Given a choice of being the disruptor or the disrupted, many would prefer to choose the former. But it’s not as easy as just flipping a switch and subsequently reaping the benefits of a forward-looking vision, new product categories, and forthcoming patents. Instead, an organisation has to proactively acquire this innovation and intellectual capital from somewhere.
From the perspective of 19th-century visitors to the United States, the country’s system of higher education was a joke. It wasn’t even a system, just a random assortment of institutions claiming to be colleges that were scattered around the countryside…But by the second half of the 20th century, it had assumed a dominant position in the world market in higher education. How did this remarkable transformation come about?
The Madras Observatory offers little to the visitor’s eye. Stone slabs and broken pillars lie ignored in a fenced-off section of a local weather centre in the southern Indian city of Chennai. Few tourists venture out to see the ruins of the 18th-century complex…Yet it is the Madras Observatory, and not the spectacular Jantar Mantars, that marks the triumphal fusion of scientific knowledge and imperial power.
In addition to all of your other identities—urban, rural, Christian, atheist, African-American, first-generation, introverted, immunocompromised, cyclist, gun owner, gardener, middle child, whatever panoply of nouns and adjectives and allegiances describes you—you are also this: a gnathostome.
If it’s personal productivity—how many sales you close or customer complaints you handle—then the research, on balance, suggests that it’s probably better to let people work where and when they want. For jobs that mainly require interactions with clients (consultant, insurance salesman) or don’t require much interaction at all (columnist), the office has little to offer besides interruption.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that the world is connected as never before. Once upon a time, it was believed that there were six degrees of separation between each individual and any other person on the planet (including Kevin Bacon). For Facebook users today, the average degree of separation is 3.57. But perhaps that is not entirely a good thing.
Dressed in muslin gowns, they sip Assam tea and nibble on cucumber sandwiches. A maid refills the silver teapot while her mistress and her guests discuss the merits of Lyme Regis over Bath. Outside in the garden, trees drip from a recent shower and birds hop on a damp lawn. It could be afternoon tea in Mansfield Park, the seat of the Bertram family in Jane Austen’s novel – except that the trees are banyans, the birds are Indian hoopoes and the maid wears a shalwar kameez. This is not Northamptonshire but Lahore.
The Tsimane People of the Amazon (pronounced chee-MAH-nay, roughly) hunt, farm, and forage. They don’t have a lot of technology. And if you talk to them about the colours they see in the world, they say some pretty interesting things…In the world of colour research, that’s unusual to the point of uniqueness. Across languages and cultures, people tend to break up “colorspace,” the universe of all the colours humans see, in roughly the same way—different words, sure, but for mostly the same colors
Why is it that some people seem to make constant progress in their professional and personal lives, while others appear to be doomed to repeat the same mistakes over and over? While the answer isn’t cut and dry, I’ve noticed an interesting mindset difference between these two groups: they approach obstacles and challenges very differently.
Glasshouses like Baccarat, Saint-Louis, Clichy, and Pantin revived ancient techniques such as flame working, filigree, and millefiori, “thousand flowers” wrought from brightly colored glass canes; they also perfected plant and animal motifs. These paperweights were useful, fashionable, relatively inexpensive, and cheery (a way to keep flowers on desks even in winter), and their manufacture spread through parts of Europe. Immigrant glassworkers brought the trend and their know-how to America. But by 1860, the bauble-bubble was cooling off.