There are many things in this world that are simultaneously intimidating and fascinating and Google [x] is undoubtedly one of them. Who would turn down the chance to be a fly on the wall on the Google campus? Jon Gertner from Fast Company has written The Truth About Google X: An Exclusive Look Behind The Secretive Lab’s Closed Doors and it is well worth a look. The scope of the article is broad, covering the history of Google [x], the location and the role of failure. His interview with Rich DeVaul, in particular, is eye-opening.
As inspiring as Google [x]’s latest products are, an underlying fear that is often inescapable is that of ownership. While large corporations offer priceless training and experience, the question of ownership in relation to inventions and ideas is an important one. Orly Lobel from the New York Times discusses this in her article, My Ideas, My Boss’s Property. In an environment of innovation, intellectual property is of the utmost importance and yet we are increasingly being asked to sign away the rights to it. Lobel’s article is one that is sure to resonate with many.
On a similar note, Rhodri Marsden from The Guardian has written The big steal: rise of the plagiarist in the digital age. While the internet does offer a wealth of information, it is also riddled with rewrites and plagiarised work with little to no appreciation or even acknowledgement of the original creator. Marsden’s article offers a thorough insight into this issue and asks the question, why steal when it is so easy to come up with unique content and ideas?
Watching or listening to any form of artistic improvisation, be it jazz music, acting or rapping, we are often struck by how easy it all seems. Katrina Schwartz’s article, Creativity and the Brain: What We Can Learn From Jazz Musicians discusses how this talent for improvisation can, in fact, be cultivated. She investigates the research of Charles Limb, associate professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at John’s Hopkins University and jazz musician. After monitoring the brain of a jazz musician while improvising during the MRI scan, he noticed a switch in the brain:
“Musicians were turning off the self-censoring in the brain so they could generate novel ideas without restrictions.”
Schwartz’s article also includes a recorded interview with Limb, letting you hear his insights on the creativity and jazz link in his own words.
Some more things we enjoyed reading recently:
An insight into a chief innovation officer’s methods
Geoffrey Moore speaks on being an innovation leader
8 questions that inspire direction and motivation
A look into the biases of pop psychology
Defeating Robotophobia in modern minds
A crude, but perhaps accurate way of visualising hierarchy
Why UPS trucks rarely turn left