OUP Offers Free Download of Chap. 9: “Innovation Bound or Unbound by Culture and Institutions”

Oxford University Press (OUP) has created a list of 6 books they recommend on business innovation. If you follow the link below, you can download a free PDF of Chapter 9 (“Innovation Bound or Unbound by Culture and Institutions”) of my Openness to Creative Destruction: Sustaining Innovative Dynamism. Alas, I think the free download is only available through February 29, 2020. (Chapter 9 is not my favorite chapter, but free is free;)

My book is:

Diamond, Arthur M., Jr. Openness to Creative Destruction: Sustaining Innovative Dynamism. New York: Oxford University Press, 2019.

Expert Says A.I. More Likely to Complement Than Replace White-Collar Workers

(p. B3) . . . , it makes sense that A.I. — which is about planning, perceiving and so on — would hit white-collar roles.

Still, workers needn’t panic. Carl Benedikt Frey, an economist at Oxford University who specializes in technology and employment, said A.I. was “more likely to complement people in those jobs rather than replacing them.” And Mr. Muro points out that “these workers are frequently the ones that companies have already invested in” and are likely to have been consulted about their futures.

For the full story, see:

Jamie Condliffe. “White-Collar Jobs Aren’t Safe Either.” The New York Times (Monday, November 25, 2019): B3.

(Note: ellipsis added.)

(Note: the online version of the story was updated Nov. 22, 2019, and has the title “The Week in Tech: A.I.’s Threat to White-Collar Jobs.”)

For Sophisticated Tasks, Robots Cost Much More Than Humans

(p. A6) . . . , however hospitable Japanese businesses have been to robots, they have learned that robots able to perform somewhat sophisticated tasks cost much more than human workers.

So at the factory in Asahikawa, where about 60 percent of the work is automated, many tasks still require the human touch. Workers peel pumpkins, for example, because some skin enhances the flavor of stew. A robot can’t determine just how much skin to shuck off.

Other efforts to use robots or automation have hit snags, in programs ranging from self-driving buses to package-delivering drones or robots that comfort nursing home residents.

A hotel staffed by androids in southern Japan ended up laying off some of its robots after customers complained that they were not as good at hospitality as people.

During a trial of self-driving buses in Oita City, also in southern Japan, one bus crashed into a curb, and officials realized that autonomous vehicles were not quite ready to cope with situations like traffic jams, jaywalkers or cars running red lights.

For the full story, see:

Motoko Rich. “Japan Loves Robots, but Not for Preparing Fries or Driving Buses.” The New York Times (Wednesday, January 1, 2020): A6.

(Note: ellipsis added.)

(Note: the online version of the story was updated Jan. 4, 2019, and has the title “Japan Loves Robots, but Getting Them to Do Human Work Isn’t Easy.”)

Leapfrog Innovation May Solve Frustration of Multiple Charger Connectors, Without Government Regulations

(p. B3) LONDON — The European Union wants to make it easier to charge your cellphone and other devices.

This week, members of the European Parliament held a hearing on a measure to require smartphone makers to produce a common charger for all mobile and portable devices sold in the region, including tablets, e-readers and digital cameras.

The goal: no more frustration at borrowing a friend’s charger only to find it has a Lightning connector when you need a USB-C.

. . .

The European Commission is scheduled to publish a study in the coming weeks to deliberate the next legislative steps.

But device makers may eventually decide the issue before the legislators do. Each year, an increasing number of phones arrive on the market with another option: wireless charging.

For the full story, see:

Geneva Abdul. “E.U. Keeps Up Its Push For Common Chargers, Citing E-Waste ‘Ocean’.” The New York Times (Saturday, January 18, 2020): B3.

(Note: ellipsis, and bracketed date, added.)

(Note: the online version of the story was updated Jan. 19, 2020, and has the title “A Common Charger for All Phones? The E.U. Is on the Case.”)

The Odgers paper, mentioned in the passage quoted above, is:

Odgers, Candice L., and Michaeline R. Jensen. “Annual Research Review: Adolescent Mental Health in the Digital Age: Facts, Fears, and Future Directions.” Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry (published first online Jan. 17, 2020).

“You Can’t Donate People Out of Poverty”

(p. A9) Dr. Polak, . . . , found that poor people valued and cared for things they had bought. “You can’t donate people out of poverty,” he told The Wall Street Journal in 2007.

The trick was to figure out which tools were needed and how to make them at an affordable cost. For nearly four decades, Dr. Polak roamed the world’s poorest regions and quizzed farmers about their needs. “The small farmers I interviewed became my teachers,” he said in a video posted by one of the organizations he founded, iDE, formerly known as International Development Enterprises.

