Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Emerging Crises

I recently read Serhii Plokhy’s Atoms & Ashes (Norton, 2022), a chronicle of six nuclear disasters over several decades in America, England, Japan, and Russia, three in the military and three in electric utilities.  In all six cases, the consequences of the disaster were much worse than expected and governments did their best to cover […]

Standards

I recently read Dennis Duncan’s Index, A History of the: A Bookish Adventure from Medieval Manuscripts to the Digital Age (Norton, 2022).  He provides a wonderful chronicle of the emergence of various common elements of books, and a glimpse into the notion of standards. Manuscripts were originally written in scrolls, so just one very long […]

Four Books I Highly Recommend

The time that I can devote to reading has soared over the past two years.  I spend much less time getting to and from meetings – typically zero.  Here are my four favorite books of the past two months.  I highly recommend them. Top of the list is Andy Norman’s Mental Immunity: Infectious Ideas, Mind-Parasites, […]

The Many Cultures of Academia

Recent experiences have caused me to think about contrasts among science, technology, business and policy programs in academia.  I have intensely interacted with these programs at over 50 universities in North and South America, Africa, Asia, Australia, and Europe.  My sense is that academia is an amalgam of many intellectual cultures, which do not dovetail […]

Innovation in Technology & Art

My intellectual path for well over five decades has been dominated by science and technology, influenced along the way by behavioral and social sciences, and more recently economics, politics and history.  Thus, I have become increasingly interdisciplinary.  However, the epistemological threads have all been dominated by the idea of evidence-based reasoning. What about the musical […]

The Allure of Classic Cars

The Life of the Automobile by Steven Parissenien (2014, Thomas Dunne Books) presents a panorama of automotive invention and innovation over the past 150 years.  There have been many hits, for example, Ford’s Model T, Mustang and Taurus; GM’s ’55 Chevy, GTO, and Escalade; VW’s Beetle and Golf, and Citroen’s 2CV and DS.  The number […]

When We Misunderstand the Signals

I have been involved in a variety of engagements with automotive companies over the past three decades.  These companies’ abilities to understand marketplace desires 3-4 years in advance is a key element of success.  There are several compelling examples of getting this right and numerous instances of getting it wrong. Beyond uncertainties about customers’ future […]

When the Unpopular Position Is Correct

Most organizations and people like to think that everything is under control, proceeding as planned, and the sought outcomes will be realized.  If anyone suggests otherwise, they will be chastised for not being team players, perhaps for having bad attitudes, or quite simply for being outright wrong.  Unpopular positions are seldom socially acceptable in organizations. […]

When Abilities to Execute Are Secondary

It’s a great idea, but can we do it?  Can we make it happen?  We are going to boil the oceans and then provide everybody gourmet seafood dinners.  Ok for those who eat seafood, but how is this going to be accomplished?  Making the elements of a solution happen – executing — tends to be […]

When the Competition Surprises You

Consider two surprises for General Motors (GM) and how they reacted, initially poorly but later quite successively.  Both illustrations involved Ford surprising GM. The first led to a major failure and the second to a substantial success.  Indeed, failures to achieve corporate objectives are quite common in the automobile industry.  Not every vehicle is a […]

When the Organization Is in the Way

There are times when organizations are performing excellently but, despite their confidence, their futures are not bright.  Kodak and Polaroid dominated the film and instant photography industries, respectively.  My mother inherited a quantity of Kodak stock in the 1930s.  It provided generous returns for several decades.  People would always seek “Kodak moments” and needed a […]

N-Factor Authentication

2-factor authentication provides an extra layer of security to your account to prevent someone from logging in, even if they have your password. This extra security measure requires you to verify your identity using a randomized multi-digit code that your service provider texts to you each time that you attempt to log in.  Alternatively, they […]

Who Pays Taxes

I am in the middle of reading Rebellion, Rascals and Revenue: Tax Follies and Wisdom Through the Ages (Princeton University Press, 2021) by Michael Keen and Joel Slemrod.  This delightful volume provides an entertaining history of taxation, which they define as “the extraction of resources by coercive rulers.”  This got me thinking about taxation in […]

How to Get Ahead

Let’s say technology innovations relevant to your enterprise happen every N years.  Further, it takes you M years to decide to adopt an innovation and once adopted the innovation is sustained for L years.  To remain at the forefront, you need at most M = 1 and L = 1.  That way, you will always […]