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New Tech Blog: Max On Media
Max On Media is a technology-based blog written by Burke Liburt. Burke Liburt is the co-founder and CMO of SynchroPET, a biomedical device company that has licensed patented nuclear imaging technologies from Brookhaven National Laboratories. He has developed marketing strategies at television groups (Dun & Bradstreet/ ABC Television) and at his own multi-media company. Read Max On Media Now!
Stony Brook Innovation Center Blog

Innovation Time

Jul 13 2014

The most helpful topic for an Innovation Center blog would seem to be examining whether innovativeness can be instilled in people the way installing computer programs enables us to do different things, and if so, how is it downloaded, or learned?  Is there a single Skill Set underpinning all the other attributes that are identifiable in the majority of innovators, short of the few savants floating around, and even there?  Do innovations like the light bulb and Internet arise out of nowhere, or evolve as species do: putting similar things together again and again, and how is that done? 


Knowledge of the laws of happiness is higher than happiness.  That is what we must contend against.” 
Dostoevsky, “The Dream of A Ridiculous Man”

I still see adults wearing t-shirts with the Superman logo of a red “S” filling a blue pentagon.  A fellow at the gym has it tattooed on his back, just below his neck.  I hope, for his sake, that he looks as good in forty years.  The yearning for superpowers seems to be primal, to judge by the universality of mythologies and totems.
When you dunk a basketball at 5’10”, as Once Upon A Time, I was wont to do, you’ve broken the field of gravity and are flying—literally!  When someone pops your name out in an office, whom you never saw, and tells tall tales like never having missed a shot, only then giving you to realize, nigh-on half a century later, that kids from all over the city went to your high school games to watch you play, I’d say that’s pretty much the definition of a legend, however far gone it may be. 
An osprey that circles the area by my home on high, comes when I caw and hovers above the yard at treetop level, though I’ve never fed it anything but boundless admiration.  Raise an eyebrow if you like, but that same osprey swooped right in front of my car when I was leaving Long Beach in Nissequogue last month, perched on a branch not twenty feet above the road where the water ends, and stayed there through the hubbub of backing my car up, opening the door and getting out, then turned for me to take profile and frontal picture before swooping away, or at least show me what he or she is made of, up close and personal, as they say in journalism.

On page 254 of Principles of Literary Criticism, I.A. Richards states that “There is abundant evidence that removal of confusion in one sphere of activity tends to be favourable to its removal elsewhere.”  By the same token, of course, its inclusion in one sphere tends to be favorable to its inclusion elsewhere.  When I saw The Cyclone at Coney Island, once the world’s largest wooden roller coaster, sitting in the waves of the Atlantic Ocean after Hurricane Sandy, I couldn’t help but appreciate Rod Serling’s genius all the more for sticking The Statue of Liberty there at the end of Planet of the Apes.
         I was stopped in my tracks in a Hitchcockesque dolly in / zoom back at Frederick Fisher‘s take (page 302 in the 8th Edition of A First Look at Communication Theory by Em Griffin) on the way all too many of us are hoodwinked programmatically by the language used in business circles to accept unacceptable commonplaces there like putting loyalty to a business above that to our families, much the way advertising agencies convinced the public that being in debt is having credit, which not only led to widespread ruin on a personal level, but brought the whole house of cards down eventually, to illustrate the monumental significance of Language Confusion—some might say, Abuse—and how little those who do so can be trusted to anticipate its repercussions fully.  Infections tend to fester and spread when left untreated.
Being able to put 2 and 2 together enables you to discern what doesn’t add up, equally well.

Expecting the Unexpected cuts both ways: or you will never find the obstacles in your way, for they are as hard to know and difficult as opportunities you thought the proverb only hinted at, to paraphrase Heracitus.  The basic process, whenever you have an obstacle or gap between a goal and yourself—and half the twick is accepting that they are inevitable, the other half discerning when and where there is one, so you can get to the point of anticipating them—is examining your use of the fundamental elements of which reality is composed, or their derivatives: content, form, style, and tone, or through them to the characters, actions, settings, and time frames involved, then analogies to one or another of them, just as you would examine a rock, leaf, germ, or atom for certain properties, then increasingly finer details, and new alloys are created from the best properties of different elements, which offset their shortcomings.
It's always easier to solve problems when you've identified them, and easier to identify the problem in the context of a system, be it a machine, organism, organization, or discipline, when you understand how the basic parts work individually and together; easier still when you recognize their similarity to other systems, so you aren’t as easily fooled into misdiagnosing a situation and replacing the wrong part(s).  If you’ve owned a car or attended business meetings for any length of time, that may sound familiar.  Often, what appears to be the cause of a problem is actually the effect of a symptom elsewhere.  Dragging your heels can cause back pain, or curtail a career. 
Most playgrounds have basketball players with a deadly jump shot.  A handful from all the playgrounds in a vicinity have the ability to get open often enough without fudging the rules to make the shot consistently.  Fewer still combine that with a blazing first step and skill shooting layups from every angle at full speed, so opponents can’t play close enough to guard their jump shot easily, as well: a human alloy, you might say.  The impetus to develop those skills together comes from the same mental process that led to titanium bicycles and golf clubs.  Twelve-year olds can figure out that the two separate skills enhance their productivity, enjoyment, and open up all kinds of opportunities on a personal, as well as athletic level, that can be applied to every other endeavor for the rest of their lives.  So are academic and professional skills.  People with technology or financial knowledge, who lack communication skills, for example, are easily stopped in The Game of Life. 

Steve Inskeep, the host of the most listened to radio show in the country, NPR’s Morning Edition, was interviewed on the PBS show, Charlie Rose, on July 2nd 2014, whose segments are archived at CharlieRose.com.  About five minutes into the interview, he discusses The Concept behind SLOWING DOWN THE NEWS, SO IT’S MORE COMPREHENSIBLE than commercial TV news where people expect images to change as fast as they flip from computer page to page, and few TV news programs have the time to acquire the right visual scene for the news at hand.  He also discussed the significance of allowing a story to unfold, so listeners hear Several Perspectives, not only about the matter at hand, but the Several Ways it is weighed and evaluated by Different Experts with Different Approaches to weighing and evaluating them, the way things are done in universities.  
The implication is that we can likewise slow down the news we tell ourselves, the better to sow seeds that we may reap afterward.  Funny thing, how millions of people avidly try to figure out how to find happiness when it may well be more a matter of learning how not to lose it—or should I say, lose sight of it—to begin with!  Not so funny, spending decades, countless hours and dollars taking psychological approaches apart, without examining whether it is an aesthetic, composition problem of running faster than you can dribble a ball and boning up on that skill.  Obstacles are opportunities in disguise—IF you take adequate time to examine, understand, and evaluate them carefully. 



Stony Brook University Innovation Center, Stony Brook, NY 11794-3775

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