For the next few weeks we will be talking about innovation, new ideas and inventions. Read all the questions below, choose ONE and write your answer in the comments.
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1. What do these quotes mean to you?: “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower” – Steve Jobs
“If you’re not failing every now and again, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything very innovative” – Woody Allen
2. Think of one invention or new idea (for example: paper, the Internet, democracy, the guitar, aspirin, bubblegum, etc) and explain why you think it was invented how you think it affects our lives today.
3. Why do you think innovations tend to appear in certain times and/or places? For example, why is Apple such an innovative company today? Why was England innovative in science and technology during Queen Elizabeth I’s reign (1558–1603) and innovative in music from about 1960-2000, but isn’t very innovative today?
4. Do you think Japan has an innovative atmosphere at the moment? Why or why not?
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About mattsclass

Teacher of English as a foreign language in Tokyo

21 responses to “

  1. Taro M4

    Q4

    Compared to other countries that I know, I think Japan does not have a innovative atmosphere. This is because what is taught in school is usually aimed to get a high score in the test. Most of the students don’t think about the reason why they are learning it.

  2. Mayuko Th5

    Q2

    Emails are one of the most epoch-making inventions in the world. I think that it was invented because it can deliver our message to the other person in an instant. Also, with the invention of cellphones, we can email each other whenever we what to from wherever we are. But because of the widespread of these, we do not often write letters anymore which I think is deplorable.

  3. nanako M5

    Q1.
    The quote, “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower” doesn’t mean anything to me. I couldn’t understand what Steve Jobs meant by this phrase. Does really innovation distinguish a leader and a follower? I admit that Steve was innovative and he was a leader. But does this mean that everyone innovative will be a leader? Some may succeed but I think most won’t succeed.
    The quote,“If you’re not failing every now and again, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything very innovative” is too natural to me. If you are satisfied with what you have now, you won’t come up with new ideas for improvements. Failing is important part of our life.

  4. Tomomi M5

    I think Japan does’t have innovative atmosphere at anytime. Many Japanese tend to avoid or ignore people who don’t do the same thing as other person. So, people with innovative idea become to hesitate to express it.
    However, after the earthquake on 3.11, I can feel innovative atmosphere a little more than before. I think it’s because of the increase of people who think we can’t make positive changes if all people do the same things like now.

  5. Yuki Th5

    Q4.
    I think Japan does not have an innovative atmosphere. Maybe this is because Japan is an advaced nation. Since people have little inconvenience in living, they don’t try to improve things any more. I have once heard that many young people in Japan lacks ambition.

  6. Kyoko Th5

    Q2

    For the Steve Job’s quote I think it means that whoever do something Innovating will likely to become a leader. I don’t mean to object this quote, but I also think the followers are play an important role too. If there is only a leader and no follower, then the innovation will not be a innovation.

    For Woody Allen’s quote, I think it means you are not challenging something new if nothing is failing. I think I like this quote! I feel normal life without failing anything will just be bored. So people should be more challenging than now, but not too challenging because there is always some kind of risk when you try new stuffs.

  7. Kanako Th5

    Q2,
    Cell phones are such an amazing inventions that almost all people around the world enjoy the benefits of it. When it has not invented, we had no means keeping touch with people outside or killing time.Thank to them, we can e-mail and call others anytime we want, and use Internet everywhere. Maybe because of many demands from people, an electrinical equipment manufacturer began to develop them.
    Now, many companies are trying to make more high-technology and lighter weight cellphones, especially developing “smart phones”. However, the more useful cellphones are, the more expensive the cost becomes.

  8. Shiori M5

    Q1
    The quote of Steve Jobs sounded strange to me.I couldn’t figure out what he wanted to say by his quote. Even though you are a innovative person, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your are a leader. I think there might be a leader who is not innovative.
    The quote of Woody Allen sounded very natural to me. If you are afraid of failing and do not try to put your thoughts or ideas into action, nothing changes. There are many things that you can learn from failure. Failing is a part of innovative action.

  9. Toko M4

    Q.3

    I think innovations appear when people have gotten used to what they have already and when they want something new in their lives. The atmosphere of a society would have to be receptive too, or else innovations would be ignored or be stamped out.
    Apple is an innovative company beacause it made possible what people didn’t even dream of and introduced original, or even eccentric products to the world. I think Apple doesn’t stop where most people would have been satisfied, but they keep on trying to come up with more innovative products then the ones before.
    I thought the reason England was innovative during Queen Elizabeth I’s reign is because of the enclosure of arable lands which might have lead to the innovation in the textile industry, but I’m not sure about this.
    About innovation in music, it says that the generation who thought humanity had been lost by the pursuit of material wealth made up youth culture, in a history text book.
    I thought it was because people needed something to feel good about and enjoy after the war, and music is something almost anyone can enjoy.
    I don’t know much about what’s happening in England today, but I think when several countries are innovative others can’t be innovative enough to surpass them. England was innovative in the past , so right now it’s just a period in history that Engalnd isn’t and countries like the US or China are.

