06 Jun

More on density’s effects on innovation

Per capita economic impacts and innovation impacts come from density:

“MIT researchers think they know why when you double a city’s population that its economic productivity goes up 130 percent. Not only does total productivity increase with increased population, but so does per-capita productivity.”

(Via Higher population density boosts interaction and per capita productivity if there is good transportation.)

Ideas rub up against each other in crowded spaces. So does money.

05 Jun

Shenzhen: a city that’s a factory (the importance of density)

Twitter user Kwasi sent me this link about Huagiangbei, the city/factory in China. What is interesting is this point about density here, which again goes back to my constant thesis of the city and increased density as a prime innovation centre:

“In the US when you need an electronics component the typical first step is to look it up on Digikey, find the closest match you can and have it shipped to you days later (or worse; it may need to come from China.) In Shenzhen you walk through Huaqiangbei and find exactly the part you need, talk to the people who make it, and carry it away with you for a fraction of the price. Is it any wonder why so much innovation is happening here?”

(Via Shenzhen is Like Living in a City-Sized TechShop – Hack Things – We help software people make hardware.)

I really think a lot of people, particularly ones who valorize an idealized rural living, are missing the fact that the massive populations and increased density being created are creating some serious innovation hot spots.

28 Mar

The death of the perception of innovation

A very thinky, solid look at how our constant, real time news atmosphere kills the perception of innovation. I have to agree, the stuff that’s happening right now is pretty amazing and I struggle to keep up. However, the ‘if it bleeds it leads’ atmosphere of hourly news that most people are engaged in leads to a dystopic and negative view of a world that actually contains a fair number of marvels going on.

“Even though its confluences can cause rapid shifts in technology, innovation is made of many long series of evolutions — not revolutions.

Take the good ol’ microprocessor. You’d be hard pressed to find a technological developments in the last century that’s more important. Critics of today’s progress love to point at it and say, ‘Why don’t we have moments like that anymore?’ Yet it took decades, a century even, of research to finally put the workable technology in practice.

But what did the public see? They saw companies like Fairchild Semiconductor put it all together and come out of nowhere to dominate the industry (for a while).

Yet the Internet affords us the opportunity to see the evolution of technology in all of its little increments. Each new research paper, previously confined to expensive journals, is now digested and simplified in blogs and cutting edge news sites, providing a constant flavor of the future. Every new direction or investment — self-driving cars! — for a tech company does the same.

Back in ‘the day’ there weren’t bloggers tracking Fairchild or other huge tech companies’ every move. There weren’t Twitter debates about whether the economics of a semiconductor could work. The general population didn’t have media outlets that echoed boardroom disagreements — and how it might affect their promise of one day releasing this ‘semiconductor.’”

(Via The Internet killed (the perception of) Innovation | The Technology Chronicles | an SFGate.com blog.)