curiositycounts

We tend to rewrite the histories of technological innovation, making myths about a guy who had a great idea that changed the world. In reality, though, innovation isn’t the goal; it’s everything that gets you there. It’s bad financial decisions and blueprints for machines that weren’t built until decades later. It’s the important leaps forward that synthesize lots of ideas, and it’s the belly-up failures that teach us what not to do.

When we ignore how innovation actually works, we make it hard to see what’s happening right in front of us today. If you don’t know that the incandescent light was a failure before it was a success, it’s easy to write off some modern energy innovations — like solar panels — because they haven’t hit the big time fast enough.

Worse, the fairy-tale view of history implies that innovation has an end. It doesn’t. What we want and what we need keeps changing. The incandescent light was a 19th-century failure and a 20th- century success. Now it’s a failure again, edged out by new technologies, like LEDs, that were, themselves, failures for many years.

That’s what this issue is about: all the little failures, trivialities and not-quite-solved mysteries that make the successes possible. This is what innovation looks like. It’s messy, and it’s awesome.

Maggie Koerth-Baker, 32 Innovations That Will Change Your Tomorrow
June 1, 2012 New York Times (via curiositycounts)
poptech
poptech:

We are extremely excited to announce that today we’ve released talks from every person who took the PopTech stage last month. Check out a few highlights:
Captain Wayne Porter and Col. Mark Mykleby explain their grand – and surprising – strategy for the nation
Saman Arbabi and Kambiz Hosseini showcase their satirical television show, Parazit, the “Daily Show” of Iran
Dava Newman describes how she came up with a better space suit
Protester Shima’a Helmy joins filmmakers Micah Garen and Marie-Helene Carlton to discuss documenting the Egyptian revolution
Reggie Watts entertains with his smart-alec, wise-cracking music-making
For your viewing pleasure, all talks are now available online. And if you need a bigger, in-person fix, come join us in Iceland this summer at PopTech 2012 Reykjavik: Toward Resilience.

poptech:

We are extremely excited to announce that today we’ve released talks from every person who took the PopTech stage last month. Check out a few highlights:

For your viewing pleasure, all talks are now available online. And if you need a bigger, in-person fix, come join us in Iceland this summer at PopTech 2012 Reykjavik: Toward Resilience.