Nutella employed an algorithm to design its packaging

Nutella’s manufacturer Ferrero partnered with its advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather Italia to devise a plan to get people to buy more Nutella. Their idea? Have an algorithm design the packaging. The company provided the software with a database of patterns and colors that Ferrero felt fit with the hazelnut spread brand. It then created 7 million unique jars that were sold throughout Italy.

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America has become so anti-innovation – it’s economic suicide

 

Innovation drives economic growth. It boosts productivity, making it possible to create more wealth with less labor. When economies don’t innovate, the result is stagnation, inequality, and the whole horizon of hopelessness that has come to define the lives of most working people today. Juicero isn’t just an entertaining bit of Silicon Valley stupidity. It’s the sign of a country committing economic suicide.

At the root of the problem is the story we tell ourselves about innovation. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: a lone genius disappears into a garage, preferably in Palo Alto, and emerges with an invention that changes the world. The engine of technological progress is the entrepreneur – the fast-moving, risk-loving, rule-breaking visionary in the mold of Steve Jobs.

This story has been so widely repeated as to become a cliche. It’s also inaccurate. Contrary to popular belief, entrepreneurs typically make terrible innovators. Left to its own devices, the private sector is far more likely to impede technological progress than to advance it. That’s because real innovation is very expensive to produce: it involves pouring extravagant sums of money into research projects that may fail, or at the very least may never yield a commercially viable product. In other words, it requires a lot of risk – something that, myth-making aside, capitalist firms have little appetite for.

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Do we still need Doctor Who? Time travel in the internet age

 

Most people, Wells wrote – “the predominant type, the type of the majority of living people” – never think about the future. Or, if they do, they regard it “as a sort of blank nonexistence upon which the advancing present will presently write events”. The more modern sort of person – “the creative, organising, or masterful type” – sees the future as our very reason for being: “Things have been, says the legal mind, and so we are here. The creative mind says we are here because things have yet to be.” Wells, of course, hoped to personify that creative, forward-looking type.

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Do we still need Doctor Who? Time travel in the internet age

 

Most people, Wells wrote – “the predominant type, the type of the majority of living people” – never think about the future. Or, if they do, they regard it “as a sort of blank nonexistence upon which the advancing present will presently write events”. The more modern sort of person – “the creative, organising, or masterful type” – sees the future as our very reason for being: “Things have been, says the legal mind, and so we are here. The creative mind says we are here because things have yet to be.” Wells, of course, hoped to personify that creative, forward-looking type.

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The UK craft sector isn’t a ‘hipster’ economy. It’s sparking innovation | Rosy Greenlees | Opinion | The Guardian

 

The craft and making sector has created the basis for the disruptive collaboration that led to breakthroughs such as 3D printing, the application of prosthetics in surgery, and the design of the wearable technologies set to revolutionise our clothing. Craft and making can be artisanal but the myth swallowed by policymakers is that it is little more than this. A cute, niche sector. But Britain has quietly built up a £3.4bn making economy, influencing everything from the automotive industry to smartphones. It is also reshaping the way larger brands produce and engage with customers. Companies ranging from Adidas to Ikea have set up design units based on the craft innovation model. Ikea’s Space10 development in Copenhagen, for instance, is specifically based on the idea of collective co-creation. The second myth is that this new craft industry is not an employer, instead being a small ecosystem of makers and curators. Yes, the sector has not given birth to any super-companies yet but neither has the much-vaunted UK tech sector. Instead both have created not corporate monoliths but hundreds, maybe thousands, of small, highly specialised firms that are transforming our economy and the relationship between producer and consumer.

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How managers came to rule the workplace

 

Worse was still to come. Employees at the Telegraph recently discovered heat and motion sensors that tracked whether they were at their desks. There was no warning. Employees simply found the devices on Monday morning. They eventually had to Google the brand name to identify what they were. A memo was issued at lunchtime by senior management stating that the new policy was “to make sure we are making best use of our space in the building”. None of this sits very well with the official knowledge-society narrative. Old-school hierarchies are meant to be dead and buried. Authoritarian micro-managers have no place in industries that need workers to use their initiative, share ideas, be creative and excel at self-management. Flat company structures and autonomy are the future. Back in the 1990s, business guru Tom Peters even heralded the end of management.

