New Computing Revolution, 25 Small Steps to Innovation, Skilled Observation

A few great recent links from Cognitive Design

Will baby Watson Create a Cognitive Revolution?

IBM believes success with Watson in multiple domains will trigger a new computing revolution, one focused on cognitive computing systems. Such systems will do for knowledge work what the early data oriented systems did for transactional work.  The goal is not to replace human experts but to vastly amplify their reach and effectiveness.

25 Small Steps to Innovation Calling

Finding or creating an  innovation calling takes time. And you need certain skills and habits of mind to do it.   While you most likely won’t find it by reading a book you can cultivate the skills and habits needed to eventually develop one.

The work is guided by a set of 25 knowledge cards. The knowledge cards describe a proven practice for getting in touch with your innovation calling. The idea is to build these practices into your daily routine until they form habits.

Are you a skilled Observer?

How often do you really pay attention to what you see, touch, smell, taste and hear? And when you do pay attention how do you do it? Do you use specific tools and techniques?   If you want to be an effective designer or innovator you need to be an active observer. Indeed, good observation skills are important for all professions and everyday life.

LinkLog: Do What You Love

From a Non-Programmer’s Apology, Aaron produces one of the best articles I have read – “To be or not to be” a programmer.

Learning is like compound interest. A little bit of knowledge makes it easier to pick up more. Knowing what addition is and how to do it, you can then read a wide variety of things that use addition, thus knowing even more and being able to use that knowledge in a similar manner.5 And so, the growth in knowledge accelerates.6 This is why children who get started on something at a young age, as Mozart did, grow up to have such an advantage.

But there is another, more important motivator – interest.

And even if (highly implausibly) we were able to control the circumstances in which all children grew up so as to maximize their ability to perform the most important tasks, that still would not be enough, since in addition to aptitude there is also interest.

A quote in his notes, provides some clue on how to tackle such dilemmas – where you are good at one thing but would really like to do something else.

“when it comes to choosing a life path, you should do what you love — because if you don’t love it, you are unlikely to work hard enough to get very good. Most people naturally don’t like to do things they aren’t ‘good’ at. So they often give up, telling themselves they simply don’t possess the talent for math or skiing or the violin. But what they really lack is the desire to be good and to undertake the deliberate practice that would make them better.”

Related The Definition of Work (originally titled “It is hard to find work you love”)