Author Archives: Tim Kastelle

Innovation Lessons from the Outcome of the Netflix Prize

You probably heard about the contest that Netflix started in 2006 to crowdsource improvements in their recommendation algorithm. They offered a $1 million prize to anyone that could improve the accuracy of the recommendation algorithm by at least 10%. In 2009, a team of people hit the target, and won the prize. Awesome, right? The team got their big check, Netflix got their performance improvement, and everyone ended up happy. Well, sort of.

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Ada Lovelace Day 2011 – Innovation and Gaming

I love the concept behind Ada Lovelace Day. In order to encourage more women to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, the day is used to discuss women from these fields that have had an impact on your life. It’s named after Ada Lovelace, who was the world’s first computer programmer and an expert on Charles Babbage’s Difference Engine.

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Risk Averse or … ?

Take a look at this graph from The Economist.The thing that confuses me is that I often hear from managers and others here in Australia that the reason that their organization isn’t very innovative is that they are risk averse. But if you look at that graph, Australians clearly aren’t risk averse at all.

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What is the Innovation that Led to Civilization?

What is the innovation that led to civilization? There are some interesting answers to this question in Why the West Rules, For Now by Ian Morris. As part of his research, Morris has developed a Social Development Index, which he uses to track the progress of civilizations from 14000 BC to present. The index tracks improvements in areas such as energy capture (both as food and as fuel), organizational capability, technology development, and information sharing capacity.

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Innovation Obstacle – Switching Costs

One of the major obstacles to innovation is switching costs. Here’s a story that shows why: after 120 years, the main library at Princeton University is finally converting all of it’s books to the Library of Congress book classification system. This is remarkable for several reasons. The main one is that the Library of Congress system itself is 113 years ...

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Mind the Innovation Gap

I did a workshop last week with a group working on improving innovation within the Australian school system. I played my normal role of grenade-thrower, errr, thought-provoker on the topic of innovation, while working with eight other people that all have backgrounds in education. As the day went on, I noticed something interesting. In sessions like this, people always pick ...

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