Innovation in review: 5 most popular articles on Do Better

Companies are constantly trying to innovate. Entrepreneurs with great ideas are seen as heroes, and companies launching innovations that change our lives – for better or worse – are championed by the media. What are the keys to innovation and how are innovations transforming our lives?

Reaching the peak of the holiday season, Do Better offers a compilation of the most-read articles on innovation published this year. Check them out for insights and ideas on how to innovate.

Most read innovation

Shining light on the 'dark side' of social media

What are the potential risks of social media? While social media undoubtedly brings many benefits to the lives of its users, its complexity means there may be more going on than is clear on the surface. This article reveals many potential "dark sides" to be aware of.

Researchers categorised the risk areas into seven segments, related to the activities carried out within social media applications – which tend to be similar across platforms and networks: conversations, sharing, presence, relationships, reputation, groups and identity.

“The best way to manage our use of social media networks is to take control of our interaction with them," stated the authors, who acknowledged people differ widely in their views of the risks involved.

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Why tech companies can't afford the gender gap

In this interview, Caroline Ragot, co-founder of Women in Mobile, talked with Do Better about why tech firms need to invest in female talent, how women can reduce the pay gap, why gender-biased algorithms can hinder hiring processes and why men also experience discrimination in their careers.

Only 10% of American executive roles in tech were held by women in 2018 according to the Entelo Women in Tech Report. Data from tech career marketplace Hired also shows that women receive job offers that pay less than their male counterparts 63% of the time – despite applying for the same jobs at the same companies.

“We don’t have enough women holding positions in artificial intelligence, data science and machine learning," warned Ragot, who added that "diversity is known to drive innovation and profitability."

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How your emotions shape your decision making

Jordi Quoidbach's research findings summarised in this article show how affective considerations – positive or negative emotional states – impact our actions. People tend to engage in pleasure-enhancing activities when they feel bad; whereas they tend to engage in less immediately rewarding behaviours, that might lead to longer-term payoffs, when they feel good.

They call this the hedonic flexibility principle and the authors think this behaviour may have evolved to help us prioritise. "The key idea is that when in a negative emotional state, people's priority shifts towards getting into a positive emotional state," write the researchers. "But when in a positive emotional state, people's priority shifts towards taking care of relatively unpleasant tasks that might be important for their long-term well-being."

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Podcast: How to get results from open innovation

In this podcast, Esade associate professor Esteve Almirall talks with Henry Chesbrough, adjunct professor at Berkeley, about some of the ideas examined at length in his new book Open innovation results, starting with the exponential paradox. Why do new technologies and innovations, which appear to be exponential when looking at their growth rate and potential, end up having such a small increase in productivity?

In this podcast you'll find insights into many specific areas beyond a simple overview of the global picture. Areas such as corporate innovation, start-ups, open innovation in cities and, of course, China and the tensions around innovation and innovation policy there.

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How to optimise the financing of innovation

A study of data from 146 large European firms belonging to the main European stock market indexes investigated the relationship between internal and external financing and the amount of innovation carried out by the firms receiving the financing.

This article by Xavier Ferràs reviews the conclusions of the study in order to explain the way large firms finance research and its relation to their ability to invest in innovation. "Businesses that focus on new products or services by seeking external investment find more attractive prospects," concludes professor Ferràs, who adds that "the size of the firm, and the sector within which it operates, impact on the profitability of innovation."

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