DOE Selects 20 Universities For Solar Decathlon--Parsons is Picked

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on April 25, 2010

The Department of Energy just selected 20 Universities to compete in building a solar-powered house and Parsons School of Design made the cut for the 2011 competition.

Parsons is teaming up with the Stevens Institute of Technology to provide solar-powered Habitat for Humanity housing for residents of the low-income Deanwood neighborhood of Ward 7 in Washington, D.C.

The design consists of two modules that unite to form a functioning solar duplex. Each module is sustainable on its own, but they achieve peak efficiency when joined together. Module One will be assembled in Deanwood, and Module Two will be displayed on the National Mall for Solar Decathlon 2011. After the competition, the two modules will be connected to form a duplex that can house two families.

According to Parsons, "the duplex's primary power is generated using hybrid photovoltaic thermal cells, which produce electric energy and collect thermal energy to boost overall efficiency."

The dean of Parsons, Joel Towers, tells me that the Solar Decathlon projects involves dozens of classes in architecture, urban planning, design and technology.

Innovation Shifts to Asia and Europe, Away From The US

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on April 19, 2010

When I began the Most Innovative Companies annual survey with BCG's James Andrew, nearly all the top 50 companies were American. This year, more than half of the most innovative companies in the world came from Asia and Europe. Despite all hoopla and blah-blah about innovation among CEOs in the US, the actual building of the rituals and processes that produce innovation is increasingly taking place outside America. With the S&P 500 stuck at 1999 levels, the profit proof is in the pudding. There has been an innovation mirage in the US over the past decade, perhaps two.

The new story lies in the BRICs--China, India and Brazil. Last year Greater China (including Taiwan) was 46 out of 50 in the survey. This year it is tied with Japan. Lenovo, BYD, Haier, China Mobile and HTC are on the list.

B-Schools And D-Schools Should Listen To The Cultural Context of the SEC Lawsuit Against Goldman--

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on April 19, 2010

The deep meaning of the SEC's lawsuit against Goldman Sachs for fraud is that it marks the end of the "financialization" of the US economy and the return to the "socialization" of finance. This is a very good thing and educators at both business and design strategy schools need to note the huge change.

For the past three decades, the Chicago school of economics has propagated the theory of efficient, rational markets that divorced financial and economic activity from their social and political context. Wall Street recruits out of Ivy League schools went through year-long training rituals that taught them the belief that markets were always efficient, rational and correct; markets were the most important guide to society; and that they, as individuals, were the Best and the Brightest who deserved all the rewards that markets could bring.

What the Chicago school and Wall Street forgot was the very real social and political context of markets. Average people accept markets only when they believe them to be fair, transparent and open so anyone, not just the Best and the Brightest. Benefits from markets should accrue to anyone who participates. For Wall Street, the social context is even more specific--people believe banks and financial markets exist to promote economic growth and national wealth for everyone, not just insiders, not just a few.

The Great Recession, the Tea Party political movement, surging inequality and the revelation to middle class Americans that they have suffered through not one but two Lost Decades of income, have killed financialization as a working economic paradigm.

The SEC is accusing Goldman Sachs of breaking both rules of social context:

1- rigging the market by selling a synthetic financial instrument designed secretly to fail and fall in price by a big hedge fund manager so he could profit by shorting the market;

2- creating a financial instrument that had no actual connection to the real economy and no economic value except to profit one secret Goldman investor at the expense of other Goldman investors.

If you listen intently to the conversations now going on in business, in economics and in government, you hear the word "social" a lot. Not the ideological "socialism" that Tea Party and Republican ideologues throw around but "social" as in "society." The term "social business" is becoming popular because it includes both the social media platform and the social context of economic activity, including markets. The terms "behavioral economics" and "social economics" are rising in frequency because they replace the theory of market rationality and efficiency with the reality of human social interaction.

George Soros calls this social context for markets and economy "reflexivity" and he's just started an Institute for New Economic Thinking in London to research it.

Continue reading "B-Schools And D-Schools Should Listen To The Cultural Context of the SEC Lawsuit Against Goldman--"

Jeff Jarvis And Parsons' Students Agree on iPad--It's For Consuming Media, Not Creating It.

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on April 6, 2010

When Apple first announced the iPad, I asked students at Parsons what they thought of it and they immediately said it was for consumption, not creation of content. No camera, no USB, no flash--not much to remix and make. They weren't going to buy it. Maybe their parents would to watch TV and read newspapers.

I just read Jeff Jarvis this morning on the iPad and he totally agrees and goes further, saying that it is perfect for the mainstream media giants and Apple who are into controlling content and selling it. In fact, Jarvis says it's a throwback to another era before the net was democratized and we all got the tools to make our own content. "The iPad is retograde," he says on his blog. "It turns us all back into an audience again."

Now I don't mind being an audience from time to time. I read The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo on Kindle. I watch Damages on cable. I see Avatar in 3D in the movies. But I don't need another expensive screen to do that. I also love to create online with blogging, tweeting, connecting, mixing, collaborating. Until Apple upgrades and opens up the iPad, I won't be able to do the generative thing on that screen.

So.....

New Jobs In The Economic Recovery? Try Communications

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on April 6, 2010

Mike Mandel is the best economist I know and he's predicting that the fastest growing job segment in the recovery that is starting will be in communications.

Mike's Second Law of Booms and Busts says that jobs that tend to recover in the bust also tend to lead the boom. So, looking at the stats that are being published now on new job growth, what does Mike see? The latest batch of stats from Washington show a surge of jobs in the broad categories of "internet publishing and search," "computer systems design," and "wireless."

Mike is interpreting these numbers to mean that a broadly-defined media boom will lead the US economy for the years ahead. By "media," he includes health-care related apps (Future Well), mobile payments via cell phones, and all Facebook-Google-Apple platform stuff.


I would also include education, which is undergoing a massive de-massing and switch to social media platforms. When you add the University of Phoenix and IDEO together (they've partnered), you get massive change. And I would add government as well. Yep, a big chunk of business now being picked up by the innovation consultancies such as IDEO is federal government business. This will boom as states and cities join the revolution.

Very cool analysis by Mike--who is forming his own media company called Visible Economy--to play his hunch. Hear that VCs?

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About

Want to stop talking about innovation and learn how to make it work for you? Bruce Nussbaum takes you deep into the latest thinking about innovation and design with daily scoops, provocative perspectives and case studies. Nussbaum is at the center of a global conversation on the growing discipline of innovation and the deepening field of design thinking. Read him to discover what social networking works—and what doesn’t. Discover where service innovation is going and how experience design is shaping up. Learn which schools are graduating the most creative talent and which consulting firms are the hottest. And get his take on what the smartest companies are doing in the U.S., Asia and Europe, far ahead of the pack.

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