Innovating at Scale Requires Vision and Discipline

When your company makes the transition from "just starting out" to "taking the next step," innovation needs to remain a priority. Make sure it stays in your budget.

Every new company reaches a point where the straws have been grasped and a next major step appears imminent. It's a time when the early stages of innovating (and talking about innovating) seems to take a back seat to scaling. The company gets bigger. It doubles-down on its products. It plays with the hand its got.

But as Frank Addante explains over at Wired, a smart company knows that there's no reason why growth can't coincide with further innovation. We've talked about this subject before. You don't want to end up like Blackberry, a company that failed to be dynamic in an industry that moves as fast as a Bitcoin transfer.

Addante, the CEO of The Rubicon Project, suggests a strong and continuous financial commitment to innovation, even if you have to trick yourself into doing it:

"A solution for this is to setup a separate “savings account” for innovation. Keep your checking and savings accounts separate. In theory, there is really no reason why you shouldn’t be able to manage both in one account, right? But, the reason we create separate checking and savings accounts is because it forces discipline."

Keeping the separate savings account clean needs to be a major priority, Addante explains. It also takes a keen vision to know when and how to spend the money. The important thing is that it's there and it's earmarked for innovation -- the thing that will keep your company alive year after year after year.

Read more of Addante's article at Wired.

Photo credit: Chones / Shutterstock

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

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Why are so many objects in space shaped like discs?

It's one of the most consistent patterns in the unviverse. What causes it?

  • Spinning discs are everywhere – just look at our solar system, the rings of Saturn, and all the spiral galaxies in the universe.
  • Spinning discs are the result of two things: The force of gravity and a phenomenon in physics called the conservation of angular momentum.
  • Gravity brings matter together; the closer the matter gets, the more it accelerates – much like an ice skater who spins faster and faster the closer their arms get to their body. Then, this spinning cloud collapses due to up and down and diagonal collisions that cancel each other out until the only motion they have in common is the spin – and voila: A flat disc.

Scientists study tattooed corpses, find pigment in lymph nodes

It turns out, that tattoo ink can travel throughout your body and settle in lymph nodes.

17th August 1973: An American tattoo artist working on a client's shoulder. (Photo by F. Roy Kemp/BIPs/Getty Images)

In the slightly macabre experiment to find out where tattoo ink travels to in the body, French and German researchers recently used synchrotron X-ray fluorescence in four "inked" human cadavers — as well as one without. The results of their 2017 study? Some of the tattoo ink apparently settled in lymph nodes.

Image from the study.

As the authors explain in the study — they hail from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, and the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment — it would have been unethical to test this on live animals since those creatures would not be able to give permission to be tattooed.

Because of the prevalence of tattoos these days, the researchers wanted to find out if the ink could be harmful in some way.

"The increasing prevalence of tattoos provoked safety concerns with respect to particle distribution and effects inside the human body," they write.

It works like this: Since lymph nodes filter lymph, which is the fluid that carries white blood cells throughout the body in an effort to fight infections that are encountered, that is where some of the ink particles collect.

Image by authors of the study.

Titanium dioxide appears to be the thing that travels. It's a white tattoo ink pigment that's mixed with other colors all the time to control shades.

The study's authors will keep working on this in the meantime.

“In future experiments we will also look into the pigment and heavy metal burden of other, more distant internal organs and tissues in order to track any possible bio-distribution of tattoo ink ingredients throughout the body. The outcome of these investigations not only will be helpful in the assessment of the health risks associated with tattooing but also in the judgment of other exposures such as, e.g., the entrance of TiO2 nanoparticles present in cosmetics at the site of damaged skin."

Photo by Alina Grubnyak on Unsplash
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