Practice of Innovation

"The way we work is our most important innovation." Observations by Curtis R. Carlson

How to Change an Organization’s Culture

Find a Partner, Stick to the Fundamentals, and Start _DSC5673v3 copy

I gave a webinar to The Learning Consortium in May about how SRI International went from failing to being one of the world’s most productive R&D and innovation enterprises, having created Siri, HDTV, and many other world-changing innovations.  The presentation is here.  Throughout the presentation the hundreds of participants were asked questions. The answers are in the slides.  After the presentation the audience asked me additional questions about SRI’s transformation, which are given below with my answers.  For background, here is Steve Denning’s Forbes article about culture change at SRI while I was CEO.  The first rule was to never mention “culture change.” 

Never Stop Learning

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On May 7th I had the honor of giving the graduation commencement address at James Madison University in Harrisonburg Virginia.  It was raining but we kept going and everyone had a wonderful time. The students were terrific.  Below is the speech I gave to the students. (more…)

Will Innovation Eliminate Work?

i4j Summit on Innovation for Jobs

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Steve Denning and Curt Carlson at the Summit

One of the major questions today is whether America will produce enough meaningful jobs in the future.  The Innovation for Jobs Summit invites speakers and thinkers each year to discuss this topic and propose possible solutions.  Here are two interviews at the conference on these topics by Martin Wasserman.  The first is an interview with me alone and the second together with Steve Denning, who writes regularly on innovation, management, and economic development for Forbes.  Curt interviewed alone here.  Curt with Steve here.

Value-Creation Communities (VCCs)

Redefining Work and the Process of Value Creation 

David Nordfors, Vint Cerf, Curt Carlson, and Robin Farmanfarmaian

One of today’s most important issues is whether in the future society will offer enough meaningful work for its citizens. Some argue that automation will eliminate essentially all human work. Since work is a primary source of human dignity, that is a dark vision of our future. That is not the perspective of the recent Silicon Valley Innovation for Jobs (i4j) conference organized and run by David Nordfors, Vint Cerf, and Robin Farmanfarmaian (see picture).  One reason is the emergence of Internet platforms that connect workers with work, allows the efficient learning of new worker skills, and facilitates global collaboration using innovation best practices.    (more…)

The “Open Enterprise”

Must You Ask Permission to Talk to Others?Slide39

Getting the best talent is a challenge for all companies, universities, and government agencies. Great talent is the essential ingredient for achieving innovative success. But in most enterprises there is an equally serious problem – these talented professionals don’t, or are not allowed to, fully collaborate with each other. This means the enterprise’s collective IQ is reduced by orders of magnitude compared to what is possible. (more…)