Social Innovation: The Lab Without Wall
Steinmetz’s technology-driven science is anathema to many academic scientists.
Steinmetz’s innovation also led to the “lab without walls,” which is America’s specific, and major, contribution to very large scientific and technological programs. The first of these, conceived and managed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s former law partner, Basil O’Connor, was the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis (March of Dimes), which tackled polio in the early 1930s. This project continued for more than twenty-five years and brought together in a planned, step-by-step effort a large number of scientists from half a dozen disciplines, in a dozen different locations across the country, each working on his own project but with in a central strategy and under overall direction.
This then established the pattern for the great World War II projects: the RADAR lab, the Lincoln Laboratory, and, most massive of them all, the Manhattan Project for atomic energy. Similarly, NASA organized a “research lab without walls” when this country decided, after Sputnik, to put a man on the moon. Steinmetz’s technology-driven science is still highly controversial problem emerges, for example, when AIDS suddenly became a major medical problem in 1984-85.
ACTION POINT: Terrorism is a major social problem confronting the civilized world. How can this problem be turned into a “Manhattan” type R and D project?
Research Laboratory: Obsolete?
Technologies crisscross industries and travel incredibly fast.
What accounts for the decline in the number of major corporate research labs? The company-owned research laboratory was one of the nineteenth century’s most successful inventions. Now many research directors, as well as high-tech industrialists, tend to believe that such labs are becoming obsolete. Why? Technologies crisscross industries and travel incredibly fast, making few of them unique anymore. And increasingly, the knowledge needed in a given industry comes out of some totally different technology with which, very often, the people in the past are becoming obsolete.
The research laboratory of the big telephone companies, the famous Bell Laboratories of the U.S., was for many decade the source of all major innovations in the telephone industry. But no one in that industry worked on fiberglass cables or had ever heard of them. They were developed by a glass company. Corning. Yet they have revolutionized communications worldwide.
ACTION POINT: Scan the environment for a technology developed in another industry that can help you now.
“A banker is a fellow who lends you his umbrella when the sun is shining, but wants it back the minute it begins to rain.”
“In this world . . .
It’s Heaven when:
The French are chefs
The British are police
The Germans are engineers
The Swiss are bankers
And the Italians are lovers
It’s Hell when:
The English are chefs
The Germans are police
The French are engineers
The Swiss are lovers
And the Italians are bankers.”
“Choose a leader who will invest in building bridges, not walls. Books, not weapons. Morality, not corruption. Intellectualism and wisdom, not ignorance. Stability, not fear and terror. Peace, not chaos. Love, not hate. Convergence, not segregation. Tolerance, not discrimination. Fairness, not hypocrisy. Substance, not superficiality. Character, not immaturity. Transparency, not secrecy. Justice, not lawlessness. Environmental improvement and preservation, not destruction. Truth, not lies.”
“3 people get stranded on a remote Island
A Banker, a Daily Mail reader & an Asylum seeker
All they have to eat is a box of 10 Mars bars
The Banker says “Because of my expertise in asset management, I”ll look after our resources”
The other 2 agree
So the Banker opens the box, gobbles down 9 of the Mars bars and hands the last one to the Daily Mail reader
He then says ” I’d keep an eye on that Asylum seeker, he’s after your Mars Bar”
“How long will it be necessary to pay City men so entirely out of proportion to what other servants of society commonly receive for performing social services not less useful or difficult?”
John Maynard Keynes
“Suckers think that you cure greed with money, addiction with substances, expert problems with experts, banking with bankers, economics with economists, and debt crises with debt spending”
Nassim Nicholas Taleb
“A great leader must serve the best interests of the people first, not those of multinational corporations. Human life should never be sacrificed for monetary profit. There are no exceptions. In addition, a leader should always be open to criticism, not silencing dissent. Any leader who does not tolerate criticism from the public is afraid of their dirty hands being revealed under heavy light. And such a leader is dangerous, because they only feel secure in the darkness. Only a leader who is free from corruption welcomes scrutiny; for scrutiny allows a good leader to be an even greater leader.”
“Central Bankers are driving us to Hell in a vehicle We are paying the installments on”
“A leader should always be open to criticism, not silencing dissent. Any leader who does not tolerate criticism from the public is afraid of their dirty hands to be revealed under heavy light. And such a leader is dangerous, because they only feel secure in the darkness. Only a leader who is free from corruption welcomes scrutiny; for scrutiny allows a good leader to be an even greater leader.”
“Pick a leader who will make their citizens proud. One who will stir the hearts of the people, so that the sons and daughters of a given nation strive to emulate their leader’s greatness. Only then will a nation be truly great, when a leader inspires and produces citizens worthy of becoming future leaders, honorable decision makers and peacemakers. And in these times, a great leader must be extremely brave. Their leadership must be steered only by their conscience, not a bribe.”
“In some circumstances, a focus on extrinsic rewards (money) can actually diminish effort. Most (or at least many) teachers enter their profession not because of the money but because of their love for children and their dedication to teaching. The best teachers could have earned far higher incomes if they had gone to banking. It is almost insulting to assume that they are not doing what they can to help their students learn, and that by paying them an extra $500 or $1,500, they would exert greater effort. Indeed, incentive pay can be corrosive: it reminds teachers of how bad their pay is, and those who are led thereby to focus on money may be induced to find a better paying job, leaving behind only those for whom teaching is the only alternative. (Of course, if teachers perceive themselves to be badly paid, that will undermine morale, and that will have adverse incentive effects)”
Joseph E. Stiglitz