FastCompany Magazine

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A healthier, brighter, more efficient world doesn’t just happen—it happens by design.
That’s proven by the finalists from our 2014 Innovation by Design competition, chosen from 1,587 boundary-pushing entries. All are listed here, and category winners will be announced at our conference in New York on October 15. 
Learn more at fastcodesign.com/ibd.

A healthier, brighter, more efficient world doesn’t just happen—it happens by design.

That’s proven by the finalists from our 2014 Innovation by Design competition, chosen from 1,587 boundary-pushing entries. All are listed here, and category winners will be announced at our conference in New York on October 15.

Learn more at fastcodesign.com/ibd.

Clearing your mind and living in the moment isn’t about putting productivity on hold. You can be more profitable with less brain clutter.
If you are like me, you probably find yourself multitasking more, yet feeling like it really isn’t benefiting you. As a society, we’re stressing out about more and accomplishing less, adversely impacting both our mindsets and our productivity.
Most of us think of this as the new normal, and we’ve gotten used to juggling more. The begrudging acceptance of this attitude prevents companies from taking actions needed to keep workers focused and productive.
A stretched-thin, stressed-out workplace is not the workplace of the future. It falls on business managers to change this culture and promote focus and compassion—a concept making the rounds in workplace circles known as “mindfulness.” This is the technique of tuning out the noise and focusing deliberately on what is important.
Studies have found that mindfulness at work can increase engagement, productivity, innovation, and measurable business results. Here are three tips to increasing your mindfulness so that you cross tasks off your list and stress about them less.
Read More>

Clearing your mind and living in the moment isn’t about putting productivity on hold. You can be more profitable with less brain clutter.

If you are like me, you probably find yourself multitasking more, yet feeling like it really isn’t benefiting you. As a society, we’re stressing out about more and accomplishing less, adversely impacting both our mindsets and our productivity.

Most of us think of this as the new normal, and we’ve gotten used to juggling more. The begrudging acceptance of this attitude prevents companies from taking actions needed to keep workers focused and productive.

A stretched-thin, stressed-out workplace is not the workplace of the future. It falls on business managers to change this culture and promote focus and compassion—a concept making the rounds in workplace circles known as “mindfulness.” This is the technique of tuning out the noise and focusing deliberately on what is important.

Studies have found that mindfulness at work can increase engagement, productivity, innovation, and measurable business results. Here are three tips to increasing your mindfulness so that you cross tasks off your list and stress about them less.

Read More>

Tell it your prescription, and the experimental screen makes blurry images clear for you.
People with vision problems, rejoice: A team from Microsoft, U.C. Berkeley, and MIT has created an experimental screen technology that would allow you to view your devices clearly without your glasses. 
Read More>

Tell it your prescription, and the experimental screen makes blurry images clear for you.

People with vision problems, rejoice: A team from Microsoft, U.C. Berkeley, and MIT has created an experimental screen technology that would allow you to view your devices clearly without your glasses. 

Read More>

Seven of this year’s Forty Over 40 Women to Watch honorees share how innovation improves with age.
Red wine. Cheese. Innovation. Yes, these are all things that get better with age. Don’t believe it? Science offers some pretty compelling evidence that wunderkinds are the exception, rather than the rule.
One researcher found that Nobel Prize winners’ age around a significant breakthrough is about 38 (and not recognized until they’re 60) and another posits that a lifetime of learning leads to greater breakthroughs between ages 55-65. Data from the Kauffmann Foundation bears this out as findings indicate people over 55 are almost twice as likely to found successful companies than those between 20 and 34.
These statistics are seldom recognized, much less celebrated, in a youth obsessed culture, according to Whitney Johnson, author and cofounder of investment firm Rose Park Advisors. That’s why she and Christina Vuleta, founder of Women’s career advice forum 40:20 Vision, took matters into their own hands.
They started an initiative, dubbed Forty Over 40 in 2013 to change the idea that mid-life means you’re on the down side of over-the-hill. This year’s honorees range from 40 to over 60 and come from a variety of industries including the arts, law, retail, health care, and tech. Each has an impressive resume, not limited to an accumulation of greater titles and industry accolades.
As Johnson writes, “At age 40 we’re just getting to the best part. After spending years on the low end of the S-curve of experience, we are now ready to accelerate into a sweet spot of competence and contribution.”
With that in mind, we asked several of this year’s honorees to share their thoughts on aging, disruption, and transitions. Here’s what they told us.
Read More>

Seven of this year’s Forty Over 40 Women to Watch honorees share how innovation improves with age.

