|Amazon.com talks to Debra M. Amidon
Amazon.com: Where are you from? How--if at all--has your sense of place colored your writing?
D.: Born and raised in New England, I have always had a sense of history and roots. Working for 12 years on the Route 128 High Technology Belt provided a respect for applying knowledge to create the future. It is this combination - theory and practice combined - which provides the foundation for the book.
In my professional experience as an educator, government official and industry strategist, I began to see more similarities than differences. The value of the knowledge economy is based on the collaboration between those sectors.
Amazon.com: When and why did you begin writing? When did you first consider yourself a writer?
D.: In 1981, I ran the Boston Marathon. I wrote my first published article about training for and completing the race. It was not a story about my accomplishment, but the value of the inspiration provided by others.
The first professional publication came from a conference I convened in 1987 - Managing the Knowledge Assets into the 21st Century. Here we first described the need to 'harness the nation's intellectual capital.
My 1989 MIT Sloan Fellow thesis was Global Innovation Strategy: Creating Value- Added Alliances - This year I have written 3 books and a number of articles about Innovation and the Knowledge Economy.
Amazon.com: Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way? What books have most influenced your life?
D.: There were two people who came into my life about the same time. Both gentlemen were successful at giving visibility to others. I would like to do the same.
One was a manger at Digital Equipment Corporation - Dr. Jack McCredie - He published a book for EDUCOM. Few people have done more to connect computing/communications technology with education at the time. The second was Dr. George Kozmetsky, founder of Teledyne and IC2 at the University of Texas at Austin. A prolific writer and philanthropist, he has sponsored numerous international conferences on innovation. He has connected thousands of people and inspired their work.
Dag Hammarskjold's book - Markings - influenced my early years more than anything else. In the later years, it was Ted Sorensen's - Let the Word Go Forth - the speeches, statements and writings of John F. Kennedy. [Remember, I was born in Boston!]
On my Website (http://www.entovation.com) and my writing, I created three Innovation timelines! - Hindsight, Insight and Foresight. These illustrate the books, articles and events of that are mileposts of the Knowledge evolution and are helpful to those who want to learn more.
Amazon.com: What music, if any, most inspires you to write? What do you like to listen to while writing?
D.: Music has always been an important part of my life. My tastes are eclectic. As a youth, I participated in the a cappella choirs. I attend the opera in whatever country I visit - most recently China.
When I write at our island cabin in New Hampshire, I listen to classical and new age. In my office I enjoy the soft jazz of Boney James, the piano music of Silvard and Deborah Nyack, a critically acclaimed harpist, who I discovered on a recent visit to Banff, Canada.
In my future work on the Knowledge economy, we will focus on the relationship between knowledge, the visual and performing arts and our environment.
Amazon.com: What are you reading now? What CD is currently in your stereo?
D.: The mix is something you might enjoy!
I'm reading Winnie-the-Pooh on Success by Roger E. Allen and Stephen D. Allen as well as Lao Zi - The Book of Tao and Teh given to me during my meetings with Beijing clients.
There are two authors who capture my imagination. I am reading: Beyond Certainty by Charles Handy and Drucker on Asia by Peter F. Drucker. He provided inspiration for my book. The most powerful book I've read recently is Connected Intelligence: The Arrival of The Web Society by Derrick de Kerckhove from the McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology at Toronto University.
Amazon.com: What are you working on?
D.: I wrote my first book - Innovation Strategy for the Knowledge Economy: The Ken Awakening - as the State-of-the-Art to provide the evolution of the movement. It includes a detailed knowledge innovation assessment to operationalize concepts and is being translated into several languages, including Chinese.
The 2nd major book, a research report - Creating the Knowledge-Based Business - was co-authored by Dr. David Skyrme. It provides the State-of-the-Practice with 33 case studies of leadership and is considered by reviewers to be 'the knowledge management bible.'
My most recent publication - Collaborative Innovation and the Knowledge Economy - has been released by the Society of Management Accountants of Canada. It was co-sponsored by CAM-I and the AICPA. This provides the foundation for the State-of-the-Future. It includes a treatment of the productivity paradox, the economics of intangible value, a transnational holonomy linking the individual and society as well as a blueprint to create the Global Knowledge Innovation Infrastructure (GKII).
In November with The Banff Center in Calgary, Canada, we will launch a series of activities on the implications of the knowledge economy. This two-year effort will offer a Roundtable for Innovators from Around the World in 2000 and the Worldwide Knowledge Innovation Congress in 2001.
Amazon.com: Use this space to write about whatever you wish.
D.: The knowledge movement was born out of practice. There are no instruction books. My writings provided architecture for your organization's innovation activity.
The attention to knowledge is certainly not new. How we capitalize upon the opportunities enabled by knowledge is new. Organizations such as the OECD, the EU, and The World Bank have given importance to the infrastructure for innovation.
The focus is not on technology per se, but the learning process for organizations to succeed, national economies to grow and society to prosper.
Are you ready to innovate our future together?
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