Surfing the Waves of Digital Innovations, Final Invitation
As we face one wave of innovation after another, there is no doubt that digital technologies are transforming the ways we live, work, and play. Yet, at any one point in time, a consumer or manager is likely to feel more or less inundated by the current wave, unsure of what all the commotion is about, unable to avoid the topic in every day conversation and suspicious that the latest gizmo is not the Next Big Thing but the Next Big Sell. On Monday, May 4, 2-3 pm, in Hornbake 2116, at the last meeting of the iSchool Innovation & Entrepreneurship Reading Group, we will take an inside tour of the “IT Innovation Wave Machine,” in which many invisible hands are busily at work, shaping the eventual success or failure of digital innovations. We will discuss how consumers and managers might strategically surf the innovation waves this machine produces. Light, healthy refreshments will be provided.
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Turning AI Upside Down, Invitation #13
In both scientific research and professional practice, the focus today seems to be on how to utilize state-of-the-art Big Data technologies to make sense of a rapidly exploding deluge of data and derive useful information from data. Even if this effort is successful, it cannot solve the “information overload” problem that we have been facing since even before data became “big.” In some cases, the increasing abundance of useful information may exacerbate information overload. Therefore, knowledge is still the most valuable asset and learning continues to be important to individuals and organizations.
Knowledge and learning are especially essential to innovation and entrepreneurship because new technologies, practices, and ideas require organizations and their people to learn new knowledge as they develop and deploy the innovations. On Monday, April 27, 2-3 pm, in Hornbake 2116, at the 13th meeting of the iSchool Innovation & Entrepreneurship Reading Group, we will discuss a classic case of how world-class Artificial Intelligence innovators in a large bureaucratic corporation utilized organizational structure, technology at hand, and political wisdom to foster learning and share new knowledge, in order to implement change and innovation. With their grass-root, bottom-up philosophy, these innovators “stood the AI approach on its head, so to speak.” Light, healthy refreshments will be provided.
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Beating the Curse of Knowledge, Invitation #12
In 1990, Elizabeth Newton, then a psychology PhD student at Stanford, asked each participant of her dissertation research to pick a well-known song (such as “Happy Birthday to You” and “The Star-Spangled Banner”) and tap out the rhythm to a listener by knocking on a table. The listener’s job was to guess the song, based on the rhythm being tapped. Newton asked the “tappers” to predict the odds that the listeners would guess correctly. They predicted that the odds were 50 percent. However, over the course of Newton’s experiment, listeners guessed only 2.5 percent of the songs correctly. Why? The tune was in the tapper’s head, but she cannot sing it out aloud. Hence the listener can’t hear that tune, except a bunch of disconnected taps.
This is the Curse of Knowledge: Once we know something, we find it hard to imagine what it was like not to know it. This is the challenge almost everyone faces on a daily basis: professors teaching students, job seekers impressing employers, administrators helping students and faculty, designers interacting with users, scholars proposing new research projects to NSF/NIH program directors, fundraisers cultivating donors, marketers persuading customers, and innovators and entrepreneurs effecting changes in organizations.
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