Can Spaces and Serendipity Help Innovation? Something from David Radcliffe of Google

“You can’t schedule innovation, you can’t schedule idea generation.” — David Radcliffe, Google VP of Real Estate & Workplace Services in a CBS This Morning Interview (Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ANgEo40VSE)

The point Radcliffe was making involved Google’s innovative approach to designing collaboration and meeting spaces, on their corporate campuses. It’s a data driven approach but might strike some corporate traditionalists as fuzzy-headed, hippy-dippy, ‘woo-woo’ perhaps.

It most assuredly is not.

Being a massively data-driven company all of Google’s Real Estate design decisions, how its facilities are laid out, how space is apportioned, and so on is based on number crunching and active experimentation trying to get an answer to the question “How do we get our employees to be more productive?” In other words, innovation and idea generation have an unpredictable element to them, almost serendipity you could say. They require massive preparation of course, but they can’t be scheduled.

From the video I link to above, Google seems to be in the business of creating human working environments that allow its employees to produce the most amount of innovative ideas possible. A vast human idea laboratory, perhaps/

Designing workspaces that help facilitate creative innovation needs to take this into account. The video piece I link to above is interesting, and there are some take-home ideas any of us can apply to our own work, whatever it happens to be.

What can you do where you are to better foster your own idea generation and innovation, whether it’s your car, a subway seat, a desk at home, a spacious office, or a broom closet? We have to work with what we have, where we have, but what we do with it can go a long way.

The God Particle

The quest for the Higgs boson is a modern secular reflection of a more timeless esoteric theme.

The recently released news, that researchers at Chicago’s Fermilab Tevatron particle accelerator released inconclusive results from their recent efforts to the journal Physical Review Letters, actually inspires a sense of wonder in me.

The idea that as you slice matter down and look into the nature of physical manifest reality, the pith of the matter increasingly eludes you, more and more, almost suggests a mysterious cosmic veil dance, in a sense.

The Higgs boson “God particle” itself would be, in a sense, the true atom – by this I mean in the sense that the Ancient peripatetic philosophers conceived of the atom – the most fundamental component of material reality.

The more we peer into things the more they elude us, maddeningly so.

Watching Caprica with Baruti

I was over at Baruti’s place hanging out, talking about web back-linking and SEO, and checking out his new Computer Entertainment setup when he asked me if I’d ever seen Caprica. I never heard of it so he popped it in and we started watching it.

I really got into it, I didn’t realize the movie is essentially the pilot/first few episodes of the intended long run series, that was later canceled by the Sci-fi network. It was intended to be a prelude to Battlestar Galactica, 58 years in the past.

The first thing I found interesting was stylistic; the way that the storyline obviously takes place in a distant future but the “mood” of the colonial world, in the fictional universe of Caprica, resonates sympathetically with our own because of the characters dress, habits, surroundings, and so on.

The second thing I found interesting was the way the youth took and subverted technology in the movie. You had young students in the narrative taking adults and older generation’s virtual reality tech, and hacking it, rigging it, creating for themselves their own spaces, a surreal bacchanalia of virtual sex and violence, a perpetual peasants party complete with muggings and obligatory feme lesbian grope fests and blaring quasi-metallic background music noise. Continue reading

Sony Unveils Powerful Next Generation PSP

Written by Baruti M. Kamau for Cincy Forums and Affiliates

1/29/2011 – Recently in Tokyo, Sony unveiled the next generation of its PlayStation Portable (PSP). The new PSP features a five-inch OLED touchscreen on the front and a multi-touch pad on the back, cameras in front and back, a gyroscope, an accelerometer, GPS and an electronic compass, as well as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity. The next-generation hand-held portable console is expected to be released later this year but pricing is unknown. Code-named NGP, or Next Generation Portable, Sony says the NGP will match the power of its infamous PlayStation 3 console. In their January 27th press release Sony touts, “NGP adopts a new game medium, a small flash memory based card, dedicated for NGP software titles. Taking advantage of the flash memory feature, this innovative card can store the full software titles plus add-on game content or the game save data directly on to the card. By adopting flash memory based card, SCE will be able to provide game cards with higher capacity in the future, allowing developers to store more game data to deliver rich and immersive games.”

In this writer’s opinion, the five-inch OLED touchscreen is a significant improvement from the 3-inch LED screen of the PSP-3000 series. Also, the NGP features two thumbstick controllers which were requested by existing PSP gamers.

Sony Corporation (NYSE: SNE) manufactures, designs and distribute electronic equipment to consumer, professional and industrial markets. Based in Tokyo, Japan Sony’s common stock was last quoted at $34.78 per share on the New York Stock Exchange.

PlayStation Next Generation Portable
Sony's Next Generation Portable

About The Author
Baruti M. Kamau is an African American entrepreneur and citizen journalist. As a writer and publisher, Kamau is primarily known for publishing Barutiwa Newspaper from 1992 to 1999. Currently, Mr. Kamau is building a network of websites focusing on publishing and distributing user-generated content. As an entrepreneur, Kamau is the President and CEO of a development stage company that provides passenger and driver solutions to select urban markets in southern Ohio. Kamau can be reached @ http://www.barutiwa.com and http://www.cincyforums.com

Funny how the words we use reflect the realities we do not face.

Remember when you were a kid, and you did something really naughty, your teachers used to always threaten you with:

“Now that’s going on your permanent record !”

Now here, I am dating myself a bit. I have no idea if teachers still say this, but the generation of schoolmarms, god bless their hearts, who first lay a paddle on my rear end, before my parents yanked me into a catholic school, used to run around saying that all of the time.

They were, of course, somewhat correct. Each of us more or less has a permanent dossier, or rather a distributed meta-dossier. From primary school to secondary school, high school’s records to university, university to employee, to employee, tax agencies, health agencies, insurance agencies, private and public.

A web of data flowing back and forth, like ethereal arteries. Their lifeblood being the stuff our identities are composed of, in modern society.

But did it ever dawn on any of us to ask a fundamental question..

Why in the deuce do we even have a “permanent record” to begin with?

Just something to ask yourself now and them, now let’s return to basking the joys of a managerial society.

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