Another new business magazine grounded deeply in the economy of ideas has launched. Innovation@Work is actually a monthly audio magazine and it purports to focuses on coaching executives in the art and science of dynamic, successful innovation. You can sample their first issue in audio here or receive a PDF by signing up for their book summaries. The lead interview with John Seely Brown, former Chief Scientist at the legendary Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), is very good. Here’s a taste of what he had to say:
There tends to be fairly massive denial that markets can change, customer requirements can radically change, and the technologies that provided a winning strategy five years ago may no longer be the things that the market really wants. Often your own success keeps you from wanting to see that the market may be turning. The more successful you have been, the less likely you are to be able to see fundamentally new patterns or want to see fundamentally new patterns.
The more successful you have been, the less likely you are to be able to see fundamentally new patterns or wantto see fundamentally new patterns.
[To] me the key was to create a context where we had multiple disciplines, always rubbing shoulders with each other to create a huge amount of physical space that was really dedicated to serendipitous types of conversations. We had white boards from wall to ceiling — I mean, wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling — and often situatedaround coffee pots. People would gather and then conversations would start. Those conversations would migrate from casual conversations to these beautiful white boards and then other people would walk by and join in. They could join in effectively because the context of the conversation now had been laid out on the white board so you could move relatively effortlessly from the periphery of a conversation to the center and back out again. And so you think a lot about the structuring of the physical space to facilitate social interactions. wantto see fundamentally new patterns.”