As the Beast from the East whips round where there’s smoke’s new office, we thought we would keep warm by pulling together our first Sparks & Kindling of 2018.
Olympiatoppen: which is Norwegian for dominating the Winter Olympics with a team half the size of Team USA
In innovation terms, we’ve always said you’ve got to find the way it best works for you, as one size most definitely does not fit all. The Norwegian Winter Olympians seem to have really cracked the golden formula for them and it’s a world away from the marginal gains mantra we’ve been used to hearing over the last few years. Preparing for the highest level of competition by playing cards and charades, not counting score until the kids are 13 and never measuring athletes’ weight might be counterintuitive for some but there are clearly some great learnings for organisations wanting to fight above their weight. And besides, who wouldn’t be motivated by cake as the spoils of success.
Some of the more technophile visionaries may cry in the time of big data and AI, what has being a human ever done for us? This article is a fast read on the four key benefits humans bring that our machine counterparts can’t. And it’s also a good primer for what we might be forgetting or missing out as we design for the innovations of the future.
We’ve been spending some time looking at the future of food production and we’re pleased to report that it’s not all going to be replicated via a 3D printer. Significant urban farming using every scrap of available spare space, was born of necessity in 60’s Cuba. However, the new urban farms that can be found in major cities of the world are very different affairs. Some of the numbers are incredible – a single shipping container can grow the annual equivalent of a 2-acre farm and uses significantly less water. This quick video, featuring Kimble Musk (Elon’s taller brother), demonstrates the application of innovative techniques to strip away everything that isn’t absolutely necessary to the growth of nutrient-rich food on your doorstep. Lots to learn and reapply here
For our longer read (although its actually not that long at all), it’s the subject that you just can’t escape from. This is a well-articulated explanation of how internet echo chambers are created and exploited (or commercialized if you are feeling charitable) and how, even if we can’t do anything to stop it we should at least be aware of what is being done with our online behavior. Surely time for us all to get our heads around these new form agora for more positive effect.
In an edition of Sparks & Kindling which features quite a few Minimum Viable Propositions (MVPs), you might be led to believe it's a relatively recent approach. So it’s easily and enjoyably worth 90 mins of your time to rent and watch how the Jet Propulsion Laboratory really nailed an MVP back in the 1970’s with the two Voyager probes that even now, 40+ years on, are exploring interstellar space (12 billion miles and counting). Again, loads to learn and reapply if you want your thinking to focus on the fundamental rather than the funky.
The Farthest is available to watch/rent/buy on Amazon and YouTube