug companies to discover unanticipated uses for new drugs.

The article also discusses a couple of interesting instances of open innovation, namely Goldcorp's opening of its geographical data to outside innovators to help discover new ore deposits, and the pharmaceutical industry's development of Cubicin, a powerful antibiotic.

We need initiatives like this in the pharmaceutical industry and others. The more problem solvers we can engage on each problem, the better. We have the technology to organize large-scale engagement. We need to put that technology to work.

Opening research to other perspectives can help to accelerate solutions to real world problems.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Globally Distributed Creative Problem Solving

From here on out, I will be evaluating research tools, books, policies, organizations, and research according to whether or not they facilitate or obstruct what I'm calling Globally Distributed Creative Problem Solving, or GDCPS. Our problems are big right now, and we need some pretty big solutions, solutions that can only be arrived at by unleashing the full potential of our greatest tool - the Internet.

I'm looking for something like MIT's Climate CoLab, or FoldIt, though I keep hoping for something that's purely cooperative, rather than competitive. That's why I'm not a huge fan of the corporate crowd-source innovation portals, like Innocentive, or NineSigma, though I'm still going to take the time to explore what they are offering.

If you are curious, here's a look at what MIT is doing: