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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

Innovative Independence

Jul 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? 


Around Independence Day, WNET Channel 13 Public Television aired a one-man dramatic impersonation of Thomas Paine, whom EVERYONE in this country should at least know OF, as one of the brightest minds behind the American Revolution and Founding Fathers of the United States.  Perhaps best known for his pamphlet, “Common Sense,” the play is called “To Start the World Over Again.” 
I’ve written about some such thing here before.  Transformation of information (through illustrative anecdotes and analogies) begets transformation of self, which begets tansformation of the world, has come up more than once.  Conjecture occasionally turns up in an article here and there: What would Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Paine, and the rest think if they somehow returned to America today?  Anyone would have to be impressed by many of our accomplishments, BUT … what about the government they created, and the society run by it?
On the other hand, the right to vote was once tied to ownership of property, smack dab in the Consitution, according to Paine.  (Who reads the Constitution nowadays?)  He gives the example of a man losing that right when he sells his ass.  That’s a donkey.  Does the right to vote belong to the man or his ass? 
What ain’t so funny, folks, is how far from as blissful the world could be for everyone, it really is.  That’s of course because a few have so much, and so many have so little.  I once read that 30,000 children a day starve to death.  Maybe it was in a year.  Does that matter?  Starvation is pretttty gruesome.  Yet we let it go on, unabated, not even noticed!.  Even the vast majority of reasonably comfortable people would be stupendously better off if the wealth that, after all, they generate—true though it may be that someone created the opportunity for them to generate it—were divided up more evenly. 
We’re rightfully concerned about the environment.  The amount of money spent on it is, let’s just say, significant.  Lots of money is also spent on alleviating suffering, it’s true, BUT … anyone in their right mind has to feel that much much more could be done to eliminate it altogether.  Wouldn’t everyone like to?  Clearly, the people with the power to do so won’t, so The Question is, Where are the people who organized Occupy Wall Streets all around the country?  Where ate the writers and influential artists and songwriters?  How did we come to the lethargy that silences us?  People are still concerned about Civil Rights.  Lincoln considered them to apply to e-v-e-r-y-o-n-e, not just Americans.
One of the past posts was about Innovative Disruption, with a seeringly insightful article about it by a Hahvahd pr’fessor, wond’rin’ why it ain’t investigated—even thought about—more thoroughly, deeply, vividly, and clearly.  Has the infinite internet, for all its vaunted glories, done more to separate us from each other, in our own little social media worlds, than connect us, as it is purported to do?  I also mentioned in a post one of our very own pr’fessahs in the Technology and Socity Department, whatever it’s called, having written a book on what she calls the Virtual Index, which seems solely about that phenomena in the workplace. 
Old saying: you have to take the good with the bad, BUT … must we take it ALL?  If you know it’s going to rain, you bring an umbrella.  When you walk down dark, deserted city streets, you’re on your guard.  I grew up in a posh section of Queens, but hung out throughout my adolescence in an area, which I was later told was the only part of the city with a separate police precinct just for juveniles, where I went to junior high and high school, and acquired a walk that distinctly indicated not to mess with me, without being so pronounced as to seem like an affectation, or bluff.  It’s stood me in good stead many a time since then when I found myself on such a street, passing by the questionable characters who frequent them.

I’m no archaeologist, BUT … even if there is no record of storytelling as far back as the famous cave paintings in France, they themselves have so strong a narrative element to them, depicting activities that such people engaged in, one can safely suppose that they talked about what they were doing the same way.  There is significant research about the healing benefits of storytelling, to the point that people who’ve been traumatized recover better when they throw away what they write about it, so bound to them are the words about the trauma, which they expel by eradicating them.
It’s a process, not just a product.  As I’ve mentioned many a time, like cooking, gardening, dancing, and most everything else, telling stories a certain way makes all the difference.  Vitually all the posts, at least those up until this year when I’ve been busy finalizing a book on the subject, apply one set of components or another in that process to various facets of work and life.  Virtually everything you read, including these posts, exemplify the process.  In fact, since that is the one Common Bond between every expert in every field, that is obviously The Key Skill of All Skills—my book title—to learn, not the varying advice that those experts tout.  More space is devoted in them to illustrative anecdotes and analogies, sowing you what ou don’t understand in perspective with what you already know, than actual exposition.  Start reading THAT, not just the content on the surface.  Then, again like cooking, gardening, dancing, and most everything else, it takes practice.
Kinda funny, isn’t it, in a not so funny sorta way, considering how much time and effort—and money—people put into becoming educated, most if not all of which is based on common characteristics, and how often we hear throughout it to “stick with” something, yet rarely learn how to apply what we learn in one venue to others, the way everything we read does.  Guess What: the basic components of every story are the same as those in every situation: characters, actions, setting, and time frames, which form an easy to remember acronym: CAST.  Basketball is dribbling, passing, shooting, and rebounding.  Ah, there’s the rub: using the right ones at the right times, in the right amounts, the right ways makes ALL the difference.  Likewise, dem characters, actions, settings, and time frames.
Need I add that other posts delineate common characteristics of more intricate components of stories.  The Idea is for YOU to discover more and more of them, yourselves!
I’m finishing this soon after Bastille Day.  “Tear Down the Walls” is a theme that runs throughout history.  They keep popping back up because we never get to the walls between us all.  Every song tells a story, every magazine article and book tell bunches of them.  They are how we tear down the walls.  If everyone learned it, the world would be a far happier, more productive place.

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