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Michael Schrage On Innovation (08 Dec 2004)
My favorite example of this belongs to the class of what I call "twofer" technologies, which give you two for the price of one. My paradigmatic example of this is Dan Bricklin's software spreadsheet. You get two things for the price of one: you get the ability to do all that hideous crank-and-grind mindless monkey-at-the-keyboard calculation that you have to do, but you can also to do elegant "What if?" scenarios with just the tap of a key. That's why computer-aided design and engineering and for that matter the whole digitalization and virtualization trend is so fascinating. They're the symbol and substance of the economics of "twofer" technologies. Yes, you have to do the hard work, but then you also get to do the speculative and innovative work as well. The serious play. That's the real source of innovation, and the way to give more bang for the buck, two things for the price of one.
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