Category Archives: Innovation

How open innovation will transform the Great British pound

Farewell to the pound coin’s familiar golden nugget design. Here comes the dough-decagon in its stead. The new 12-sided quid, modelled after the old threepenny bit, got plenty of attention this week. But the most interesting part of the design is what was left out. The flipside of the coin will be opened to a public design competition. Continue reading

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Filed under Freedom, Human nature, Innovation

The limits of celebrity power and the rise of selfie-nomics in one tweet

It was the tweet heard round the web. The selfie Ellen DeGeneres took during the Oscars became an internet sensation. First, it garnered the most retweets ever: as I write, Twitter reports 3.3m users have recommended it in this way. The previous record holder, President Barack Obama, had managed only 780,000 retweets, for a photograph celebrating his reelection on 7 November 2012. Continue reading

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Ghostbusters is the best case for capitalism you’ll ever come across

You don’t know what it’s like out there. I’ve worked in the private sector. They expect results!” Harold Ramis, the writer of the endlessly quotable Ghostbusters, died this week. It’s a sad loss of a huge talent, a man with the rare gift for blending insight with popular entertainment. Continue reading

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The Lego Movie: Lessons in creative freedom

The Lego renaissance is one of the great business stories of our time. A decade ago the Danish firm was on the brink of bankruptcy. It is all different now. Last autumn it overtook Hasbro to become the second-biggest toymaker in the world. This month’s box-office triumph for The Lego Movie, $50m (£30m) over the Valentine’s weekend alone, underscores how brilliantly the brand has rebuilt itself. Continue reading

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Filed under Business, Film, Innovation

Bill Gates is gone and the dot-com era is over: It’s only the end of the beginning

AS FACEBOOK turns ten, and with Bill Gates stepping down as Microsoft chairman, it feels like something is drawing to an end. But if so, it is only the end of the technological revolution’s beginning. Continue reading

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The robots are coming – only the power of human ingenuity can save our jobs

I for one don’t welcome our new robot overlords. Don’t get me wrong – I’m all in favour of the liberating potential of new technology. I’m also conscious that worries about jobs lost to mechanisation have a history of being misplaced: the jobs go but new and even better-paying ones appear elsewhere. Continue reading

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The real way to shake up British banking: Embrace the third party future

The lack of competition among Britain’s retail banks is under the microscope. Yet an important part of the solution is not getting enough attention. While breaking up big banks would not be as easy as Ed Miliband thinks, and the current height of the regulatory hurdles makes the field of entrants sparse at best, the potential for third parties to disrupt the consumer experience online is huge. Continue reading

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Angelina Jolie shows us a glimpse of our future – if regulators let us have it

How do you regulate the future? We live in an age of miraculous, disruptive technologies, yet one of its great challenges is how to keep the lumbering process of regulation from putting the brakes on human inventiveness.

Take genetic testing: this week 23andMe, a pioneering US firm that offered to scan your genetic code for potential health threats for $99 (£60), was ordered to stop marketing its home testing kits by the FDA, America’s regulator of medicines. Continue reading

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Filed under Freedom, Innovation, Politics, Technology

Selfie-nomics: The world’s now a stage and we’re all performing

My smartphone has a feature I can’t ever imagine using – it promises to insert my live picture into any snapshot I take by turning on both front and rearfacing cameras at once. But I’m clearly behind the times. Even as I cling to my old-fashioned desire to take photographs of the things that I see, “selfie” – the new nickname for a photographic self-portrait – has been declared Oxford Dictionaries’ word of the year, following a 17,000 per cent increase in usage year-on-year. Continue reading

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Filed under Economics, History, Human nature, Innovation, Publishing, Technology

Antibiotics are in critical condition: An open culture will help us find alternatives

Here’s a Halloween horror story for you. One of America’s top experts on disease control has just announced that we are now in the post-antibiotic era. Continue reading

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Filed under History, Innovation, Science, Technology