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What I am Reading: December 2017 – Innovation, Improv, Media, Cyber Conflict, Urban Conflict, and Post-Conflict Growth


Here are the articles I find most interesting in December 2017:

Great Ideas Are Getting Harder to Find – 12/20/2017, MIT Sloan Management Review

According to Nicholas Bloom, Chad Jones, John Van Reenen, and Michael Webb warn about a decline in research advancements in the US. They write “U.S. research efforts are rising substantially while research productivity is sharply declining”. While investments in new fields are cheap, continuing to find advancements costs more money. The difficult part is that money in R&D is money diverted from keeping market share. But companies need to make that investment lest they allow themselves to be caught flatfooted by innovation.

The coolest government org you’ve never heard of – 12/28/2017, Policy Options

An interesting organization in the Canadian government that postulates about social technology and innovation. By bring together some of the biggest and brightest minds in Canada, they hope to be ahead of issues that hinder societies from reaching their full potential.

Four Career Lessons I Learned From 14 Months Of Improv Classes – 11/30/2017, Fast Company

This is a fantastic article from marketer Mike Proulx. Proulx lists his most important takeaways from his 14-month experience in impov. Among the lessons Proulx learned was Mastering Small Talk, Learning how to Communicate an Informed Point of View, Show Not Tell, and the Unknown is an Opportunity.

The Other Tech Bubble – 12/16/2017,

Writer Erin Griffith writes about the changing perceptions of tech start-ups. Whereas once they were highly regarded as saviors of the 21st Century, bad headlines, bad moral decisions, and bad management has ruined the public’s opinions of tech companies. But as Griffith reports, tech business leaders don’t see the change in perception and believe everything is still optimistic.

The Science of Influence: How Social Media Affects Decision Making in the Healthcare, Travel, Retail and Financial Industries – 12/11/2017, Institute for Public Relations

A very interesting look at how social media is used and influences choices in various industries. The researchers looked at “healthcare, financial, travel (personal not business), and retail. The results were segmented by four generations: Millennials, Generation X, Baby Boomers, and the Silent Generation.” People asked most often about travel and of course millennials listened and asked for opinions the most.

A Glossary for the Misinformation Age – 12/22/2017, HackerNoon

An absolutely great list of terms and definitions of “misinformation” – defining everything from Conspiracy Theories to Fake News to Parody to Satire to Trolls.

The Year of Investing in Processes – Nieman Lab

Friend of this site Sam Ford details his ideas that 2018 will be the year media re-evaluates their processes. For Sam, this means media outlets understanding their scale and plugging back in to their local and niche audiences. Sam’s goal is to reconnect citizens with news outlets. For example, local news doesn’t need national news processes. Not everything should be spreadable nationally. Finally, Sam lists several examples where these actions are starting to occur.

When the War Comes, What Should We Civilians Do? – 12/29/2017, Defense One

Elisabeth Braw writes an interesting article about the need for a civilian defense force in the United States. According to Braw, the military can’t defend the entire nation from various non-military attacks. Cyber and Information defenses need to be the responsibility of a civilian force. Admirable premise, but I don’t think the organization is necessary. Creating a “defense force” puts the military in charge, which I don’t think needs to be the case. Corporations, non-military government bodies, and individuals (non-government elements) should be aware of their own defense. They should share intelligence and best practices without the need for a formal element.

The Labs That Protect Against Online Warfare – 1/3/2017, BBC Future Now

A rundown of the growing cybersecurity threat and some of the organizations that are helping defend against it.

Iran’s Cyber Threat: Espionage, Sabotage, and Revenge – 1/4/2018, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

A detailed report on Iran’s reach and capabilities in the cyber domain. Cyber attacks are low-cost, high-impact, low barrier of entry and level the playing field between powerful and not-so-powerful nations. It is obvious that nations with differing intentions would use them.

The Internet of Things Is Going to Change Everything About Cybersecurity – 12/18/2017, Harvard Business Review

A good look at how cybersecurity affects businesses from a business perspective. Writer Yevgeny Dibrov discusses the balance between Productivity and Security, the Human-Security relationship, as well as how patterns and, to an extent, how Artificial Intelligence can assist in the growing issue of security.

Old Dogs, New Tricks: Urban Warfare in Turkey’s War with the PKK – 1/3/2018,

A detailed look at the history and progression of Turkey’s conflict with the Kurdistan Worker’s Party of Turkey. For over 30 years, the Kurds of Turkey have engaged a low-intensity conflict with the Turkish government. This conflict has moved from the rural regions to Turkey’s urban areas. Suggestions are given on what to do and how to defuse this long-standing ordeal.

Post-Traumatic Growth: How Combat Made Me and Other Veterans Better People – 12/7/2017,

I enjoyed this article a lot. It discusses how the stresses of deployment and combat situations made military members better people. Writer Jim Craig discusses how he became stronger mentally, physically, and emotional from the stress of being in a combat zone.