The Big Ideas of 2013: What We Learned About Innovation


As 2013 comes to a close, we’re revisiting some of the big ideas from the past year that could influence the business world in 2014 and beyond. This is the first installment of our four-part series.

Five Things We Learned About Innovation

1. We are all Lance Armstrong … sort of. In our rush to succeed, be it on the Tour de France or in the workplace, we can all slip up when it comes to making ethical decisions. That’s why we need to stay humble and monitor our own behavior to avoid acting unethically.

2. Today’s energy innovation is tomorrow’s energy problem. A look back at past energy transitions — such as the move from whale oil to the cleaner and cheaper oil we know today — suggests that whichever innovative fuel source that eventually “saves” us from oil and coal could someday be viewed as problem, too.

3. Incentives can help employees behave less emotionally. Although we may not enjoy all of our officemates, a performance-based incentive — rather than a fixed wage — can help us behave more analytically and less emotionally around coworkers we dislike.

4. Identifying ER bottlenecks means improved treatment for patients. A new program called Flexflow sets a series of targets aimed at reducing “door-to-MD” time while also decreasing the percentage of patients who leave without treatment. One example: Having patients evaluated by a nurse within five minutes of arrival.

5. Putting spammers to shame helps neutralize online security threats. It’s a website no company wants to appear on: On, the Center for Research in Electronic Commerce tracks websites that transmit large amounts of spam emails — often without the company’s knowledge — in the hopes that the bad publicity will encourage them to address security holes before they become major worldwide problems.


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About The Author

Jeremy Simon

Writer, McCombs School of Business

As a writer for Texas Enterprise, Jeremy covers business-related research and news from the University of Texas at Austin. In addition, he manages...

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