The cartoon says it all (well, kinda)

Below we suggest a little weekend reading. And then, the title of this post (and the cartoon) will make more sense…

…For those of you who missed Malcolm Gladwell’s article on “The Creation Myth” in the May 16 New Yorker, read it here (subscribers can access on their iPads or in the online archive; non-subscribers can pay for access). On the surface, it’s a story about the mouse and how inventions travel – and evolve – across time and place. But examined more deeply, the article is really about the factors that determine whether you end up with an invention or an innovation.

And if you’re new to this blog, be sure to read the PARC response, which builds on the article’s themes and adds the “missing” conclusion. Better yet, check out — and add to — the engaging comments!

Finally, here’s some great coverage of the discussion (but note, it’s not a debate about innovation per se, as Paul Kedrosky observed…).

Other relevant links to check out:

  • Managing Disruptive Innovation (slides and talk track delivered at the Front End of Innovation 2011 conference) — So you want to invent the next killer app… how do you move from idea to execution?
  • Managing research as an investment portfolio — How do we balance the seemingly conflicting goals of long-term research vs. short-term profits, of creating breakthrough innovations vs. providing client services, of diversifying research into many markets vs. developing critical mass in just a few?
  • Building an “ecosystem” to fulfill a novel technology’s promise — Given the diversity of applications, how does one move from the fundamental research that unlocks new possibilities, to the market impact of addressing what’s needed? Especially when you don’t really have a market, but an enabling technology. Hint: if everyone is asking, “what’s the killer app?”, you’ve probably got an enabling technology…
  • The secret sauce? — One of the first things some companies ask us is, “So, what’s your secret sauce?” But as anyone in the business of innovation knows, innovation isn’t a noun; it’s a process, a culture, an ecosystem. Let’s examine the players: government agencies, universities, consulting firms, industrial design houses, startups, large enterprises…
  • CCN now supports Android — Yesterday’s network architecture simply does NOT suit today’s proliferation of multimedia, data, and mobility in a broadly connected world…
  • Defining ubiquitous computing vs. augmented reality — What’s the difference between Ubiquitous Computing (“ubicomp”) and any of the buzzy paradigms for people-interacting-with-computers? For the most part, I don’t find formal definitions useful; you can call it whatever suits your fancy. All that matters is that I understand what you mean when you use a term and that you understand what I mean when I use it…


 Editor: Sonal Chokshi

Additional information

Focus Areas

Our work is centered around a series of Focus Areas that we believe are the future of science and technology.

Licensing & Commercialization Opportunities

We’re continually developing new technologies, many of which are available for Commercialization.


Our scientists and staffers are active members and contributors to the science and technology communities.