Posts Tagged ‘technology’


In Smarter Than You Think, tech journalist Clive Thompson argues that digital technology is dramatically changing the ways people think and act. While he is not the first person to make such a claim, Thompson’s perspective on the matter is unique in that he believes these cognitive behavioral changes are largely positive. By investigating some of today’s most cutting-edge innovations and the transformative effects they have on work, relationships, education, and society as a whole, Thompson demonstrates that the rise of intelligent machines should be embraced rather than feared.

According to Thompson:

  • Technology is transforming people’s cognitive behaviors. By providing new ways for people to store memories, collaborate, and communicate, digital technology is upending existing mental habits.
  • The rise of intelligent machines should not be feared. Despite the fear that digital technology will render the human brain obsolete, it is actually making people smarter and society stronger.
  • The more connected people are to one another, the more they can accomplish. By facilitating widespread collaboration, the Internet enables people to tap into the power of collective intelligence and develop innovative solutions to some of the world’s biggest problems.
  • Technology is drastically improving literacy. In addition to creating a culture of avid writers, the Internet has facilitated the rise of data, video, and photo literacies.
  • For technology to create lasting social change, people must fight for their digital rights. Online activists need safe spaces on the Internet to conduct civic discourse.

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Digital to the CoreDigital technology is upending entire industries within a very short time, and there is considerably more change to come. In Digital to the Core, Mark Raskino and Graham Waller of Gartner, Inc. demonstrate how leaders today must bring digital to the center of everything they do. The authors examine how digital business will cause greater disruptions and demand more significant business changes than the Internet technology of the past did. Taking digital to the core requires “remastery” of one’s industry, enterprise, and self, and it promises to be the only way leaders can help their organizations both survive and thrive.

Too few companies have acknowledged how radically digital and information technology will disrupt and transform their industries. At each level of business–industry, enterprise, and leader–the following three digital disruptive forces require change and adaptation:

  1. Resolution revolution: Precision in understanding data and in controlling objects, services, and outcomes is increasing exponentially. The ability of sensors, 3D printing, cloud computing, and remotely controlled objects to deliver greater detail and accuracy improves every year and creates a myriad of new business opportunities and challenges.
  2. Compound uncertainty: Digital change upends the mind-sets, organizational structures, and practices that business leaders were once successful with. Uncertainty is compounded by being spread across three key areas: technology, culture, and regulation. Success requires finding a triple tipping point where the three areas are ready to adapt or be revolutionized.
  3. Boundary blurring: The intersection of the physical and digital worlds blurs many boundaries. A company’s core product, its value proposition, its designated industry, its division of responsibility among departments, and more all become blurred by digital business. Digital is no longer a support function controlled by an IT department; it must permeate the whole enterprise.

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Elon Musk

Thanks to pioneering firms like SpaceX and Tesla Motors, Elon Musk has become one of America’s leading businessmen. He is often compared to Steve Jobs in terms of his vision and drive. Many are curious how Musk attained his success and what is next for his companies. In Elon Musk, Ashlee Vance provides a biography of the business giant and offers insight into his work and personal life.

  • Childhood. Elon Musk was born in 1971 in Pretoria, South Africa. At age 17, Musk left for Canada. He attended Queen’s University in Ontario and then transferred to the University of Pennsylvania where he earned degrees in economics and physics.
  • First start-up. Musk and his brother, Kimbal, founded Global Link Information Network in 1995. The company created a searchable directory of businesses and integrated the information with maps. The company was rebranded as Zip2 and was eventually bought by Compaq Computer.
  • PayPal. After leaving Zip2, Musk founded the online bank X.com in November 1999. X.com merged with Confinity—a startup that offered the PayPal service. Musk was pushed out of the CEO role. He stayed on as an advisor and received $180 million after taxes when eBay purchased PayPal in 2002.
  • SpaceX. After the PayPal sale, Musk founded SpaceX. The company’s goal was to build its own rocket engines more cheaply than others by applying lean startup methods. In 2008, the company launched the first privately built rocket to reach orbit. In 2012, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule successfully docked with the International Space Station.
  • Tesla Motors. Tesla has successfully developed electric cars that consumers are eager to own. Tesla has released the Roadster, the Model S, and the Model X. It plans to release the more affordable Model 3 in 2017.
  • SolarCity. Musk is the chairman and largest shareholder in this company founded by his cousins. SolarCity installs and leases solar panels to consumers. By 2012, it was the largest solar panel installer in the United States.

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The End of AbsenceIn an always-on, constantly connected digital environment, the appreciation of solitude is becoming a dying art. Yet some of life’s richest rewards result from periods of solitude — or what author Michael Harris refers to as absence. In The End of Absence, Harris explores the benefits and risks of today’s digital existence. In doing so, he both warns readers of the consequences of the impending end of absence and offers thoughtful insights on how to recapture the solitude that threatens to be lost forever in a digital world.

According to Harris:

  • The digitization of society has created the end of absence. As digital technology becomes ubiquitous, individuals lose the opportunity to enjoy silence and solitude.
  • New technology is always a trade-off. Whenever there is new technology, consideration must always be given to what will be gained and what will be lost.
  • In the digital age, absence must be engineered. Because people (young people in particular) are constantly bombarded by digital input, individuals must plan periods of solitude. Solitude cannot be left to chance.
  • Technology changes the brain. The brain is “plastic” in the sense that its functioning can be altered. Using digital technology has been shown to change neural patterns in the brain.
  • The Internet dilutes expertise. Information- and opinion-sharing technology allows anyone, and thus, no one, to be an expert.
  • Access to everything encourages the exploration of nothing. Because the digital world serves up a constant deluge of increasingly personalized information, individuals have become passive and do not explore new material.
  • Absence is a choice. Controlling the use of digital technology is up to each individual.

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Topic: The Risk-Driven Business Model

Who: Karan Girotra, author, professor of technology and operations management at INSEAD, and founder of Terrapass, Inc.

When: Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Time: 1:00 pm Eastern Standard Time

Register Now



Most companies think of innovation as being about new technology or developing new products— but the most disruptive organizations of the 21st century have innovated much more than their products or technology. From Ford Motors to Toyota to Uber the automotive industry among many others has been continually disrupted by companies that change the way they “did things,” or their business model.

This WebEx will explore the following questions:

  • How new business models can be an even more disruptive force than new technology?
  • Where the biggest business model innovation opportunities lie?
  • How to create an organization that identifies these game-changing opportunities

Based on Karan Girotra’s co-authored book The Risk-Driven Business Model. Coming Soon to BizSum.com.

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In The Mobile Learning Edge, author Gary Woodill defines mobile learning as a personalized form of learning that takes place on a mobile electronic device. It allows for speedy communication, it is portable and convenient, it creates active learning experiences, and it allows for learning connectivity at any time and in any location. The content taught in mobile learning is also more likely to be retained because it is learned when the student wants to learn; because the student is actively seeking to learn, the information taught is more likely to be relevant and useful to the learner.

For a free trial of EBSCO Business Book Summaries click here.

Related book summaries in the BBS library: Tailored Learning, Managing the Mobile Workforce, The Six Disciplines of Breakthrough Learning

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