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jerryking : inventiveness   7

Lost Einsteins: The Innovations We’re Missing -
DEC. 3, 2017 | The New York Times | David Leonhardt.

societies have a big interest in making sure that as many people as possible have the opportunity to become scientists, inventors and entrepreneurs. It’s not only a matter of fairness. Denying opportunities to talented people can end up hurting everyone.

.....Raj Chetty....is a Stanford professor who helps lead the Equality of Opportunity Project.... considered among the most important research efforts in economics today.....The project’s latest paper, out Sunday, looks at who becomes an inventor — and who doesn’t. The results are disturbing....The key phrase in the research paper is “lost Einsteins.” It’s a reference to people who could “have had highly impactful innovations” if they had been able to pursue the opportunities they deserved.....children who excelled in math were far more likely to become inventors. But being a math standout wasn’t enough. Only the top students who also came from high-income families had a decent chance to become an inventor.

This fact may be the starkest: Low-income students who are among the very best math students — those who score in the top 5 percent of all third graders — are no more likely to become inventors than below-average math students from affluent families:

....“There are great differences in innovation rates,” Chetty said. “Those differences don’t seem to be due to innate ability to innovate.” Or as Steve Case — the entrepreneur who’s now investing in regions that venture capital tends to ignore — told me when I called him to discuss the findings: “Creativity is broadly distributed. Opportunity is not.” [or life’s basic truth: Talent is universal, but opportunity is not.]
innovation  equality_of_opportunity  Steve_Case  Albert_Einstein  achievement_gaps  affluence  high-income  low-income  mathematics  capitalization  human_potential  inventions  inventiveness  inventors  creativity  quotes  unevenly_distributed 
december 2017 by jerryking
The damaging legacy of discovery learning - The Globe and Mail
Konrad Yakabuski

The Globe and Mail

Published Thursday, Dec. 05 2013

The 2012 math rankings from the Programme for International Student Assessment, in which Canada slipped to 13th place, are based on average test scores..... it’s important to distinguish between what Canada’s notable drop in international student rankings can and can’t tell us about how our kids our doing.

First, some context: The two most damaging developments to hit public education have been the power of teaching fads and the proliferation of standardized testing. Fads are dangerous because they are often based on shaky hypotheses about how children learn, and are blindly embraced by impressionable teachers keen to make a difference but lacking in the experience and training needed to transmit knowledge or the talent to light the spark in their students.

Standardized testing is not bad in itself. But education policy has become hostage to testing data. The result is a disproportionate focus on raising the average scores of students from disadvantaged backgrounds and less emphasis on producing top students, regardless of income....As education historian and influential U.S. testing critic Diane Ravitch blogged after the latest PISA results were released, “what we cannot measure matters more. The scores tell us nothing about students’ imagination, their drive, their ability to ask good questions, their insight, their inventiveness, their creativity.”....[ Albert Einstein once said, “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” Although many market research experts would say that quantitative research is the safest bet when one has limited resources, it can be dangerous to assume that it is always the best option.]. The decade-long drop in math scores among students outside Quebec corresponds with the spread of “discovery learning” in the classroom. The idea that students must be free to solve problems based on their unique learning styles popped up in the education literature in late 1960s and went mainstream in the 1990s. But there was a huge revolt when U.S. parents discovered Johnny couldn’t multiply; the pendulum has since swung back to teaching the basics.

Yet most English-Canadian school boards embraced some version of discovery learning even after it was being questioned south of the border. It fit with the “equity” mantra that permeated the jargon of education bureaucrats and ministers. “Reaching every student” became the theme of education policies aimed at bringing up the bottom with “student-centred learning.”
Konrad_Yakabuski  education  high_schools  rankings  PISA  STEM  mathematics  test-score_data  standardized_testing  metrics  students  imagination  drive  questions  insights  inventiveness  creativity  discoveries 
december 2013 by jerryking
America the Innovative? - NYTimes.com
March 30, 2013 | NYT | By EAMONN FINGLETON.

How do we explain America’s sudden mid-20th-century ascent to technological glory? The credit goes not to freedom but to something more prosaic: money. With World War II, the United States government joined corporations in ramping up spending on R&D, and then came the cold war and the Soviets’ launch of Sputnik in 1957, which gave further impetus to government-funded research. One result was Darpa, which helped develop the Internet.

Throughout history, rich nations have gotten to the future first. Their companies can afford to equip their tinkerers and visionaries with the most advanced materials, instruments and knowledge.

