Thursday, May 22, 2008

Glass half-full

The 24/7 news cycle presents ever more miscreants and tragedies to us, here and abroad. So it is ever more true that greatness (where we find it) is what makes life worth living.

The New Yorker's Innovation Issue (May 12) hits the spot. I especially enjoyed James Surowiecki's ("The Open Secret of Success") discussion of Toyota and Malcolm Gladwell's ("In the Air"; gated) discussion of how smart people almost routinely discover large numbers of great ideas.

The former describes one of the world's largest corporations being innovative in terms of the many details that count, and involving a huge work force in the effort. They are so good (and so confident) that they make efforts to share their ideas with their competitors.

The second piece describes discovery by a company called Intellectual Ventures (and others).

It has been said many times that conventional economics relegates all-important discovery to a black box. But it is also true that creating the cultures that make it all possible is of the first importance.

Now we can go back to the TV news and watch idiotic politicians doing what they can to derail it all.