Radical Open Innovation News week 4-2019

Welcome to our weekly selection of digital innovation news. Created using our opinionated automated selection algorithm with a twisted text rank summary creator. We present some top innovation news to get you thinking, debating and collaboration on making our world better.

1 The usefulness of useless knowledge

I cannot emphasise enough the importance for humanity of the pursuit of “useless knowledge”, as so brilliantly laid out by Abraham Flexner, a founder of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, in his ­article, published in 1939, “The usefulness of useless knowledge”. The year 2019 marks the 500th anniversary of the death of one of the greatest minds in history. On 2 May 1519 Leonardo da Vinci died, bequeathing an artistic and scientific legacy that resonates to this day. One hundred years later, we know that they are far from useless. But whereas his art has been admired for centuries, the value of his scientific work took much longer to be recognised.

(CERN: Updates for the general public)

2 Microsoft acquires Citus Data, re-affirming its commitment to Open Source and accelerating Azure PostgreSQL performance and scale

Citus is an innovative open source extension to PostgreSQL that transforms PostgreSQL into a distributed database, dramatically increasing performance and scale for application developers. Building on these investments, I am thrilled to announce that we have acquired Citus Data, a leader in the PostgreSQL community. I am incredibly excited to welcome the high- caliber Citus Data team to Microsoft! Working together, we will accelerate the delivery of key, enterprise-ready features from Azure to PostgreSQL and enable critical PostgreSQL workloads to run on Azure with confidence.


3 How Blockchain Changes the Nature of Trust

When he reads some of the comments of blockchain enthusiasts, such as “in code we trust,” “in math we trust,” and “in crypto we trust,” Schneier believes they have “an unnaturally narrow definition of trust.” Trust as a verification mechanism is true, but you cannot replace trust with verification, he stated. Generally speaking, the Bitcoin system changes the nature of trust. Bruce Schneier reconsiders the definition of trust in his keynote presentation from the recent Hyperledger Global Forum. It comes down to the question of who you would rather trust: a human legal system or the details of computer code? He advised the audience to look at the trust architecture and whether the blockchain “will change it in any meaningful way or does it just shift it around to no real effect?” He also asked them to think about whether the blockchain replaces trust verification and what aspects of trust does it try to fix and fail? “Does it strengthen existing trust relationships, or does it go against them?

(Linux Foundation)

4 A faster, more efficient cryptocurrency

To join a cryptocurrency, new users must download and store all transaction data from hundreds of thousands of individual blocks. New users join cryptocurrency networks, or “bootstrap,” by downloading all past transaction data to ensure they’re secure and up to date. The balance hash and block hash are tied together. MIT researchers have developed a new cryptocurrency that drastically reduces the data users need to join the network and verify transactions — by up to 99 percent compared to today’s popular cryptocurrencies. To join the network, users verify each certificate, not every transaction.

(MIT Reseach CS)

5 Democratizing app development

App Inventor is geared toward teaching young people how to create digital solutions, and the team behind the program also conducts research and performs educational outreach. Saigal started working on App Inventor as an undergraduate at MIT. The project was later renamed MIT App Inventor when the Institute took on full responsibility for maintaining it under the Media Lab’s Center for Mobile Learning. Anwar’s experience is just one of many where Thunkable users are solving problems in their community by building digital tools. So he built an app using Thunkable that explains where to buy solar panels and how to install them. Users can even control the tilt of their solar panels through the app, based on the position of the sun.

(MIT Reseach Business) and of course (Thunkable to try it out!)

6 Reservoir Clogs: Copyright and the Public Domain

If the public domain is like water, then the Library is an ocean: a vast expanse of creative material, both public and private. Like water, the public domain is a vital and reusable resource. That is, at some point, an author’s exclusive rights to a work come to an end and that work flows into the public domain. The end of the registration requirement coupled with term extensions marked the beginning of a dramatic increase in the volume of “orphan” works: works for which the rightsholder either cannot be identified or located. That’s a long time to put the public interest on hold just to give rightsholders’ grandchildren a vanishingly tiny slice of the pie.


7 Free Open-Source participatory democracy for cities and organizations

Decidim is a digital platform for citizen participation . Free and safe technology.
With all democratic guarantees. Reprogramming democracy is now possible with Decidim. You can use Decidim in a public or private organisation, with hundreds or thousands of potential participants, such as a city council, an association, a university, an NGO, a trade union, a neighbourhood collective or a cooperative. Thanks to Decidim you will be able to configure spaces for participation (initiatives, assemblies, processes or consultations) and enrich them through the multiple available components (face-to-face meetings, surveys, proposals, voting, follow-up of results, comments and many more).


The Radical Open Innovation weekly overview is a brief overview of innovation news on Digital Innovation and Management Innovation from all over the world. Your input for our next edition is welcome! Send it to [info] at [bm-support]dot[org]