- Hardcover: 384 pages
- Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (June 28, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0470618302
- ISBN-13: 978-0470618301
- Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 12 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,040,573 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The New Polymath: Profiles in Compound-Technology Innovations Hardcover – June 28, 2010
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From the Inside Flap
A Polymaththe Greek word for Renaissance Manis one who excels in many disciplines. From Leonardo da Vinci to Benjamin Franklin, we have relied on Polymaths to innovate and find creative solutions to the problems of the day. How would these Renaissance men and women manage our current technology bounty? Which disciplines would they choose to focus on? Would they work on the architecture of next-generation green cities, or focus on nanotechnology?
As our challenges have grown exponentially we need to bring together da Vinci, Franklin, and many more. The New Polymath is an enterprise that excels in multiple technologiesinfotech, cleantech, healthtech, and other techand leverages multiple talent pools to create new medicine, new energy, and new algorithms.
Author Vinnie Mirchandani shares his varied experience as a technology adviser and market watcher to explain in business language the diversity of today's technology palette and to profile a wide range of innovations at:
Large multinationals such as GE and BP
Fast-growing, midsized companies like Cognizant and salesforce.com
The cleantech industry in China, farms in Ireland, and the back roads of Rwanda
This book categorizes eleven "building blocks" for the New Polymath to leverage in its R-E-N-A-I-S-S-A-N-C-E framework, including next-generation analytics, cloud computing, sustainability, and social networks. The author profiles over a hundred innovators and demonstrates how they use these building blocks to solve both their individual day-to-day issues and the "Grand Challenges" the world faces.
Brimming with examples from a variety of industries, countries, and business processes, the book will inspire you to groom your own New Polymath tools, processes, and ecosystem of innovation ideas.
From the Back Cover
More about The New Polymath
"Mirchandani describes a future of possibilities - "fortunate accidents of innovation" - enabled by the convergence of technologies with a dose of ideas from "left field". As the founder of Rural Sourcing, we believed in the untapped potential of our young people in Rural America. The possibilities are limitless when there are no geographic boundaries to our workforce and we can truly move the work to the worker rather than the worker to the work."
--Kathy Brittain-White, Former EVP and CIO, Cardinal Health; Founder, Rural Sourcing, Inc.
"Every 10-15 years the technology industry reinvents itself, taking all the achievements and knowledge from the prior generation and turning them into a platform for new innovation. That regular cycle of rebirth has transformed the way we work, live and play - around the world. Mirchandani has done a fabulous job shining a light on examples of people and organizations that take what exists around us and turn it into what is possible. These are the innovators that inspire us."
--Dave Duffield, co-CEO and Chief Customer Advocate, Workday; former Chairman and CEO, PeopleSoft, Inc.
"Mirchandani is one of the few technology analysts to realize that technology doesn't come in neat bundles anymore, if it ever did. His stories and lessons cut across infotech, biotech, greentech, and mathtech. If you want to be a Polymath innovator, this is your bible!"
--Thomas H. Davenport, President's Distinguished Professor of IT and Management, Babson College; coauthor of Analytics at Work: Smarter Decisions, Better Results
"In today's world, innovation distinguishes great companies from good ones.Mirchandani highlights the importance of technology in such innovation and, specific to IT, counsels about being a full partner of the business and being open to the best ideas from other industries and geographies.?The book is full of examples on how to accomplish this and should be required reading for all IT professionals and students."
--Caroline Watteeuw, Global CTO and SVP, Business Information Solutions, PepsiCo, Inc.
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Top customer reviews
There are lots of quite interesting factoids and blogs in the book, lots of descriptions of companies that are innovative (with no point), but it seriously needs a real editor to try to make it readable.
To be fair, I enjoyed a lot of the book's case studies. If nothing else, Mirchandani is well connected and tenacious in pursuing information from hundreds of sources from around the world. But reading case study after case study becomes quite monotonous. And the central theme hangs together loosely, at best. A final quibble is that many of the book's paragraphs feel like they were lifted right off the company's website, or were produced by the marketing department.
