For hundreds of thousands of years, human civilizations tended to barter for goods, trading shells and precious stones for food and other important commodities. For the first evidence of money as currency, we need to go back 5,000 years to where modern-day Iraq now sits, to find ‘the shekel’. Though this was the first form of currency, it was not money as we know and understand it today. It actually represented a certain weight of barley, a kind of plant, equivalent to gold or silver. Eventually, the shekel became a coin currency in its own right. In much the same way, Britain’s currency is alled ‘the pound’, because it was originally equivalent to a pound of silver. The ancient Greeks and Romans used gold and silver coins as currency, with the Latin ‘denarius’ ultimately giving birth to ‘dinar’ in various countries including Jordan and Algeria, and providing the ‘d’ that served as an abbreviation for the British penny before decimalization in 1971. It also gives us the word for money in Spanish and Portuguese – ‘dinero’ and ‘dinhero’. The first ever banknotes were issued in 7th-century China, though it took another 1,000 years before the idea of paper money was adopted in Europe, y Sweden’s Stockholms Banco in 1661. British scientists have begun studying a rare meteorite to reveal more about the history of Mars. The rock, named ‘Tissint’ after the Moroccan area where it crashed in July 2011, was recovered from the ground just five months later – not enough time to be too contaminated. “The Tissint sample is probably the most important meteorite to have landed on the Earth in the last 100 years,” says Dr. Caroline Smith, curator of meteorites at the Natural History Museum in London. An analysis of the rock revealed its Martian origin. It would have been removed from Mars when an asteroid struck he planet, staying in space as debris before being attracted by the Earth’s gravity. Of the 41,000 officially recognized meteorites, 61 come from Mars and the Tissint rock is only the fifth that was witnessed falling. Dr. Tony Irving of Washington University, who performed some initial analysis on the sample, does not think there is much chance of finding fossilized life within it. But the British team could reveal whether minerals have been affected by water or contain elements such as carbon. Smith says “We’re not looking for microbes, but we’re looking for the chemical and environmental signatures to indicate whether Mars, at ome point in its past, may have provided a suitable environment for life to exist. ” While playing computer games is sometimes seen as a solitary pursuit, a study at Brigham Young University shows that it actually enhances social connections. Studying the effect of multiplayer online games on marriages, researchers found that in the 76% of the cases where the couple played together, games actually aided the relationship. In other words, couples that gamed together stayed together. Games may have other effects on us too. The famous psychologist, Philip Zimbardo, recently spoke out on the subject. In his 1971
Stanford Prison Experiment, in which volunteers were randomly assigned the roles of prisoner or guard, he showed that human behaviour is heavily influenced by environmental and social pressures. More recently, Zimbardo even suggested that exposing children to morally ambiguous situations in games could be useful in helping them develop their own moral compass. One possibility is to explore virtual worlds through computer games that could enable people to experience and understand concepts that they would otherwise find difficult to imagine. Games about society, populated by real people and open to all, could help test how different ultural backgrounds could be brought together in peace. The Although many community newspapers are justifiably proud of their hard-hitting local editorials, perhaps half of all community papers carry no editorials at all. Publishers who refuse to editorialize often claim that editorial harassing is resented in small communities. Others are fearful of alienating readers and advertisers. Still others say they do not have enough time to develop polished, well-researched editorials on a regular basis. Many publishers are leaders in the commercial and political lives of their towns, and are so much a part of he local power structure that their editorials would not be persuasive anyway. Those who editorialize assert that editorials and opinion columns give identity to their newspapers and leadership to their communities. Indeed, some of the most inspired writing the US has produced – the ‘Crisis’ essays of Tom Paine, the Federalist Papers explaining and defending the Constitution, the stirring commentary of William Allen White of Kansas – first saw the light of day as editorial or column material in a community newspaper. Courageous hometown editors regularly win Pulitzer Prizes and other professional honours for crusading ditorials on local issues. It Innovation is not a synonym for invention – an invention has to be taken to the market to be regarded as innovation. Innovation must change the way people do something. In an essay on creativity, Teresa Amabile and others describe innovation as ‘the successful implementation of creative ideas within an organization’. Creativity, which includes invention, is only the starting point for innovation, which is a necessary but not sufficient condition for it. As Amabile implies, the business of innovation needs to be managed all the way from the creative inspiration through to a launchable product or service.
Innovation is not restricted to products and services. It might be internal to the business, in the form of new and more effective organizational structures or processes. It could be a new way of marketing or distribution, like online grocery deliveries. By today’s thinking, innovation can also be in the form of a significant improvement to an existing commodity. When you build a better product, not necessarily a revolutionary one, the whole world will want to buy it. A lot of small types of innovation like this are more akin to continuous improvement, which makes up 85-90% of the average corporate development portfolio. It
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