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18.2.6 Encouraging diffusion

In general, innovations that are perceived as having relative advantages, being more compatible, less complex, observable, and trialable will diffuse more rapidly than other innovations.


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9 Part 2: Invention

Having taken a broad look at the whole innovation process from invention to diffusion, I'll go back and look more closely at what motivates individuals and organisations to invent. Then I'll consider how people generate ideas for inventions and the designs based on the inventions.


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6.2 Are cylinder ships a dead-end invention?

In 1924 Anton Flettner, a German physicist, tested a prototype of one of his inventions, a rotor ship. An expert in hydrodynamics and aerodynamics, Flettner had already experimented with metal sails, which he found increased sailing ship efficiency by 50 per cent. Next he moved on to an ingenious application of the Magnus effect – the idea that a sphere or cylinder spinning in an airstream develops a force at right angles to the moving air. This theory was developed to account for inaccurac
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9.1 User trip

This section introduces a simple method of investigating product use. Even such simple methods can provide useful information to guide product redesign and new product development.

The essential idea of user trips is simple: you just take a ‘trip’ through the whole process of using a particular product or system, making yourself a critical observant user.

The only way to learn how to make these user trips is to try one or two for yourself. You will be surprised how much you fi
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4.1 What it means to be good at managing

What does it mean to be ‘good at managing’ and what part does systems thinking and practice play? One way to explore the first question is to ask what you know about your work that a school leaver, or someone fresh from university, would not know. Consider a senior secretary, for example, someone who clearly has a fair amount of managing to do, in our terms. Such a person must have certain basic skills and knowledge (in word-processing, filing, etc.) the foundation of which will have been
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1.1.2 Egyptian calculation

Box 1 A note on Egyptian scripts and numerals

The earliest Egyptian script was hieroglyphic, used from before 3000 BC until the early centuries AD. Initially an all-purpose script, it was eventually used only for monumental stone-carving and formal inscriptions. It had been superseded (by abou
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4.4 Political implications

In chapter VI of A Practical View Wilberforce broadens his perspective from the primarily spiritual emphasis of the earlier chapters to a consideration of the political implications of his analysis. In so doing he contributed to the ongoing debate on the French Revolution and the changing nature of British society and politics.

A Practical View can usefully be compared here with another work that gave considerable prominence to religion in the aftermath of 1789, Edmund Bu
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5.4 Assessing Hume's views

The main value of Hume's essay lies in its discussion of our duties to God. Here Hume's arguments initially seem quite convincing. But arguments almost always seem convincing when they are first heard and understood. The real test comes when we try to think of possible objections. Here is one such objection, based on what has become known as the problem of evil, the problem of reconciling God's benevolence and omnipotence with the fact that evil exists in the world:

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4.5 The sans-culotte as revolutionary hero

Revolutionary symbolism (which we noted earlier with reference to the Declaration of the Rights of Man) extended to clothing: the wearing of the tricolour cockade was made compulsory for men by a decree of July 1792. The red ‘cap of liberty’ became the normal headgear of the sans-culottes, now officially idealized as heroes of the people.

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1.4 The economics of maintaining a heritage site

The National Trust operates within a complex web of funding. This comes from annual membership fees and from visitor receipts at individual sites. Each National Trust property is responsible for raising the income necessary to fund its own conservation activities and further development (although a large minority of sites cannot cover their costs). Properties raise this income through visitors charges and from catering, shop sales, etc. Failure to raise sufficient income can lead to job losse
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1.1 Background

Aberdulais Falls is under the control of the National Trust. It is set in an area of outstanding natural beauty that has attracted artists for centuries (Turner visited the ten-metre high waterfall in 1796). Aberdulais Falls also has a four-hundred-year history of industrial use, due to the opportunities it provides for water power. The industrial history of Aberdulais Falls goes back to 1584, when the availability of water power and fuel led to copper ore from Cornwall being smelted there. C
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3.1 Three interpretative methods

If the work of art has an existence beyond that of its maker, what are the limits of interpretation? This is a huge question, and possible limits and methods of interpretation are continually being propounded within the discipline. Helen Langdon chose to set Caravaggio's art within his life, with all the associations connected to the artist's biography. This unit will look at ways in which the work of art can be interpreted within and outwith references to the artist who created that work.
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4.5 Two mythological songs: ‘Prometheus’ (1819) and ‘Ganymed’ (1817)

Goethe's poem ‘Heidenröslein’, with which we began, is a mock folksong; ‘Erlkönig’ is a mock ballad along the lines of Scottish models. They are, so to speak, poems in fancy dress. ‘Prometheus’ and ‘Ganymed’ are songs on subjects from ancient Greek myth, but they are in no way imitations of ancient classical models. In these two poems Goethe has taken myths and created modern meditations on them of startling, but quite distinct, kinds.


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4.4 ‘Erlkönig’ (‘The Erl-king’, 1815)

Exercise 6

Before continuing with the unit, read the English translation of ‘Erlkönig’ by clicking on the link below. The translation attempts to stay close to the rhythm and rhyming-scheme of Goethe's poem, and should therefore g
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3 Schubert and the Lied

Schubert set to music the words of a wide range of poets, from those who were internationally famous to others who were known only locally and were among his group of friends. Schubert was capable of making a first-rate song out of a mediocre poem, and often did so. But of all the writers he set, Goethe was the one who most consistently inspired him to write songs of startling power and originality. The first of his songs to be widely acclaimed as a masterpiece was his famous setting of Gretc
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1 Schubert: introduction

This unit focuses on a selection of short poems in German that were set to music by Franz Schubert (1797–1828) for a single voice with piano, a genre known as ‘Lieder’ (the German for ‘songs’). These are miniatures, but in Schubert's hands they become miniatures of an exceptionally concentrated kind. Their characteristic distillation of the emotional essence of a poem illustrates Romanticism at its most intimate. Schubert's Lieder, once they became widely known, influenced succeedin
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4.5 The cases in Latin

‘Cases’ indicate the various functions that nouns, pronouns and adjectives can have in a sentence. The case is shown by the word-ending in Latin.

Although learning about cases is not within the scope of this introductory unit, it may help to have a short checklist of the cases and how they may be translated into English from Latin.


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4.4 Unravelling sentences

Activity 10

In the following passage, mark as many subjects, verbs and objects as you can.

James was to drive them. The first day we travelled thirty-two m
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4.3 Sentences: subject and object

A sentence consists of a number of words which, to make sense, must include a verb. Unless this is the only word in the sentence (as in ‘Run!’), there will normally be a word telling us who or what is doing the action. This doer, whether noun or pronoun, is called the subject of the verb.

Consider these sentences:

The players ran onto the pitch. The referee blew his whistle, and the centre-forward
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Learning outcomes

By the end of this unit you should have:

  • an awareness of the links between English and Latin;

  • an understanding of basic English grammar in order to recognise and describe the way languages work;

  • an awareness of the fundamentals of pronunciation in Latin.


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