Monthly Archives: March 2013

Top 11 reasons you should ignore top 10 or top 100 lists: Metropolis Mag:

Last month, Public Interest Design named me as one of the top 100 people re-imagining the world. As honored as I am – and please do put me on all your lists! – I couldn’t help but think that “top” lists are exactly the opposite of innovation. Herewith, the top 11 reasons to ignore all those lists that you’re not on.

11. Lists are issued by the kind of people who are always talking. Innovation comes from those at the fringes who don’t have time to write lists. Do you think Alexander Graham Bell was worrying about other scientists’ ideas when he invented the telephone—or was he following his hunch that one might be able to hear sound over a wire?

10. Lists describe the world in generalities. Innovation comes from attending to detail. Apple engineers optically scanned people’s ear cavities, built 100 mockups of the Apple EarPod, and then asked more than 600 people to jump up and down, run, shake their heads—all with the intention to create the recently introduced earplug that stays in the ear in all in extreme heat and extreme cold. Can you put that process in a list item?

9. Lists are limited. The best idea is sometimes number 1,203. In 1946, frustrated with leaky cloth diapers, Marion O’Brien Donovan—in a desperate last resort—cut up the shower curtain in her bathroom and sewed a diaper to prevent leaks. Many iterations later, she patented the first reusable diaper cover made from nylon parachute cloth. The “boater,” as she called it, was the precursor to today’s disposable diaper. What if Donovan had stopped at iteration ten? Would we still be leaking?

Read the full article at Metropolis Magazine 4 Daily Habits of Game Changing Social Innovators

When we think about social innovation, we tend to focus on the outcomes—assistive technology for the blind, work for the underemployed, housing for the homeless. But it’s people who work day after day to come up with new ideas and realize better solutions to social challenges. What are these changemakers doing on a day-to-day basis, when not receiving MacArthur Genius Grants for their work? And could you be doing the same? Read the article at