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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

Sidetrack Innovations

Jan 18 2017

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?  

When I was young, people spoke of immorality.

All the things they said were wrong are what I want to be.
from "Over Under Sideways Down," The Yardbirds

Who here knows what’s going on in the physics or art departments these days?  Or don’t innovations in one sphere influence others, anymore?  Or you just don’t know how they do?  Maaaybe the professors didn’t cover that … specifically, or neglected to spell it out for you.  May-hay-hay-be there’s a LOT of Good Information caught BETWEEN all the cracks in EVERY education, and it’s YOOOUR business to scrape it out.  May-hay-hay-oy-vay-be you were supposed to have figured that out long ago.  Oh my goodness: maybe--just maybe—THAT’S The Real Difference between The People Who Make A Difference and the ones who wonder why they never got a chance to.  
And whadaya know: there’s a heckuvan innovation for one of you to institute: teachers in every classroom throughout the land ought to be pointing this out to students at every grade level all the time, drumming it into them, inculcating it into their attentiveness, so it becomes second nature to listen between the lines.
Guess What: every manager or client prospect you ever face can tell in a heartbeat WHICH of them you ARE!  It’s in your very voice and the presence—the energy, vitality, character, and a whooole lotta other stuff—you project, as plainly as they see the same face you do in a mirror.  If you haven’t been able to bring yourself to escape the box you’re in here, how can you hope to escape everyone noticing, who has, their own?
Guess What again: more Fortune 500 CEOs’ education and background are from the Engineering ranks than Business ones like Marketing, Finance, or Innovation.  Look closer: I could be wrong, BUT … to my knowledge, there is no such thing as an Engineering degree, per se, but different kinds of them, like Mechanical, Electrical, Chemical, or what not.  You could sauy, Oh yeeeah?  We graduate with a Marketing, Finance, Innovation, or what not one, too, so theeere!  It might make an interesting project, to see who knows more about what’s going on OUTSIDE their box within the box, business or engineering students.  Take it one step further: who know what’s going on outside their college?  Is engineering inherently even more innovating than focusing on the business of innovating?  It’s hard enough, being in the wrong box; not knowing you are is adding insult to injury.  But why go to all the trouble of such a study when you can mosey right over to all those schools and do your homework there, instead of piped into iTunes or Moon Goons.  How else would you ever find out?  You just might learn something, like for instance that art, not gold, not real estate, the stock markets, even business, is historically the best investment.  Of course, like anything, it helps to at least know something about what you’re doing, and the more you know, the better you generally fare.  Who knows?  You juust may learn something about innovativeness, as well.  One would think, for example, looking at, say, Pop Art, that innovations spread like wildfire, the same as they seem to in both the technical and managerial operations of Silicon Valley.  That doesn’t seem to be the case throughout most of the rest of the corporate world.  To the contrary, so many CEOs of companies big enough to topple the entire world economy marched straight into the same doodoo, one after another, as to raise suspicions that disregarding what was going on around them was virtually axiomatic.  Who knows?  If only someone had given them the same advice that I’m now giving you, when they were in school, the whole debacle might not have happened.  Be which as it may, it may spare you your own.

Yes, I’ve sung a similar tune before, BUT … no more so than are Rhapsody in Blue and An American in Paris.  If you don’t even know of the two most renowned pieces of American music, much less are familiar enough with them to at least play their beginning in your head, you should ask a sampling of professors you respect whether that alone is a significant indicator of a decided disconnect for someone attending a respected university.  Knowing those works and many others not only enhances, but facilitates approaching and examining subjects from similar angles differently, the way they do.  How else do you think The People Who Make A Difference get to see things differently?  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: if you can’t put 2 and 2 together, nothing much else adds up.  The more latitude you have, to grab them from, the better are your chances of putting good ones together innovatively.
Kinda funny, ain’t it, that maybe no MBA program devotes one single class to how the many truly great filmmakers use different angles and approaches to achieve various results.  They are not only regarded far and wide as innovators of cinema, but of mankind’s very consciousness of consciousness!  There should be an entire course devoted just to that in every MBA program, in recognition of the absolutely incontrovertible fact that your consciousness more than anything determines your success.  All the knowledge you’re acquiring is only as useful as your consciousness of what is going on around and inside you and the people around you. 
Can any student dispute that all the books you study in every course approach similar subjects from different angles?  How do you expect to survive, let alone thrive, without that skill, after al the expense and effort you put into getting your hotsy-totsy degree?  Do you think that just studying them transmits the skill by osmosis?  ALL athletes and performing artists devote more time to improving the underlying skills to what audiences see them do than the actual skills involved in doing it.  You can’t perform music or drama if you can’t play or act first.  Nor can you manage or innovate if you don’t continually see what’s going on from new angles.

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

Phone: 631.632.7171
Fax: 631.632.8181