One of the best parts of my work life is deep-diving into the industries, issues, and ideas that touch on my clients. Now that I am back working with the most innovative company in the telecommunications business, topical reading is at least half of my list.
My daily client contact just finished Brad Smith and Carole Ann Browne’s Tools and Weapons, so I am nearly done with it. Smith shares his thoughts on the double-edged nature of the innovations that are pushing into our lives – a critical mental warm-up as we guide our client through the rollout of 5G wireless networks.
Jon Gertner’s The Idea Factory has been perched on my shelf for years waiting for its moment, and that moment is now. I see a lot of interesting parallels and contrasts between my client – who has spent $60 billion on R&D in the past three decades – and Bell Labs, all good. Bell Labs, like Xerox PARC after it, made some profound mistakes in its efforts, most notably spending vast sums on R&D without building the business and legal structures to capture the value of all of that investment. That’s my superficial understanding: hopefully, Gertner will offer some important nuance.
Wrapping these – and catching up on back numbers of The Economist – should round out my long weekend.