Posts Tagged ‘Intellectual Property’

On Diffusion of Innovations

In Education, Interdisciplinary Science, Research and Development, Startup on May 10, 2013 at 1:57 AM

Diffusion of Innovations is a remarkable book by Everett M. Rogers. It is also a field of study and research where questions related to the diffusion of innovations through different groups of people and cultures are studied. This theory seeks to explain how innovations spread, how they are adopted or rejected, their social impact and the rate at which these processes occur over a period of time. This book has plenty of examples of innovations that diffused and those that did not. Notable examples include the idea of water boiling that the public health service in Peru wanted to promote in a Peruvian village and failed in doing so; non-diffusion of the Dvorak keyboard; the relatively successful STOP AIDS campaign in San Francisco in the mid-1980s etc. Note that the use of the term innovation  is not restricted to technological innovations only. According to Rogers, “An  innovation is an idea, practice, or object that is perceived as new by an individual or other unit of adoption“.

Technologists and engineers generally think that a new idea will sell itself, that advantageous innovations will be quickly adopted. However, this is seldom the case and the adoption, in general, is slow. This is a fact that is of relevance to many start ups. There are social and cultural aspects of innovation that have a big influence on its adoption. Influencing the adopters involves not only relevant marketing but also addressing social, cultural and economic issues. Of course the range of issues to be addressed depends on the innovation that we are trying to sell or promote.

It would come as a surprise to many that Everett M. Rogers was not from business or engineering background. He was a scholar in  communications and sociology!

Responsible Student, Responsible Employee

In Education on May 5, 2012 at 11:23 PM

Every year thousands of freshly minted graduates enter the workforce. Universities and other educational institutions teach them many things some of which
end up being used during their worklife and many do not. There is an increasing emphasis on ethics in education and research these days. This is a rather new trend in education and research. Students and university researchers are being taught, advised and counselled to maintain moral integrity in their work. However, one issue that is grossly unaddressed by educational institutions is related to workplace ethics and responsibilities. Many students enter the workforce with little knowledge of such issues. It is very important for them to understand the implications of their actions beyond assigned duties when employed. Industrial or corporate espionage is a growing concern in all highly technical and specialised fields. The duties and responsibilities of employees play a significant role in arresting industrial espionage. Employees may commit such acts on purpose as well as inadvertently. As an example for the latter, one has heard cases of iPhone test sets being lost by mistake etc. in the recent past. It is also important for workplace managers to frame appropriate policies and share the relevant rationale with employees to protect intellectual property. My article titled “Understanding Industrial Espionage for Greater Technological and Economic Security” has been published in the May-June 2012 issue of IEEE Potentials. It seeks to expose students and fresh graduates to different aspects of industrial espionage to enable them to develop some understanding of and appreciation for this issue. It will prove really useful in a world where intellectual property carries very high premium.