Monday, July 16, 2012

The Future of Communications and Innovative Management

Every week, we publish an exciting summary of the best articles, videos, events, and posts that relate to innovative management. This week, check out these summaries of 8 GREAT articles that inspire better management. Enjoy!

What’s the Future of Communications? Let’s Ask the Experts

Communication plays a role in all information exchanged between living species. Technically speaking, even plants and fungi communicate with each other.
What sets us humans apart is the speed at which our means of communication develops and innovates. Technology has been helping us to communicate easier, faster and more often. We’re now at a point where we’re “always on” and panic sets in when we temporarily lose the ability to communicate – for example when we lose the data connection our mobile phone.

Richard Florida's creative class, 10 years later

The creative class makes up about one-third of the U.S. workforce. It suffered about half the unemployment rate as the general population during the recession. The most common word on the profiles of the business social-networking site LinkedIn is "creative."

Ten years ago, an obscure professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh wrote a book called "The Rise of the Creative Class."

Although Richard Florida's theory was criticized, misunderstood and provoked more than a little academic jealousy, he forever shifted the lens through which we see the tectonic shifts in our economy and society.

Having a ball: The anthropology of play

As a Harvard-educated anthropologist, John Fox often wonders about stuff the rest of us just take for granted...Which is why one day, when he was playing ball with his son Aidan, he had a moment that he couldn't shake. "He stopped and kind of looked funny, and he said, 'Hey Dad, why do we play ball anyway?'" Fox recalls his son asking. "It was one of those questions where I could have said, 'Hey, you know, go ask your mother.'"
But instead, he chose to write a book.
"The Ball" (HarperCollins) was his 300-page answer to his son's question - what he calls the most kinetically interesting object on the planet.
"In its simplicity, the ball is just profoundly good for us, I think, as humans," Fox said. "There's a reason why it's universal."

The ball is the stuff dreams are made of - before we even know what dreams are.

Play as Competitive Advantage *

Our always-on culture places a premium on productivity; we spare less and less time for pursuits that don’t have specific goals attached. The paradox is that to compete successfully, we need to embrace play. So increasingly, adults will seek to balance out their busy lives with more unstructured time.
This report looks at the varied benefits of play and outlines the impediments to play in our always-on culture. We spotlight how companies are injecting the idea of play into their business models, how marketers are promoting adult play in their messaging, and how people feel about the role of play in their lives.
“Play As a Competitive Advantage” is the result of research conducted by JWTIntelligence throughout the year. Specifically for this report, we surveyed 503 Americans and 503 Britons aged 18-plus using SONAR™, JWT’s proprietary online tool. We also interviewed experts and influencers about the importance of play.

DARPA Seeks 'Radical Innovation' in Data Analysis

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is interested in novel ways to identify people, places, objects, and activities in visual and geospatial images. DARPA is seeking participants for a project called the Innovation House Study, which will have research teams work in a "short-fuse, crucible-style environment." Teams will be given access to unclassified data, including aerial and ground-level video, high-resolution light detection and ranging of urban and mountainous terrain, and unstructured amateur photos and video, in addition to public data from open source and commercial repositories, the Web, and mobile phones. DARPA is emphasizing collaboration among participants, and teams also will have access to experts from academia and defense and intelligence agencies. George Mason University will host the project, and teams will design and demonstrate proof-of-concept software capabilities during the first four-week session in September. Teams that advance will develop functional software in the second four-week session in November. DARPA will announce the selected teams in August. "If this model proves to be as successful as we believe it could be, it represents a new means for participating in government-sponsored research projects," says DARPA's Michael Geertsen.

Compassion Made Easy

Empirically speaking, does the experience of compassion toward one person measurably affect our actions and attitudes toward other people? If so, are there practical steps we can take to further cultivate this feeling? Recently, my colleagues and I conducted experiments that answered yes to both questions.

Internet2 Readies 100G OpenFlow SDN for Big Data

Internet2 has nearly completed its OpenFlow-enabled 100G Ethernet software-defined network (SDN) for testing service delivery of applications for Big Data compilation and research. The 100G Ethernet OpenFlow-enabled routers will allow for programmatic control of the Innovation Platform from an open source controller to facilitate scale and intelligent service delivery, according to Internet2. The Innovation Platform is designed to advance education, university business, and global Big Data collaborative research outcomes, which should lead to new research initiatives and new cycles of global economic development, according to Internet2. "The Internet2 community sees software-defined networking as much of the same transformative opportunity that we saw with the original Internet," says Internet2's Rob Vietzke. "We're making a fairly big investment in building this new nationwide SDN environment as a platform for software development." He says the Innovation Platform will enable member institutions to keep up with the exponential growth of Big Data generated by scientific research from U.S. labs and universities.

Toward Achieving 1 Million Times Increase in Computing Efficiency

Complementary metal-oxide semiconductors (CMOS) give off more heat as more transistors are added, which makes CMOS incapable of supporting tomorrow's high-powered computer systems. Northwestern University researchers say they have developed a new logic circuit family based on magnetic semiconductor devices that could result in logic circuits up to one million times more power-efficient than CMOS-based systems. Northwestern's "spin-logic circuits" utilize the quantum physics phenomenon of spin, a fundamental property of the electron. "We are using 'spintronic' logic devices to successfully perform the same operations as conventional CMOS circuits but with fewer devices and more computing power," says Northwestern professor Bruce W. Wessels. The spin-logic circuits are created using magnetoresistive bipolar spin-transistors. Although the goal of one million times increased power efficiency is optimistic and could take up to 10 years to reach, "we think this is potentially groundbreaking," says Northwestern's Joseph Friedman.