This raises an epochal question: as China becomes richer, is it destined to pass the United States as the world’s most inventive nation? The question is all the more pertinent because many experts contend that America’s inventive spirit is already flagging. As the Silicon Valley venture capitalist Peter Thiel put it to me in an interview, American innovation in recent decades has been remarkably narrowly based. “It has been confined largely to information technology and financial services,” he said. “By contrast in transportation, for instance, we are hardly more advanced today than we were 40 years ago. The story is similar in treating cancer.”
China  U.S.  competitiveness_of_nations  innovation  creativity  China_rising  patents  DARPA  Cold_War  America_in_Decline?  post-WWII  Peter_Thiel  inventiveness  visionaries  abundance  state-as-facilitator  tinkerers 
april 2013 by jerryking
Deja Vu - WSJ.com
May 21, 2007 | WSJ | Cynthia Crossen

The toughest part of inventing isn't solving problems. It's figuring out which problems are worth the effort...If you made a list of the 2,100 inventions you thought were needed, you would also be painting a profile of yourself. "Invention is really a systematic form of criticism," Mr. Yates wrote, and people tend to criticize the things that annoy them in their daily lives. Mr. Yates, for example, seems to have found most commonplace devices excessively noisy....While Mr. Yates recorded most of his 2,100 inventions in no particular order, he did make a top-10 list that proves he wasn't a trivial thinker. His top-three needed inventions all concerned energy -- a way to transform energy into power with less waste, a more efficient way to store energy and better light bulbs.

Mr. Yates, a self-taught engineer, inventor and technical writer, tried to nudge other inventors in the right direction with his book, "2100 Needed Inventions." Published by Wilfred Funk Inc., Mr. Yates's book was a list of ways people could alleviate certain nuisances and defects of life and get rich for their trouble. "We often see clever and simple devices for sale which cause us to chastise ourselves with some such remark as, 'Why I could have thought of that years ago and made a lot of money with it!' Certainly you could have -- but you didn't."
critical_thinking  criticism  discernment  frictions  inventions  inventiveness  inventors  negative_space  pain_points  personal_enrichment  problem_solving  systematic_approaches  unarticulated_desires  worthiness  worthwhile_problems 
june 2012 by jerryking
Don't just co-operate on innovation: collaborate too
March 14th, 2012 | Globe & Mail | Editorials.

A Public Policy Forum report makes a persuasive case that Canada's comparative weakness in innovation and productivity growth is not so much a matter of any supposed lack of inventiveness, or of deficient economic policies, as of a characteristically Canadian difficulty in making contacts and establishing practical collaborations among innovators and investors.....there is a need to identify ways and means by which "angel" investors, venture capitalists and mentors, on the one hand, and researchers and inventors, on the other, find each other.......a recurrent theme of this report is the fairly inexpensive creation of "incubators" and other physical spaces and contexts – "soft infrastructure" – in which such relationships can be hatched. All concerned should encourage networking.....although competitiveness in the global marketplace matters more than geography, the distinctly geographical fact of regional clusters is central to the report – Waterloo, Ont., is the best-known Canadian example....Canadians need to learn how to accept failure and to try again – as inventors must do........Lynch spoke about being co-operative – in other words, accommodating – but Canadians are often lacking when it comes to being collaborative described as the creation of "real working arrangements to share risk, obligation and reward."

In effect, this report takes E.M. Forster's phrase in his novel Howard's End, "Only connect," and adds, "Actually work together, too."
angels  clusters  editorials  collaboration  incubators  innovation  inventiveness  investors  Kevin_Lynch  Kitchener-Waterloo  productivity  vc 
april 2012 by jerryking
Wanted: a new approach to inventiveness
Jul 27, 2010 | FT | Ranjay Gulati.

The economic crisis has forced many companies to rethink their innovation strategy. On the one hand, they have maturing products that can only be enhanced incrementally. At the same time, their customers have both more information on which to base buying decisions and less money to spend. ......the marketplace is tough, with some companies facing plummeting returns on their research and development spending.

There is, apparently, a dilemma: squeeze the R&D budget or bet the company’s future on finding the next market-disrupting “big” product.

Both approaches are wrong.

Redefining innovation
entails breaking out of engineer-led obsessions with the technical
product details and thinking closely about the customer experience: not
just how well the product functions but also ancillary enhancements that
improve that experience, including packaging, delivery, post-sale
service or mktg. Examples: (1) Packaging vegetables in a single bag
requires limited technical innovation but solves an everyday problem for
busy people who want their families to eat healthy food. Bagged salads
have become a $ billion industry. (2) Similarly, Target, the retailer,
broke no new high-tech ground when it offered its own-brand crisps in
resealable bags - the idea is decades-old but Target successfully
addressed a nagging problem (keeping crisps fresh). Redefining
innovation requires involving more voices in the innovation process,
including fns. such as customer svce., mktg. and sales, that may have
played a limited role in the past.
customer_experience  economic_downturn  HBR  innovation  inventiveness  marketing  problem_solving  sales  Target  UX  vegetables 
september 2010 by jerryking

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