Posts Tagged ‘Innovation’

Gamestorming – XPLANE’s Dave Gray talks about his new book

August 7, 2010 2 comments

Dave Gray of XPLANE has a new book out titled Gamestorming: A Playbook for Innovators, Rulebreakers, and Changemakers – a book that he has co-authored with Sunni Brown and James Macanufo.

Gamestorming is a book about creating an environment for creativity and innovation in organizations through playing team-oriented games. I currently have the book on order, so I can write about it yet. But here’s the blog that inspired the book. And here’s a wonderful video of Dave Gray at IxD10 presenting the ideas that motivate the book:

There is one segment of the video that I particularly like, starting around 26:40 – and it’s on the topic of Artifacts. Here’s Dave Gray:

What is an Artifact? Usually an artifact is something we find in an archeological dig. … But artifacts are usually portable, as opposed to the Parthenon. An artifact is usually something that people have imbued with meaning of some kind and we may or may not know what is it. But it’s an object that has meaning to people, that meant something, and they used it to carry meaning around, like we do with our laptops or books.

So what Artifacts do for us in knowledge games, is artifacts give us a way to make information tangible, so we can put our meaning into motion and make it portable.

So when you’re trying to have a meeting, and all the stuff is just floating around in the air and people are just talking about it and there are no tangible artifacts … you’re expecting everyone to hold all this information in their head, and it’s very hard [for people] to actually think what they want to do with this information, when they’re just trying to track it.

In a nutshell, artifacts “anchor” meaning so that it’s tangible, explicit and can be communicated/shared.

I’ll update this post once I’ve had a chance to read the book.


Leonard Brody – Revolutionary Change and being an Entrepreneur

January 30, 2010 1 comment

Wonderful keynote give by Leonard Brody on deep, fundamental technology-driven changes in our world, and what it means to be an entrepreneur in these times. Brody delivered his talk in October 2009 at the Connect ’09, an event for tech start-ups and innovators, organized by the BC Innovation Council. Here’s the video:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Thanks to Alfred Hermida, UBC Professor of Journalism, for highlighting Brody’s talk in his blog post Leonard Brody on thinking like an Entrepreneur.

Brody, BTW, is also the co-founder of NowPublic, which was recently acquired by the Clarity Digital Group which owns and operates


Innovation at Google

December 19, 2009 Leave a comment

So this weekend for me was, in part, devoted to exploring innovation at Google. I found several educational gems that I will reference in this post.

Innovation at Google – Alfred Spector

A very informative lecture given on Innovation at Google give by Alfred Spector, Vice President of Research and Special Initiatives at Google, in January 2009 at Berkeley’s Engineering School.

Spector talks about both the cultural aspects that promote innovation at Google, as well as some of the available infrastructure and approaches that enable Google to innovate as quickly and consistently as they do.

Innovation at Google – Jeff Dean and Amit Singhal

Here’s a video more focused on technical innovation at Google in which Alfred Spector interviews Google Fellows Jeff Dean and Amit Singhal – where they discuss the challenges Search Quality and Large-Scale Search Infrastructure considerations.

Innovation at Google – Hal Varian

Finally, focusing more on business innovation, a couple of very interesting talks from Google Chief Economist Hal Varian. The first is a podcast from McKinsey Quarterly in which Varian new models for innovation that the Web economy provides (more on this below).

The video of Varian’s second talk is provided below, this talk delivered in Brussels in June 2009:

This is a truly fascinating talk which echos Varian’s comments in the podcast above. Oh, BTW, here’s a link to the slide presentation of Varian’s talk.

The idea I find most compelling in Varian’s two talks is what Varian calls “combinatorial innovation”, the idea that a set of technologies can be combined and recombined to create new innovations. Varian provides examples of combinatorial innovation from previous innovation waves in history including:

  • 1800: Interchangable mechanical parts (for example, in gunmaking
  • 1900: Gasoline engine
  • 1960: Integrated circuits
  • 1995-now: Internet

Of course, Google is one of the key suppliers of the digital interchangeable parts on the web, in the form of its APIs, development platforms, and hosted operating environments.

I should also mention that one of Varion’s key roles at Google is broad oversight for Google’s Ad Auction algorithms. Please see the video below for an overview of how Google prices its search ads:

In Summary

Food for thought for anyone interested in the culture and conditions for supporting business innovation in today’s economy.