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Innovation & Institutions, Will it Blend?
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Industries Not Worth Saving - U.S. Whaling: An Innovation Story for Today, The Atlantic

Industries Not Worth Saving - U.S. Whaling: An Innovation Story for Today, The Atlantic | Innovation & Institutions, Will it Blend? | Scoop.it

"An extinct business offers surprisingly current lessons about the triumph of technology, the future of work, and the inevitable decline of industries that might not be worth saving."


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...the vessel's technology had become so easy to maneuver, even an unwashed cannibal could use it.

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In context, consider the companion predatory for-profit higher education news - taking advantage of the GI bill for returning vets and producing, for some vets, what turns out to a worthless degree, with considerable debt, and slim job prospects.


Excerpts: 


BLUBBER!    Fat had never made a city so flush.

In the mid-nineteenth century, New Bedford, Mass., was the center of the whaling universe and the richest city per capita in the United States -- if not in the world, according to one 1854 American newspaper. The US whaling industry grew by a factor of fourteen between 1816 and 1850.


Innovations in winch technology made it easier to pull in or let out large sails, reducing the number of skilled workers needed to man a vessel.


...Winch tinkerings practically made the book Moby Dick possible. Melville could realistically populate his book with shady, far-flung, ragtag characters precisely because the vessel's technology had become so easy to maneuver, even an unwashed cannibal could use it.


Other featured innovations:

  • Americans sailed bigger and better ships, guided by smarter ocean cartography and more precise charts.
  • ...whale captains were innovators in employee compensation. 
  • ...tinkerings with harpoon technology led to the invention of the iron toggle harpoon, an icon of 19th-century whaling.


Decline wasn't in the rise of the oil/petroleum economy, it was:

  • US workers got too darn expensive, and other countries stole our share of the whale business.
  • Between the 1860s and the 1880s the wages of average US workers grew by a third, making us three times more expensive than your typical Norwegian seaman.
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Top 10 Things That Women Invented | HowStuffWorks

Top 10 Things That Women Invented | HowStuffWorks | Innovation & Institutions, Will it Blend? | Scoop.it

Do you know the top 10 things that women invented? 

 

After overcoming hurdles for centuries, such as husbands listed as inventors for their wives' creations  and property laws prevented women from acquiring patents - we do have a LIST to share & inspire:

 

Excerpts:

 

10: Circular Saw - Shaker, Tabitha Babbitt

 

7: The Compiler and COBOL Computer Language - Admiral Grace Murray Hopper

 

5: The Square-bottomed Paper Bag - Margaret Knight

 

3: Windshield Wiper - Mary Anderson

 

1: Kevlar -  Stephanie Kwolek

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Innovation versus Invention > Real Innovators Sell & Ship | GSchirr

Innovation versus Invention > Real Innovators Sell & Ship | GSchirr | Innovation & Institutions, Will it Blend? | Scoop.it

The incredible story of Xerox and the Apple MacIntosh computer illustrating the difference between invention and innovation:

 

Excerpt:    Xerox invented the Mac.

 

...Corporate Xerox was unimpressed with the Alto (computer.)  It was expensive, and who needed a personal computer anyway? “Personal computer” sounded like “personal aircraft carrier.”

 

They had made an easy-to-use computer that spoke pictures instead of numbers. Jobs saw that a cheap version of this elegant computer might be gigantically popular and hugely important.

 

Xerox saw no potential in the device so they let the Apple Engineers come in and see their wonderful invention!

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