  10. Konomi M5

    For me, a watch was quite a nice invention. I heard it was invented during the wartime in order to maintain the exact time for attacking the enemy. And yes, they had to know the time easily , that’s why “watch” was invented.
    In fact I am not really “into” wearing the watch. I hate having things around my wrest. Then why do I think it was a good invention…hmm… It is probably because, if my friends wear watches, then I believe they will at least come to certain place at certain time. I can’t understand why people can’t do the “gathering 5 minutes before.” And I have been very mad at it lately.

  11. Kae M5

    Q2
    I think some Social Networking Service, such as Facebook, Twitter or something like these can be a good example of innovation.
    With them, we can make new friends, get in touch with people in far places, share the pictures and information, and a lot of things.
    Thanks to them, it has been easier to talk with many people at the same time than on the phone.
    But perhaps it makes introversive person who hates seeing other person because of the convenience and addiction.
    Other troubles also may happen so we have to use SNS cleverly.

    I’m sorry that my responce is too late.
    I caught this homework system at 1 am!
    But I still wonder if I misunderstood… ;(
    Anyway, see you soon!

  12. Shihiko M5

    Q4

    I don’t think Japan has a innovative atomosphere. I think teaching method in schools are one of the causes. In the all levels of educations, students just follow what teachers say, sit quietly, and take notes. This kind of education never let people be creative. Japan should introduce new teaching mothod like making students think more on their own, and express one’s own view. Japan is not inovative in politics either. There are still few womens in the members of the Diet, and there are some cases of bribery and corruption.
    However, It can be said that Japan is innovative in some ways, espectially in technological area. For example, the dry cell battery, the automatic ticket gates in the station, and the toilet seat with a warm-water shower feature are all created by Japanese inventors. They are very useful and we can’t do without them now.

  13. Momo

    I think Japan has an innovative atmosphere.
    People don’t feel it in daily life though,Many of Japanese companies have developed great ideas for many years. That is sure sign of Japanese innovative atmosphere.

  14. misato M5

    Entirely,I don’t think innovation is popular in Japan.
    However, some people innovates a lot, for example there are many nobel prize winners, a discovery of
    induced pluripotent stem cells, innovations in the engineering area…
    It’s not the mainstream but I think there is surely an innovative atmosphere.

  15. ShunM5

    I think Japan has a innovative atmosphere a bit.
    Japanese companies are making new production every year and they are really innovative(electric cars,ASIMO and so on).
    But it is limited in some company or some university who has a lot of funds,technologies and time.
    What is worse,all most all community has a atomosphere which ban a new idea.

  16. Maho M4

    Q2&Q3
    The Internet and e-mail was a big innovation. It changed our ways of communication. It also changed ways of business around the world. This was possible because the system that Microsoft created was so innovative and useful that it was adopted everywhere around the world. At this point, Apple was not innovative like today. Microsoft was leading the industry. Apple first made an innovation in MP3 players. It changed our ways of listening to music. I think Apple succeeded because it did what nobody did. Also, I think that Apple’s presentation and advertisement plays an important role in creating the “innovative” brand.

  17. Jay

    Q4. Japan doesn’t have an innovative atmosphere in my opinion. The Japanese education system concentrates on students learning to be passive and not active. Innovation requires action on the innovator’s part which is an experience Japanese students rarely have.

    M4(&5)

  18. Maho

    Re:
    Q2&Q3
    The Internet and e-mail was a big innovation. It changed our ways of communication. It also changed ways of business around the world. This was possible because the system that Microsoft created was so innovative and useful that it was adopted everywhere around the world. At this point, Apple was not innovative like today. Microsoft was leading the industry. Apple first made an innovation in MP3 players. It changed our ways of listening to music. I think Apple succeeded because it did what nobody did. Also, I think that Apple’s presentation and advertisement plays an important role in creating the “innovative” brand.

  19. Takuya M5

    Q2 I think the internet was created as the tool of gaining imformation easier than by phone, by news paper, or by mail. They are really useful so they developed rapidly. Now they are so important in our world, they are indispensable. Not only they are used for the source of imformation, now they are used to shop, communicate with people far away, and used as business.

  20. M4 Sotaro

    I think Japan has an innovative atmosphere than before because of the earthquake or other economic problems. Nothing has been the same after the quake and compared to other countries, I think Japan is doing a good job. The government and companies are tring to change this country in a good way, little by little.

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