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Berkeley and the educational-industrial complex

David Zilberman, professor, agriculture and resource economics | April 11, 2018

People, especially outside the U.S., always ask “What makes America great?” A popular answer is America’s private sector, with its capacity for innovation and entrepreneurship. A second answer is American universities, especially at the graduate level. Others will argue that it is its legal system that allows fast transactions and enforces contracts. I believe that … Continue reading »

Innovators and entrepreneurs: What’s the difference?

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | April 3, 2018

I just received a thank you note from a student who attended a fireside chat I held at the ranch. Something I said seemed to inspire her: “I always thought you needed to be innovative, original to be an entrepreneur. Now I have a different perception. Entrepreneurs are the ones that make things happen. (That) takes … Continue reading »

Facebook and the humanities: Pondering what would Oedipus do

Timothy Hampton, professor of French and comparative literature, director of the Doreen B. Townsend Center for the Humanities | March 21, 2018

No less disturbing than the recent news that the personal data of millions of Americans was culled from Facebook by the shady research firm Cambridge Analytica and provided to the Trump campaign, has been the behavior of the masters of Silicon Valley.  The CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, has so far been mostly silent. This … Continue reading »

Lack of oversight puts Americans’ privacy at risk across entire tech, information industry

Jennifer King, Ph.D candidate in information science at UC Berkeley’s School of Information | March 20, 2018

As fallout from the revelation of Cambridge Analytica’s misuse of Facebook user information continues, many are mistakenly calling this incident a breach. Facebook is right to claim this incident was no breach — this is Facebook’s platform working exactly as designed. I know, because I too created a survey app on Facebook for the express purpose of … Continue reading »

Leadership is more than a memo

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | March 19, 2018

I just read Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys’ Club of Silicon Valley. It was both eye-opening and cringe-worthy. The book explores the role of gender in the tech industry – at startups and venture capital firms – and the interaction between men and women in the two. While Silicon Valley has grown to have global … Continue reading »

We cannot afford to keep academia and industry separate

Corinne Scown, Head of Sustainability at the Energy & Biosciences Institute | March 17, 2018

In 2007, UC Berkeley, the University of Illinois, and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab signed a $500 million agreement with BP to form the Energy Biosciences Institute. Protests ensued, with accusations that the university was selling out to big oil. Needless to say, many people were, and are, not fans of universities partnering with private companies, … Continue reading »

Should peer reviewers remain anonymous?

Wadim Strielkowski, Professor of Economics, Visiting Scholar at UC Berkeley | March 3, 2018

Should peer reviewers remain anonymous? Perhaps with the digital epoch we are living in the time has came to change this. In a recent article published in Science (“Judge orders unmasking of anonymous peer reviewers,” News in Depth, February 2, 2018, pp. 504-505), Andrew P. Han of Retraction Watch describes what has now been historically … Continue reading »

Scholarly publishing: Will Sci-Hub open the way to ‘academic Spotify’?

Wadim Strielkowski, Professor of Economics, Visiting Scholar at UC Berkeley | February 28, 2018

Sci-Hub, a website offering free access to around 60 million pirated scientific articles, has become the new phenomenon on the academic publishing market. Its growing popularity might lead to the change to the whole system of academic publishing as we know it. A 2016 article published in Science demonstrated that pirated papers are downloaded all … Continue reading »

Innovation at Speed — when you have 2 million employees

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | February 13, 2018

Success no longer goes to the country that develops a new fighting technology first, but rather to the one that better integrates it and adapts its way of fighting…Our response will be to prioritize speed of delivery, continuous adaptation, and frequent modular upgrades. We must not accept cumbersome approval chains, wasteful applications of resources in … Continue reading »

Janesville — A story about the rest of America

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | February 2, 2018

I just read a book – Janesville – that reminded me again of life outside the bubble. Janesville tells the story of laid-off factory workers of a General Motors factory that’s never going to reopen. It’s a story about a Midwest town and the type of people I knew and worked alongside. When I got out of the Air … Continue reading »

2018 Olympics: Could computer hacks produce the wrong winners?

Betsy Cooper, Executive Director, UC Berkeley Center for Long-term Cybersecurity | January 19, 2018

Sporting events are only meaningful if we trust the results. But as digital devices proliferate, so will the risks of cybersecurity failures. Imagine if, at next month’s 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, the women’s figure skating competition were to be halted mid-event. Several coaches file a protest alleging that the International Skating Union Scoring System, the computer-based system … Continue reading »

Food, technologies and politics in Berlin

David Zilberman, professor, agriculture and resource economics | December 16, 2017

I visited Berlin to participate in the Global Food Summit, an event sponsored by our International and Executive Programs (IEP) at UC Berkeley and Wageninen University among others. This is the second time we held this event, and it has improved in many ways. We hosted the event at the top floor of the Radisson … Continue reading »

Risks of recognition: New digital ID program for refugees is vulnerable to abuses

Brandie Nonnecke, Founding Director, CITRIS Policy Lab | November 27, 2017

“Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.” — Article 6, UN Declaration of Human Rights Tired, hungry, and scared, she approaches the front of the line and is greeted by aid workers. They scan her eyes, catalog her fingerprints, and snap her photo. For the first time in her life, she … Continue reading »

Why Uber is the revenge of the founders

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | October 24, 2017

CEOs of companies with billion-dollar market caps have been in the news — and not in a good way. This seems to be occurring more and more. Why do these founders get to stay around? Because the balance of power has dramatically shifted from investors to founders. Here’s why it generates bad CEO behavior. Unremarked … Continue reading »

The red queen problem — innovation in the DoD and intelligence community

Steve Blank, lecturer, Haas School of Business | October 18, 2017

“…it takes all the running you can do to keep in the same place. ” — The Red Queen, Alice in Wonderland Innovation, disruption, accelerators, have all become urgent buzzwords in the Department of Defense and intelligence community. They are a reaction to the “red queen problem” but aren’t actually solving the problem. Here’s why. … Continue reading »

Office of Naval Research goes lean

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

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) has been one of the largest supporters of innovation in the U.S. Now they are starting to use the Lean Innovation process (see here and here) to turn ideas into solutions. The result will be defense innovation with speed and urgency. —- Here’s how the Office of Naval Research … Continue reading »

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 »