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DorobekInsider.com: The Estrin interview on innovation

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Judy Estrin, author of "Closing the Innovation Gap"

Judy Estrin

I have been going on and on about our interview with Judy Estrin, who was part of the team that actually created the Internet and is author of a new book, Closing the Innovation Gap: Reigniting the Spark of Creativity in a Global Economy. We got to have Estrin on Federal News Radio’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris today — and she was great. In fact, if there was an issue, we just didn’t have enough time. We could have spent an hour with her.

I’m not sure why I failed to mention it previously, but… my step-father worked for Estrin way back in the day on a start-up company, Bridge Communications, which was eventually bought by Cisco. Small world.

Federal News Radio PM Internet editor Dorothy Ramienski was good enough to pull together a story based on the interview. You can hear the interview for yourself there. Or you can hear the interview here [.mp3].

Next week, we’ll try and get folks from The Center for the Study of the Presidency on to talk about their report about innovation — and what the presidential candidates aren’t saying about it.

Written by cdorobek

September 16, 2008 at 8:28 PM

Posted in Technology

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DorobekInsider.com: Monday’s must-reads

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So there are 56 days until election day… 133 days until Inauguration Day… one week until Federal News Radio shifts to DC’s 1500 AM and we officially launch The Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris…

Some of today’s must reads…

* The Pentagon is trying to refocus its ability to cyber-attack as much as it cyber-defends, the LAT’s Julian E. Barnes reports this morning:

Pentagon debates development of offensive cyberspace capabilities [LAT, 09.08.2008]
The current emphasis is on intelligence gathering and defending U.S. electronic security, but some officials think the military should know how to attack other nations’ computer systems.

WASHINGTON — Igniting a provocative new debate, senior military officials are pushing the Pentagon to go on the offensive in cyberspace by developing the ability to attack other nations’ computer systems, rather than concentrating on defending America’s electronic security.

Under the most sweeping proposals, military experts would acquire the know-how to commandeer the unmanned aerial drones of adversaries, disable enemy warplanes in mid-flight and cut off electricity at precise moments to strategic locations, such as military installations, while sparing humanitarian facilities, such as hospitals.

An expansion of offensive capabilities in cyberspace would represent an important change for the military. For years, U.S. officials have been reluctant to militarize what is widely seen as a medium for commerce and communication — much like space.

But a new National Military Strategy for Cyberspace Operations, declassified earlier this year, fueled the Pentagon debate and gave the military a green light to push for expanded capabilities.

The monthslong debate took on added urgency after the electronic attacks that coincided with the Russian military’s early August push into Georgia and reflects a newfound uncertainty over the state of global cyber-warfare capabilities.

* In NYT columnist Thomas Friedman’s Sunday column, he mentions a must read: Judy Estrin’s new book, “Closing the Innovation Gap.” I mentioned last week that we are going to have Estrin on Federal News Radio’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris next Tuesday, September 16 at about 3:30p ET.

Georgia on My Mind [NYT, 09.07.2008]
Barack Obama and John McCain need to focus, not on war, but on strengthening our capacity for innovation our most important competitive advantage.

Friedman’s much anticipated new book, Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution–and How It Can Renew America, hits the bookshelfs today.

Written by cdorobek

September 8, 2008 at 9:06 AM

DorobekInsider.com: Talking about the innovation gap on the Daily Debrief

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In the coming days, we will talk about what we hope to do with Federal News Radio’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris. The Daily Debrief team have only met once — and there were a lot of creative juices flowing. So I’ll save some of the specifics about what we are going to try and do for later.

One thing we are going to do is try to stretch all of our minds just a bit — get outside of the people we talk to all the time. When I was over at Federal Computer Week, I proposed the creation of a FCW Book Club. I believe they are going to keep that idea going, thank goodness. I don’t know how well it would work on radio, to be honest, but… we are going to try and tap into thought leaders out there — people who can talk about issues that will impact how the government does its work.

Along those lines… While vacationing on Monday, I read the story in the NYT headlined Another Voice Warns of an Innovation Slowdown.

Judy Estrin, 53, has spent her entire career in Silicon Valley, a region that thrives on constant innovation. Ms. Estrin, the former chief technology officer of Cisco Systems, has founded four technology companies.

Yet she is deeply worried that Silicon Valley — and the United States as a whole — no longer foster the kind of innovation necessary to develop groundbreaking technologies and sustain economic growth.

“I am generally not an alarmist, but I have become more and more concerned about the state of our country and its innovation,” she said last week, explaining why she wrote her book, “Closing the Innovation Gap,” which arrives in bookstores Tuesday. “We have a national innovation deficit.”

I find this whole question of innovation just fascinating — and I do think there is a government angle. The government, after all, was the inventor of the Internet. And, as I noted previously, it also spurred the creation of the technology behind the company Pixar. And, coincidentally, there are probably some government uses of computer animation, I’m sure.

Government agencies are also enormous users of technology, so agencies ability to accomplish their missions depend on ongoing innovation.

(Slightly off-topic briefly: We may also try to get one of the people who have written about Pixar. There have been a lot of people writing about Pixar lately. For example, I’m just about finished reading The Pixar Touch: The Making of a Company, which I would definitely recommend. It essentially is a biography of this amazing company — and, again, I think there are some connections to how the government does business. Hollywood, after all, is a large, very conservative organization that is slow to adapt to change. Yet movies have been evolving — andPixar is an excellent example of that. Pixar uses technology, and, in fact, has been at the cutting edge of computer annimation . But in the end, technology only serves the mission — telling stories. This month’s issue of the Harvard Business Review has an excellent piece byPixar President Ed Catmull, who, I might add, is a computer scientist who makes movies. How cool is that? Catmull’s HBR piece, How Pixar Fosters Collective Creativity: Behind Pixar’s string of hit movies, says the studio’s president, is a peer-driven process for solving problems, he offers wonderful insights into how to develop a creative company. But… I’m veering way off the topic here. More on this later.)

Back to innovation… We have confirmed that during the week of September 15, we are going to have Judy Estrin on the Daily Debrief.

I just ordered her book, Closing the Innovation Gap: Reigniting the Spark of Creativity in a Global Economy, so it should arrive by the end of the week so I can be adequately prepared…

We’ll let you know the specific time when we get it nailed down… and you can always hear Federal News Radio interviews on our Web site at www.federalnewsradio.com.

Stay tuned.

Written by cdorobek

September 3, 2008 at 12:33 AM

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