Innovation

Thank you Andrew W for sending me this link (see video above). In it, he explains 2020b.com’s innovative projects in urban housing/architecture, school buildings and effecient/clean energy.

It was a response to a column I wrote which I will paste below:

Getting an “F” in innovation

HOPE that our best and brightest would be back on a track to save the world began to spring eternal after the financial collapse of late 2008. With Wall Street guys in Brooks Brothers suits getting pink slips, young turks graduating from top MBA schools re-directed into teaching, nonprofits, even manufacturing.

Now that the financial industry is back on its feet and the smell of bonus checks very much in the air, the future Masters of the Universe are flocking to Wall Street faster than you can say “TARP bailout.” Credit the adroit reporting of Daniel Gross of Yahoo Finance, who recently reported that 34 percent of Harvard Business School’s Class of 2010 are taking financial services jobs. That not quite as bad as 41 percent from the Class of 2008, right before the crash.

There is something very wrong with our country’s human capital if its primary goal is earning $1 million before age 30 or a yacht by 35. Plus, these brightest and best are doing it through sleight-of-hand management techniques at hedge funds and investment houses, and by inventing casino-like financial instruments that make them rich but turn hardworking homeowners poor.

What good is it for our country to boast the best universities in the world if this is the result? This is not innovation. It’s manipulation, resulting in a richer upper class and a lot of unemployed middle class. Meanwhile, the problems of a trade deficit and a receding manufacturing base, soaring gasoline prices and pending environmental damage remain.
On Thanksgiving Day, I excitedly asked my wife’s younger cousin about electric cars, namely the new Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt, both being sold to the public this month.
“Ah, they are a waste. A big waste,” he said, proceeding to tell me the challenges of creating an on-road infrastructure of electric charging stations. He said these cars would never succeed without automatic electric charging from beneath Southern California’s freeways.

“Why don’t you invent that?” I said, half-jokingly.

I’m seriously concerned about the lack of innovation coming from our college students. If they are as pessimistic as my wife’s young cousin about advancements in electric cars, or only focused on selfish pursuits as those Harvard MBAs, we are in big trouble.
Schools should be where our next inventors come from. Unfortunately, both Bill Gates of Microsoft and Mark Zuckerberg, creator of Facebook, the social media site, were Harvard dropouts. Had they stayed I might be still punching this out on a typewriter instead of a computer.

But don’t misunderstand. The social networking advances are not so revolutionary. So a lonely Zuckerberg produced a software where people can hide behind a screen and “friend” someone without ever speaking to them, seeing them or touching them? That’s not innovation, it’s isolation.

Is it really innovative, as T-Mobile 4G smart phone ads say, to brag “you can video chat without needing Wi-Fi?” I mean, how many people video chat? Or want to. I don’t.
Instead, we need people inventing new kinds of food that don’t make us so fat. Or energy alternatives that release us from our dependence on foreign oil.

I’d settle for a new ethics directive from Harvard and every other business school, condemning the invention of financial trickery. Or a mission statement that encourages graduates to aid small business and American manufacturers. I learned about Cal State Fullerton’s Mihaylo School of Business educating hotels on how to be greener and teaching “soft skills” that improve management practices and increase understanding in multicultural L.A. and I felt a little better.

I want to see college kids graduate and become the next Alan Cocconi, the man who founded AC Propulsion in San Dimas, which helped build BMW’s Mini E electric prototype.

Without innovation from the next generation, our country is dead in the water. It was with these thoughts swimming in my head that I gave the man at the Nissan Leaf display at the L.A. Auto Show my name and e-mail so he could put me on the waiting list. I want to be part of the solution.

This entry was posted in environment, land use, Pasadena by Steve Scauzillo. Bookmark the permalink.

About Steve Scauzillo

I love journalism. I've been working in journalism for 32 years. I love communicating and now, that includes writing about environment, transportation and the foothill/Puente Hills communities of Hacienda Heights, Rowland Heights, Walnut and Diamond Bar. I write a couple of columns, one on fridays in Opinion and the other, The Green Way, in the main news section. Send me ideas for stories. Or comments. I was opinion page editor for 12 years so I enjoy a good opinion now and then.

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