Red wine. Cheese. Innovation. Yes, these are all things that get better with age. Don’t believe it? Science offers some pretty compelling evidence that wunderkinds are the exception, rather than the rule.

One researcher found that Nobel Prize winners’ age around a significant breakthrough is about 38 (and not recognized until they’re 60) and another posits that a lifetime of learning leads to greater breakthroughs between ages 55-65. Data from the Kauffmann Foundation bears this out as findings indicate people over 55 are almost twice as likely to found successful companies than those between 20 and 34.

These statistics are seldom recognized, much less celebrated, in a youth obsessed culture, according to Whitney Johnson, author and cofounder of investment firm Rose Park Advisors. That’s why she and Christina Vuleta, founder of Women’s career advice forum 40:20 Vision, took matters into their own hands.

They started an initiative, dubbed Forty Over 40 in 2013 to change the idea that mid-life means you’re on the down side of over-the-hill. This year’s honorees range from 40 to over 60 and come from a variety of industries including the arts, law, retail, health care, and tech. Each has an impressive resume, not limited to an accumulation of greater titles and industry accolades.

As Johnson writes, “At age 40 we’re just getting to the best part. After spending years on the low end of the S-curve of experience, we are now ready to accelerate into a sweet spot of competence and contribution.”

With that in mind, we asked several of this year’s honorees to share their thoughts on aging, disruption, and transitions. Here’s what they told us.

Read More>

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Fantastical NonfictionNames that tune in 3 notes No, it’s not a contestant from the classic TV game show. It’s an IBM computer that uses algorithmic computation to identify a song’s musical period—Baroque, Classical or Romantic— in only three notes. And when applied to speech patterns, the same technology can be used as an early warning system for Parkinson’s disease and certain kinds of psychiatric disorders. Read on →

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Fantastical Nonfiction
Names that tune in 3 notes

No, it’s not a contestant from the classic TV game show. It’s an IBM computer that uses algorithmic computation to identify a song’s musical period—Baroque, Classical or Romantic— in only three notes. And when applied to speech patterns, the same technology can be used as an early warning system for Parkinson’s disease and certain kinds of psychiatric disorders. 
Read on →

A world where food is plentiful and drugs are personalized may not be as far off as it seems.
What world-changing scientific discoveries might we see by 2025? Will we have more energy technologies that move us away from fossil fuels? Will there be cures for cancer and other diseases? How will we get around and communicate?
To make some predictions, the Thomson Reuters IP & Science unit looked at two sorts of data: current scientific journal literature and patent applications. Counting citations and other measures of buzz, they identified 10 hot fields, then made specific forecasts for each.
“A powerful outcome of studying scientific literature and patent data is that it gives you a window into the future—insight that isn’t always found in the public domain,” says Basil Moftah, president of the IP & Science business, which sells scientific database products. “We estimate that these will be in effect in another 11 years.”
Read More>

A world where food is plentiful and drugs are personalized may not be as far off as it seems.

What world-changing scientific discoveries might we see by 2025? Will we have more energy technologies that move us away from fossil fuels? Will there be cures for cancer and other diseases? How will we get around and communicate?

To make some predictions, the Thomson Reuters IP & Science unit looked at two sorts of data: current scientific journal literature and patent applications. Counting citations and other measures of buzz, they identified 10 hot fields, then made specific forecasts for each.

“A powerful outcome of studying scientific literature and patent data is that it gives you a window into the future—insight that isn’t always found in the public domain,” says Basil Moftah, president of the IP & Science business, which sells scientific database products. “We estimate that these will be in effect in another 11 years.”

