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April 2012

I was going to buy leather patches for the tweed jacket ...

By Dave Snowden  ·  April 4, 2012  ·  Memories

Yainnis Gabriel recent reflection on his 2008 article in Organisational Studies triggered some thoughts on my own presentation style over the years, and some good memories.  I still remember my first public presentation at the age of 10 on the 14th October 1964 on the stage in Bryn Coch Primary School.  It was a mock election and I was the Labour Candidate, and one of the few to present a political platform rather than promise free sweets and extended playtime.  I'm pleased to say I won handsomely and the next day saw the first...

Continued…

Exaptation & managed serendipity: II

By Dave Snowden  ·  April 2, 2012  ·  Science, Innovation, Reflections

In this second of three posts on exaptation I am going to continue to build on reporting discussions and ideas that came out of the Durham conference.  In the final post I'll pick up on what I presented (and what I wish I had thought of presenting at the time) on managed serendipity.

Probably the most difficult thing for people to grasp about exaptation is that it means that many things did not evolve for a purpose; survival of the fortuitous not survival of the fittest (which goes a long way to understanding the British Class...

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The wise fool

By Dave Snowden  ·  April 1, 2012  ·  Musings

Back in 1977 I was in the SCM office (of which I was then Student President), then located in a near commune in Wick Court near Bristol.  Someone walked across the field to pick up the Guardian and we found one of the best All Fool's Day ever, namely the fictional island of San Serif, pictured.  The BBC's famous Panorama report on the Spaghetti harvest is probably the most outstanding journalistic spoof, and still brings a tear to the eye, but the Sans Serif was up there.   A few people were taken in back in 1977.  We were after all...

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Exaptation & managed serendipity: I

By Dave Snowden  ·  April 1, 2012  ·  Science, Interdisciplinary, Innovation, Reflections

The feather original evolved for regulation of temperature, but then evolved for flight.  In 1942 a scientist at Raytheon was testing a magnetron, a key component of radar, and noticed that a candy bar melted in his pocket.  The next day he experimented with a egg which burst and spattered hot yolk over his face; thus was the microwave oven was born.  Scientists at Pfizer's Sandwich research establishment (I was within 24 hours of working there during my IBM days but that is a story for another day) were able to synthesise the...

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