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How companies strangle innovation – and how you can get it right

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | September 22, 2017

A shorter version of this post first appeared on the HBR blog. — I just watched a very smart company try to manage innovation by hiring a global consulting firm to offload engineering from “distractions.” They accomplished their goal, but at a huge, unanticipated cost: the processes and committees they designed ended up strangling innovation. … Continue reading »

Removing the roadblocks to corporate innovation — when theory meets practice

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | September 20, 2017

Innovation theory and innovation in practice are radically different. Here are some simple tools to get your company’s innovation pipeline through the obstacles it will encounter. — Pete Newell and I’ve been working with Karl, the Chief Innovation Officer of a large diversified multi-billion-dollar company I’ll call Spacely Industries. Over the last 15 months his … Continue reading »

Coevolution of human and artificial intelligences

Edward Lee, professor of electrical engineering and computer science | September 18, 2017

Vladimir Putin, president of Russia, in an open lesson to more than a million schoolchildren on Sept. 1, said that “Whoever becomes the leader in [artificial intelligence] will become the ruler of the world.” Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, states that AI represents an existential threat to humanity and urges government regulation before it’s too late. Clearly, AI … Continue reading »

The false media focus on violence: If it bleeds it still leads

Jen Schradie, research fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse | September 7, 2017

On Sunday, August 27, in downtown Berkeley, I witnessed thousands of protesters raising their voices against a planned white supremacist “Patriot Prayer” rally. In my decades as a documentary filmmaker of activism and now an academic studying movements and media, it was one of the most positive, diverse and unifying gatherings I ever experienced. While … Continue reading »

Working outside the tech bubble

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | August 21, 2017

Annual note to self – most of the world exists outside the tech bubble. —– We have a summer home in New England in a semi-rural area, just ~10,000 people in town, with a potato farm across the street. Drive down the road and you can see the tall stalks of corn waving on other … Continue reading »

You adapt, or you adopt, or you die

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | August 7, 2017

I was in Boston and stopped by the Harvard Business Review for their IdeaCast podcast. I shared my current thinking about innovation in companies and government agencies. The interviewer, Curt Nickisch was great and managed to get me to summarize several years of learning in one podcast. He even got me to tell my Steve … Continue reading »

New players and new tools in the bio-economy

David Zilberman, professor, agriculture and resource economics | July 24, 2017

Almost every year over the last 20 years, the International Consortium of Applied Bio-economy Research (ICABR), was meeting in beautiful Ravello in Italy to present new research results on the economics and policies of agricultural biotechnology, biofuels and the environment. We enjoyed the wonderful views and food of the Amalfi Coast, and the meetings inspired … Continue reading »

Why good people leave large tech companies

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | July 11, 2017

If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the people to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry I was visiting with an ex-student who’s now the CFO of a large public tech company. The company is still … Continue reading »

Tech pride: celebrations and challenges for LGBT people in the tech community

Camille Crittenden, Deputy Director, CITRIS | June 20, 2017

  June is a month for celebrations: not only for weddings but also commemorations of advances in civil rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities. Just as technology has shaped countless aspects of social and public life, its influence on LGBT rights and relationships has also been substantial — for consumers and producers … Continue reading »

Tesla lost $700 million last year, so why is its valuation $60 billion?

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | June 14, 2017

Automobile manufacturers shipped 88 million cars in 2016. Tesla shipped 76,000. Yet Wall Street values Tesla higher than any other U.S. car manufacturer. What explains this more than 1,000 to 1 discrepancy in valuation? The future. Too many people compare Tesla to what already exists, and that’s a mistake. Tesla is not another car company. … Continue reading »

Dalhousie University commencement speech – 2017

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | June 1, 2017

Light a path for the better angels Thank you, Chancellor McLellan, President Florizone, Dean Charlebois, Dr. Hewitt, and Dr. Kilfoil for the invitation to speak today and thank you for the honorary degree. I’m honored to speak at a university whose motto is: Pray and Work. It’s pretty close to the one I had as … Continue reading »

Beyond basic income: claiming our right to govern technology

Annette Bernhardt, visiting professor, sociology | May 25, 2017

One common characteristic of universal basic income advocates, and indeed progressives and labor more generally, is a near-fatalistic acceptance of the current path of technological development. It is a gaping hole in discussions about the future of work: either we are sticking our heads in the sand and avoiding the topic altogether, or we’re accepting … Continue reading »

Digital insecurity is the new normal

Steven Weber, professor of political science and at the School of Information, faculty director of the Center for Long-term Cybersecurity | May 15, 2017

What’s most important about the latest ransomware attacks is that British doctors have reverted to pen and paper in their wake. This “back to analog” moment isn’t just a knee-jerk, stopgap reaction to a short-term problem. It’s a rational response to our increasingly insecure internet, and we are going to see more of it ahead.

Innovation, change and the rest of your life

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | May 10, 2017

I gave the Alumni Day talk at U.C. Santa Cruz and had a few things to say about innovation: Even though I live just up the coast, I’ve never had the opportunity to start a talk by saying “Go Banana Slugs.” I’m honored for the opportunity to speak here today. We’re standing 15 air miles … Continue reading »

Why some startups win

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | March 15, 2017

If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there? I was having a second coffee with an ex-student, now the head of a marketing inside a rapidly growing startup. His company had marched through customer discovery, learning about the customer problem, validated solutions and was now scaling sales and … Continue reading »

The no excuses culture

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | March 8, 2017

Getting ready for our next semester’s class, I asked my teaching assistant why I hadn’t seen the posters for our new class around campus. Hearing the litany of excuses that followed  – “It was raining.” (The posters go inside the building.) “We still have time.” (We had agreed they were to go up a week … Continue reading »

Don’t let process distract you from finding the strategy

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | February 28, 2017

When you’re up to your neck in alligators, don’t forget the goal was to drain the swamp. I love teaching because I learn something new every class. This time it was, “Don’t let process distract you from finding the strategy.” The latest “aha” moment for me when I was at Columbia University teaching an intensive … Continue reading »

Accelerating momentum for women and girls in science

Camille Crittenden, Deputy Director, CITRIS | February 11, 2017

Participation by women in scientific research is rising — women now outnumber men majoring in biological sciences and the percentage of women awarded doctoral degrees in life sciences grew from 15 percent in 1969 to 52 percent in 2009. Yet women’s participation in other STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math) still lags; fewer than … Continue reading »