Read More>

Some of the biggest innovations of our time were created after hours. Here, the compelling case for trying out stupid things on the side.

“The only way a side project will work is if people give themselves permission to think simple, to change their minds, to fail—basically, to not take them too seriously,” says van Schneider. “When you treat something like it’s stupid, you have fun with it, you don’t put too much structure around it. You can enjoy different types of success.”

Read More>

Some of the biggest innovations of our time were created after hours. Here, the compelling case for trying out stupid things on the side.

“The only way a side project will work is if people give themselves permission to think simple, to change their minds, to fail—basically, to not take them too seriously,” says van Schneider. “When you treat something like it’s stupid, you have fun with it, you don’t put too much structure around it. You can enjoy different types of success.”

Read More>

From Jay-Z to de Balzac, these famous creative minds have developed some odd habits on the path to genius.
There is no secret formula for innovation, and a lot of great minds arrive at their creativity in many different ways.
Though we’d all like to crack the code for reaching our creative breakthrough, it’s likely that emulating the habits prescribed by one famous person or another won’t be the cure-all to your stagnated creativity. Though, there’s probably no harm in giving it a try.

So to satiate your voyeuristic curiosity, compiled here are some of the least orthodox, but still effective creative processes of eight great minds.
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From Jay-Z to de Balzac, these famous creative minds have developed some odd habits on the path to genius.

There is no secret formula for innovation, and a lot of great minds arrive at their creativity in many different ways.

Though we’d all like to crack the code for reaching our creative breakthrough, it’s likely that emulating the habits prescribed by one famous person or another won’t be the cure-all to your stagnated creativity. Though, there’s probably no harm in giving it a try.

So to satiate your voyeuristic curiosity, compiled here are some of the least orthodox, but still effective creative processes of eight great minds.

Read More>

We want to eliminate waiting in line from the face of the Earth.

Think of QLess as taking a number from anywhere in the world, without the hassle of showing up and standing around while you wait for it to be called. Just use your phone, tablet, computer, or an on-site kiosk to claim your place in line, then go about your day and show up when it’s your turn. The tech tells you how long it will be until you are served, alerts you when you need to make your way to the counter or hostess stand, and even allows you to let someone “cut” if you’re running late.

Read> Never Wait In Line Again

Tunepics features a number of details intended to heighten the emotional experience of the app’s users, including an iTunes integration and a color-coded “emotion wheel.”

"It’s not just an app, it’s a way of thinking we’d like to ingrain in people," CEO Justin Cooke says. "The more digital we become, the more important it is to sit beside someone and tell them how you feel, and I think maybe what we’ve done is put some of those simple human interactions into a digital environment, and that’s a bridging of that gap, if nothing more."

Read More>

Tunepics features a number of details intended to heighten the emotional experience of the app’s users, including an iTunes integration and a color-coded “emotion wheel.”

"It’s not just an app, it’s a way of thinking we’d like to ingrain in people," CEO Justin Cooke says. "The more digital we become, the more important it is to sit beside someone and tell them how you feel, and I think maybe what we’ve done is put some of those simple human interactions into a digital environment, and that’s a bridging of that gap, if nothing more."

Read More>

Every few months there seems to be another region somewhere in the world that claims to be the next Silicon Valley. Sometimes the new high-tech hub is hyped up, but other times, it’s evident that there’s something special brewing.
These countries have digitized governments that will put our Healthcare.gov problems to shame, fast broadband Internet speeds beyond comparison, and instead of hookup apps, you’ll see innovations in energy alternatives. These are exactly the reasons why America’s magical tech land should keep its eyes on the countries below.
Read More>

Every few months there seems to be another region somewhere in the world that claims to be the next Silicon Valley. Sometimes the new high-tech hub is hyped up, but other times, it’s evident that there’s something special brewing.

These countries have digitized governments that will put our Healthcare.gov problems to shame, fast broadband Internet speeds beyond comparison, and instead of hookup apps, you’ll see innovations in energy alternatives. These are exactly the reasons why America’s magical tech land should keep its eyes on the countries below.

Read More>