Interesting elsewhere – 9 July 2013

Things which caught my eye elsewhere on the web

    Google logic: why Google does the things it does the way it does | Technology | guardian.co.uk
    This evolutionary approach, and the Agile design processes that support it, is built into the fibre and psyche of web companies. They don't think in terms of long-term detailed plans; they think in terms of stimulus and response.

    This is a dramatic change in the history of business. In the past, the nimble companies were always the little ones. The larger your company, the more it valued planning and the long-term view. Google is one of the first very large tech companies ever to pride itself on rapid response rather than rigid planning.

    When Google was that new thing with the funny name — Scott Rosenberg’s Wordyard
    It’s a universal insight that never stops being applicable: there’s an endless amount of room to improve, everywhere. There are no solved problems; as people’s needs change and their expectations evolve, problems keep unsolving themselves.
    This is the context in which all the best work in the technology universe gets done.

    Valves and Values: Another Story of Technological Transition | Spooky & the Metronome
    The transition to the valved horn was thus not a matter of the inferior giving way to the superior, but of certain values – and certain people – winning out over others. The winners in this transition included those who patented valve technologies. The obvious losers were valveless-horn players, whose skills and knowledge were rendered increasingly irrelevant. Though many nineteenth-century commentators maintained that both valved and valveless horns were valuable and necessary, each for their purpose, by the twentieth century valveless horn-players were wanted neither for performance nor teaching positions.

    World of Ends
    1. The Internet isn't complicated
    2. The Internet isn't a thing. It's an agreement.
    3. The Internet is stupid.
    4. Adding value to the Internet lowers its value.
    5. All the Internet's value grows on its edges.
    6. Money moves to the suburbs.
    7. The end of the world? Nah, the world of ends.
    8. The Internet's three virtues:
    a. No one owns it
    b. Everyone can use it
    c. Anyone can improve it
    9. If the Internet is so simple, why have so many been so boneheaded about it?
    10. Some mistakes we can stop making already

    John Kay – Enduring lessons from the legend of Rothschild’s carrier pigeon
    We devote more resources to training carrier pigeons and building fibreoptic links than to understanding military and business strategy, more brainpower to devising trading algorithms than to the analysis of competitive advantage. A damn rum thing, Wellington might have said.

    Wicked problems and the redesign of government « Innovation @ ITU
    We’re now at an activity level with enough early-mover experience to begin a trans-national debate about how governments might better leverage the intersection of design, innovation and services. And that will be particularly important as they attempt to address systemic innovation and ‘Wicked Problems’ (the term ‘wicked’ here is not used in the sense of evil but rather a description of problems that are typically complex, systemic and highly resistant to resolution).

    FailureFest – Nesta
    Of course it's not enough to say we should celebrate failure. No organisation or system can do that. Instead there is an unavoidable ambiguity in the relationship between innovation and failure. On the one hand if you're not failing often, you're probably not taking enough creative risks. On the other hand, if you fail too much don't expect to keep your job, or your funding.

    Rutterances – Jill Rutter
    If you don’t understand the key elements that drive a result, successful replication will be impossible. What looks like the “same” policy will turn out to have very different results if you misunderstood what bits of sameness mattered.