LET GO AT THE TOP

To maximize innovation, maximize the fringes.

Encourage borders, outskirts, and temporary isolation where the voltage of difference can spark the new. The principle of skunk works plays a vital role in the network economy. By definition a network is one huge edge. It has no fixed center. As the network grows it holds increasing opportunities for protected backwaters where innovations can hatch, out of view but plugged in. Once fine-tuned, the innovation can replicate wildly. The global dimensions of the network economy means that an advance can be spread quickly and completely through the globe. The World Wide Web itself was created this way. The first software for the web was written in the relative obscurity of an academic research station in Geneva, Switzerland. Once it was up and running in their own labs in 1991, it spread within six months to computers all around the world.

 

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This is a blog version of a book of mine first published in 1998. I am re-issuing it (two posts per week) unaltered on its 10th anniversary. Comments welcomed. More details here.
-- KK