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The UK craft sector isn’t a ‘hipster’ economy. It’s sparking innovation | Rosy Greenlees | Opinion | The Guardian

 

The craft and making sector has created the basis for the disruptive collaboration that led to breakthroughs such as 3D printing, the application of prosthetics in surgery, and the design of the wearable technologies set to revolutionise our clothing. Craft and making can be artisanal but the myth swallowed by policymakers is that it is little more than this. A cute, niche sector. But Britain has quietly built up a £3.4bn making economy, influencing everything from the automotive industry to smartphones. It is also reshaping the way larger brands produce and engage with customers. Companies ranging from Adidas to Ikea have set up design units based on the craft innovation model. Ikea’s Space10 development in Copenhagen, for instance, is specifically based on the idea of collective co-creation. The second myth is that this new craft industry is not an employer, instead being a small ecosystem of makers and curators. Yes, the sector has not given birth to any super-companies yet but neither has the much-vaunted UK tech sector. Instead both have created not corporate monoliths but hundreds, maybe thousands, of small, highly specialised firms that are transforming our economy and the relationship between producer and consumer.

Read the full story here

How managers came to rule the workplace

 

Worse was still to come. Employees at the Telegraph recently discovered heat and motion sensors that tracked whether they were at their desks. There was no warning. Employees simply found the devices on Monday morning. They eventually had to Google the brand name to identify what they were. A memo was issued at lunchtime by senior management stating that the new policy was “to make sure we are making best use of our space in the building”. None of this sits very well with the official knowledge-society narrative. Old-school hierarchies are meant to be dead and buried. Authoritarian micro-managers have no place in industries that need workers to use their initiative, share ideas, be creative and excel at self-management. Flat company structures and autonomy are the future. Back in the 1990s, business guru Tom Peters even heralded the end of management.

Read the full story here

The UK craft sector isn’t a ‘hipster’ economy. It’s sparking innovation | Rosy Greenlees | Opinion | The Guardian

 

The craft and making sector has created the basis for the disruptive collaboration that led to breakthroughs such as 3D printing, the application of prosthetics in surgery, and the design of the wearable technologies set to revolutionise our clothing. Craft and making can be artisanal but the myth swallowed by policymakers is that it is little more than this. A cute, niche sector. But Britain has quietly built up a £3.4bn making economy, influencing everything from the automotive industry to smartphones. It is also reshaping the way larger brands produce and engage with customers. Companies ranging from Adidas to Ikea have set up design units based on the craft innovation model. Ikea’s Space10 development in Copenhagen, for instance, is specifically based on the idea of collective co-creation. The second myth is that this new craft industry is not an employer, instead being a small ecosystem of makers and curators. Yes, the sector has not given birth to any super-companies yet but neither has the much-vaunted UK tech sector. Instead both have created not corporate monoliths but hundreds, maybe thousands, of small, highly specialised firms that are transforming our economy and the relationship between producer and consumer.

Read the full story here

How managers came to rule the workplace

 

Worse was still to come. Employees at the Telegraph recently discovered heat and motion sensors that tracked whether they were at their desks. There was no warning. Employees simply found the devices on Monday morning. They eventually had to Google the brand name to identify what they were. A memo was issued at lunchtime by senior management stating that the new policy was “to make sure we are making best use of our space in the building”. None of this sits very well with the official knowledge-society narrative. Old-school hierarchies are meant to be dead and buried. Authoritarian micro-managers have no place in industries that need workers to use their initiative, share ideas, be creative and excel at self-management. Flat company structures and autonomy are the future. Back in the 1990s, business guru Tom Peters even heralded the end of management.

Read the full story here