What we read this week (9 Dec)

This week our weekly reads feature thoughts in innovation and neoteny, the post-digital world, on magazines as brands, an institutional crisis as well as the internet of things.

Quotes of the week

The Internet isn’t really a technology, it’s a belief system – a philosophy.

Joi Ito

The problem isn’t you. The problem is the problem.

Steven Pressfield

Articles of the week

  • The Internet, innovation and learning
    Joi Ito regularly writes about innovation, particularly the cultural aspects inside organizations that foster innovation. The internet as a whole is facing issues similar to many institutions – concretely through regulation efforts. Here, he points out how neoteny – the retention of childlike attributions in adulthood – can help us both innovate and save the internet.
  • The Guardian: Welcome to the post-digital world, an exhilarating return to civility – via Facebook and Lady Gaga
    “Post-digital is not anti-digital. It extends digital into the beyond. The web becomes not a destination in itself but a route map to somewhere real.” Simon Jenkins on the post-digital.
  • Megan Garber: The personal(ized) brand: Yet another reason The Economist is trouncing competitors
    The Nieman Lab looks at the way the Economist adapts to a rapidly changing news marketplace, with a focus on the magazine as a brand, and on emerging consumption and sharing patterns. A must read if you work in media.
  • More than just digital quilting
    The Economist compares the maker movement with their Arduinos and 3D printers to the hobby computer movement of the 70s. Could it also change how science is taught and foster innovation? We think so.
  • Institutions, Confidence, and the News Crisis
    Clay Shirky, one of the most prolific researchers on all things media & business models, shares his view on the future of news. Particularly, he sees a risk in trying to back the established news institutions and rather calls for open-minded experimentation instead. We couldn’t agree more.
  • In Defense of Friction
    Andrés Monroy-Hernández, a Berkman Fellow, on why automation of social behaviors – the frictionless sharing that Facebook is building – can be harmful for social relations.
  • The New York Times: Reveal
    The New York Times R&D Labs came out with a quite interesting prototype. Combining an internet-enabled screen/mirror, a Microsoft Kinect and some speech recognition in one case, they created a bathroom mirror that can show you the weather, news, or your personal health data. This is something we’ve seen as design studies for years, but here it is, and it looks surprisingly smooth and, well, unobtrusive. This is one to watch, and there will soon be more like it. In fact, we expect a whole new market segment to emerge here over the next few years.
  • Homesense: Final Report
    Georgina Voss and Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino ran the Homesense project for two years, and helped a number of households enhance their homes through networked technology. (No internet fridges, though!) Here’s the final report with their key findings.