While visiting Somalia in the early 1980s, he noticed people lugging water and other items by hand or with awkward donkey carts. Working with local blacksmiths, he devised a better donkey cart, using parts from junked automobiles. From that point, he relied on market forces: Blacksmiths began making and selling the carts for the equivalent of about $450. Buyers of the carts could earn $200 a month for transporting goods, according to iDE.

. . .

Paul Polak (pronounced POLE-ack) . . .

. . .

He wrote or co-wrote two books drawing on his experiences, “The Business Solution to Poverty” (2013) and “Out of Poverty” (2008).

For the full obituary, see:

James R. Hagerty. “Roving Entrepreneur Built A Better Donkey Cart.” The Wall Street Journal (Saturday, October 26, 2019): A9.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the obituary has the date Oct. 25, 2019, and has the title “Paul Polak Built Better Tools for Farmers in Poor Countries.”)

The books authored, or co-authored, by Paul Polak, mentioned above, are:

Polak, Paul. Out of Poverty: What Works When Traditional Approaches Fail. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2008.

Polak, Paul, and Mal Warwick. The Business Solution to Poverty: Designing Products and Services for Three Billion New Customers. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2013.

No Evidence Base that Smartphones Cause Anxiety and Depression in Teens

(p. B1) SAN FRANCISCO — It has become common wisdom that too much time spent on smartphones and social media is responsible for a recent spike in anxiety, depression and other mental health problems, especially among teenagers.

But a growing number of academic researchers have produced studies that suggest the common wisdom is wrong.

The latest research, published on Friday [January 17, 2020] by two psychology professors, combs through about 40 studies that have examined the link between social media use and both depression and anxiety among adolescents. That link, according to the professors, is small and inconsistent.

“There doesn’t seem to be an evidence base that would explain the level of panic and consternation around these issues,” said Candice L. Odgers, a professor at the University of California, Irvine, and the lead author of the paper, which was published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

For the full story, see:

Nathaniel Popper. “The Menace of Screen Time Could Be More of a Mirage.” The New York Times (Saturday, January 18, 2020): B1 & B6.

(Note: bracketed date added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date Jan. 17, 2020, and has the title “Panicking About Your Kids’ Phones? New Research Says Don’t.”)

The Odgers paper, mentioned in the passage quoted above, is:

Odgers, Candice L., and Michaeline R. Jensen. “Annual Research Review: Adolescent Mental Health in the Digital Age: Facts, Fears, and Future Directions.” Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry (published first online Jan. 17, 2020).

“The Churning, Extravagant, Perfectionist Imagination of” Walt Disney

(p. A15) As understatements go, this one’s a doozy. Its source was Roy Disney, the less heralded, less handsome and—as gleaned from Richard Snow’s richly engaging “Disney’s Land”—less headstrong brother of Walt Disney. Since 1923, Roy had been the business brains of the Disney company was no stranger to his kid brother’s “screwy ideas.” But when he was informed after the war that his sibling had been, over his objections, slyly seeking funds to develop his own amusement park, Roy’s response was: “Junior’s got his hand in the cookie jar again.”

. . .

. . . when Roy first happened upon his brother’s maneuvering, amusement parks were passé at best, crime-ridden at worst and financial sinkholes at their core. Walt, having hired the Stanford Research Institute for a feasibility study, was told that he would fail if his park didn’t include such proven winners as a Ferris wheel, a roller coaster and games of chance—none of which Walt wanted cluttering his dreamscape.

Joining the chorus of dissent was Walt’s wife, Lillian. She had tolerated her hobbyist-husband taking over her backyard rose garden with his steam locomotive, but she “raised the dickens” (Walt’s words) when her perennially boyish 52-year-old spouse told her that he had sold their desert vacation home and borrowed $250,000 against his life insurance so that he could seed his plans for the sort of enterprise that looked to be, as she put it, “not fun at all for grown-ups.”

. . .

Roy, Mr. Snow acknowledges, “never lost his calm understanding that the company’s prosperity rested not on the rock of conventional business practices, but on the churning, extravagant, perfectionist imagination of his younger brother.” For Walt’s part, he is quoted saying in 1957, just as Disneyland was making him rich, that “if it hadn’t been for my big brother, I swear I’d’ve been in jail several times for checks bouncing.”

For the full review, see:

Stephen M. Silverman. “BOOKSHELF; A Day in the Park With Walt.” The Wall Street Journal (Friday, December 13, 2019): A15.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the review has the date Dec. 12, 2019, and has the title “BOOKSHELF; ‘Disney’s Land’ Review: A Day in the Park With Walt.”)

The book under review, is:

Snow, Richard. Disney’s Land: Walt Disney and the Invention of the Amusement Park That Changed the World. New York: Scribner, 2019.