All around the world, drawing comparisons with Silicon Valley is an activity that probably occurs millions of times on a daily basis.
Recently, I was asked to answer a question of the same/similar nature on Quora: link
Different versions of these questions gets asked frequently, such as:
Next, we have startup competitions, innovation rankings, global startup rankings. Clearly the movement has gone global and it's all good!
Indeed, it does seem like, Silicon Valley has set a gold standard and everyone is trying to follow it.
Image source: Gold standard page for Wikipedia. link
But very few understand the history, the enablement of and the values that power Silicon Valley. I too, am a learner in this category.
Source: Secret History of Silicon Valley by Steve Blank
Coming back to innovation and Silicon Valley, the most incredible ability is for the valley to be able to foresee the future and help enable it. And how it re-invents itself in the process of doing so.
And the world, generally and largely follows.
Being able to ascertain what drives growth in a real sense, is, I think, one of the differentiating factor for how more innovation can be had. Sometime that I have started referring to as true innovation.
The need for innovation is clear. But different ecosystems define the need differently. And I categorize this as a spectrum.
I think I may come back and expand upon this phenomenon and how I see this spectrum in my mind. Considering that so much of research is locked up today and it's just bad design. When there is the possibility of unleashing innovation on a global basis and turn the human condition to something that will look like eden.
Clearly, 'software has been eating up for the world' for quite some time now.
But, outside or in parallel with the world of software, there are many other and major developments that are also going mainstream. Indeed, there are many many opportunities beyond the world of bits or developments that will emerge from constructs of the future. Opportunities that we need to unleash and put into action on a global basis.
So I think, it would be wise for eco-systems all around the world, for them to:
Must freedom always come at the expense of something else?
If freedom continually comes at the expense of something else, then what is the net regressive impact on the system down the line?
Throughout the course of history, humans have tried many different variations, as in forms of governance. And there really is no ideal system of governance. Perhaps, it is a kind of system that has seen very little innovation in thousands of years.
Here my sense is, that, that which is important is sometimes forgotten and often overlooked.
It is also my sense that, collectively, we as a species focus too much on security and not enough on innovation.
What I am about to suggest, does not entail that we must now sacrifice security and defense, so that more innovation can be had. I am not asking for sacrificing objectivity.
But, we must think deeply and objectively about:
There really is no such thing as absolute security. In the words of a previous American president, Dwight D. Eisenhower:
"If you want total security, go to prison. There you're fed, clothed, given medical care and so on. The only thing lacking... is freedom."
"We will bankrupt ourselves in the vain search for absolute security."
I think, we, as a species are making the grave mistake of thinking/believing and acting upon the notion that our collective existence begins and ends at being able to sustain civilization.
I think, that a core focus on security is coming at the expense of enabling the future. As this phenomenon continues, we will always think of security first and everything second. This will place severe limits on our growth prospects.
Growth cannot be had without innovation. And so if we are to safeguard our collective future, then we need to focus that much more on mechanisms by which more innovation can be had.
Source for image above: Research done by Geoffrey West link
If you have absolute security, then it is not something tangible that you can do with. If on the other end, you do not have any security, then you also cannot do anything.
But security is supposed to power a medium whereby all can come and play.
The need is to have more of our efforts, many more of our systems architected in such a way, so that more innovation can be had.
The need is pretty clear for many reasons.
Right now and according to some estimates:
So imagine the possibilities, the opportunities that lay hidden in the collection of and merger of different research in the 99% category.
I've been working on a blogpost, that is going to be a bit more detailed. In this blogpost, I will be focusing on the need for what I refer to as 'true innovation' and the pivotal role eco-systems will increasingly play (working as platforms). If anyone is interested, then I plan to post this blogpost by the mid of December 2015.
Lately, I've been thinking about screens. And I've always had an appreciation for arts. So then, I've been thinking about a merger between the two.
Something that you'd like to focus on. Something that would pull you in, in a serendipitous way.
Something that makes art more accessible to more individuals.
Something simple. Yet elegant.
In the realm of the Human Computer Interaction and when it comes to history of the Graphical User Interfaces (GUI). It appears that the work done at MIT's Lincoln Labs during the early 60's link eventually evolved into a cohesive user experience, as was demonstrated link by Douglas Engelbart and his team in 1968.
That's not to say that there was a direct connection between MIT and Engelbart.
However, we should be thankful that Engelbart did not listen to the voices that kept telling him that his ideas were crazy and bordering on science-fiction. That he continued and pursued his vision.
Now, I am sure that there is much more when it comes to the history and the evolution of the graphical user interface and the series of inventions that were to be had. Inventions and designs that would change how humans would interact with the machines.
Now, I am a child of the 80's and I've had the opportunity to witness, first-hand, the evolution of the various personal computing devices since then.
When it comes to personal computing, we are largely stuck with the designs of the 60's.
Now, at some point during the mid 90's, I recall going through a printed version of the Time Magazine. In one specific issue, there was an advertisement for IBM. The title on the page (advertisement) was 'Computing at the Speed of Thought'.
Since this was a while back and from what I can recall, the advertisement was supposed to showcase the power of the IBM workstations or the number of computations they could render during a finite amount of time. The advertisement simply showcased a businessman using their workstation. The message that IBM was trying to project was, that by using their workstation, users would have the ability to render applications that much more faster.
Throughout the times, more computational power has been equated with faster computing. And thanks to Moore's law and the general (healthy) rate of innovation in the computing industry, faster computing is what we got.
Personally speaking, I can still recall the day when I would have clicked on an icon on Windows 3.1x and I'd then have to wait then next 10 seconds for the application to load. We've come a long way since then.
However, even in this day and age of faster computing, the human interaction piece of the design is overlooked. Again, we continue borrowing the designs and they have existed during the 60's and we continue building upon them.
Define the problem:
Now, I hear that Moore's law is slowing down and that leads the door open to a reality, whereby we may make a switch towards another form of computing. Perhaps a form of computing that isn't inherently reliant on silicon based transistors or something else. But that's not the topic of discussion here.
What has been happening though is that we've just been taking this squeezing of the transistors and what it translates into, for granted and there have been very few innovations in the realm of human computer interaction with a core focus on the graphical user interface.
And that is the problem that I've been thinking about.
My overall suspicion is that the advancements in Moore's law has masked a gulf. That, a gulf exists between a human and the (computer) input systems.
This is a deep, design problem and a lot of opportunities can be had in this space. That we have a variety of input devices, but not much has changed in terms of how the interactions occur.
The solution entails that we re-frame the problem and put the advances as they have been made in the realm of better and faster computing and leverage this phenomenon in order to power newer mediums and enable newer ways for humans to interact with machines.
From the perspective of everyday computing, I believe that the 'interaction' piece has to be re-thought and re-designed, so as to overcome this gulf that I have defined above.
In my mind, I can almost visualize a very seamless and fluid user experience.
Something, that is beyond Oculus and Leap motion.
One of the things that libraries should start doing is to start lending out things. Physical objects of all types.
Lending physical objects can offer a lot of benefits:
Just one of the many ways libraries can reinvent themselves. In fact this phenomenon that I have shared has already started. link