Curious Minds: Innovation in Life and Work
About This Show
Learn from inspiring innovators who are rethinking life and work in a changing world. Each week, Gayle Allen discovers how these entrepreneurs, writers, scientists and inventors, achieve their most fascinating and inspiring breakthroughs. Have fun taking a peek into their Curious Minds!
Most Recent Episode
CM 083: Cesar Hidalgo on the Impact of Collective Learning
When it comes to economic growth, why are some countries and companies better than others?
While many experts look to factors in geography, finance, or psychology for the answers, César Hidalgo asks us to look instead at information and networks. Cesar is the author of the book, Why Information Grows: The Evolution of Order, from Atoms to Economies. He is also an Associate Professor of Media Arts & Sciences at the MIT Media Lab, where he leads the Collective Learning Group.
Cesar wants us to think about the amount of knowledge and knowhow people accumulate and the kinds of organizations where this information is stored. He and his team work on collective learning — that is, the learning of teams, organizations, cities, and nations. And he wants us to understand why building these kinds of networks and organizations can be challenging.
In this interview we discuss:
What it means to describe the objects around us as crystallized imagination
What distinguishes wealth from income and why it matters
Why the challenges of economic growth are tied to the challenges of learning in individuals and teams
Why individual skills, knowledge, and ability do not scale well and how this impacts economic growth
Why group or team knowledge trumps individual knowledge
Why it is not about knowing what needs to be done but about creating a team of people who have the knowledge and knowhow to do it
Why we can view products as alternative channels of communication in that they endow us with their knowledge — we cannot build a phone but we can communicate with one or we cannot build a plane but we can be transported by one
Our capacity as individuals is augmented and expanded by the products and tools we have access to, from running water to smartphones — channels of knowledge and comfort are transmitted through products
Economies are amplifiers of our knowledge and knowhow — just look at how few people make toothpaste yet how many use it
Our ability to create products is limited by