The best part of "The New Polymath" is the broad scope of industries that the book covers, from cloud computing to handsets to hurricane research to clean-tech, and many more. It was eye-opening to learn how organizations (predominantly large and well established US-based companies) are innovating in various markets. Other than that, I didn't find this to be a very compelling or helpful business book.
Rather than tell you that this fresh and inviting (Benjamin Fried, CIO Google) book is filled with incredible examples of passionate entrepreneurs (Marc Benioff, CEO [...]), that I am inspired by this book (Maynard Webb, CEO LiveOps), or that Mirchandani is one of the few technology analysts to realize that technology doesn't come in neat bundles anymore (Thomas H. Davenport, President's Chair Babson College), I'm going to talk about The New Polymath's ten rules for success which pop out at you if you read between the lines.
Why? One of the Polymath's chronicled in Vinnie's masterful manuscript is Brian Sommer, technology consultant extraordinaire of TechVentive and renowned ZDNet blogger, who asks "where are the 10 commandments for technology" as he struggles with the challenges of cyberethics that few dare to address. It's a good question, and one that I believe we are not yet ready to answer. Which leads me to ask, "how do we get there"? Well, the first step is to obviously become learned, and successful, polymaths well equipped to ask, and debate, the question. To this end, we need a guide ... a guide that, if you dig deep, is found within Vinnie's terrific tome. To get you on your way, and to inspire you to (pre) order your own copy of The New Polymath, I give you:
The New Polymath's Ten Starting Rules for Success
(because, in reality, there are more than ten ... but these are the biggies).
Adopt [...] 1-1-1 model: 1 percent employee's time; 1 percent equity; 1 percent product donation. A true Polymath operates in his community, not out of it, and makes a difference.
(02) 80 for 20
Aim for solutions that deliver 80% of the value of previous solutions for only 20% of the price. A new Polymath is about true innovation, not overstated renovation.
(03) Invisible UI
If your product requires a manual, it's not a product at all. A true Polymath produces solutions with UIs so seamless and so obvious that no manual is needed.
Every component can be traced back to the source ... even if it's software. (And if it is software, every data element can be traced back to the source.)
(05) Keep Score
Polymaths are responsible and drive for sustainability ... to the point where they keep track of how well they are doing and how much better their inventions are compared with predecessor technology. If it's not more environmentally friendly (and more cost effective, because true green keeps more green in your wallet), it's not revolutionary.
It's the age of "big data", and to make sense of it all, we need to find the data that is relevant to us.
(07) Decisions, Not Data
Because, in the end, the entire point of finding the semantically relevant data is to enable us to make better decisions than we could before.
(08) Adopt the "Shamrock" It's Lucky for a Reason
A "shamrock" organization, as envisioned by Charles Handy, is one that encompasses "core management, a long-term but contractual talent pool, and a transient, flexible workforce". We are in the age of networked person, who is used to working on the move, and tomorrow's polymath's will be flexible at the core.
Technology-is-a-Service. A Polymath moves beyond SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) and TaaS (Technology-as-a-Service) and embraces the concept that, like power and water, information technology must be delivered only as a service in the world of tomorrow. Just like the utilities deliver our power and water, tomorrow's technology enterprises will deliver our apps, data, and information on-demand as that is what is needed for businesses to truly reach the next level of operations, as technology is not the core competency of most businesses that make use of it today.
(10) The Turing Oath
Brian Sommer notes that we need a Hippocratic Oath for technology, and I agree. We all need to agree to respect and uphold the privacy of our users and their data to the utmost above all else. And I'm calling that the Turing Oath, after Alan Turing who gave us the first test to determine whether a machine had reached intelligence (and, would thus, need to be instilled with ethics from the get go ... and, hopefully, the the three laws of robotics.)
I strongly encourage you to read Vinnie's groundbreaking debut into the world of publishing (other than his prolific blogging over the years over on Deal Architect and New Florence. New Renaissance.) and do what it takes to become The New Polymath. The world of tomorrow needs you, and in fact, so does the world of today. If, like the polymaths chronicled in this book and Nathan Myhrvold (who was the cloth the new polymaths chronicled in the book were cut from), I encourage you to join the Humanitarian Technology Challenge. The world needs you!
This review was originally published on Sourcing innovation at: