On-Point: Innovation after World War II and More

Innovation after World War II, Why A16Z invested in Figma, Living a B+Life

On-point summaries of the best writing on design and innovation from around the globe. To get this summary in your inbox, sign up here

The Science & Technology of World War II

Dr. David Mindell, Professor, MIT, compares the current pandemic to World War II. Like the virus, that too affected the entire world, and completely changed life, business and politics. More importantly, it spawned a number of inventions and innovations that we take for granted today.

Early electronic computing devices were developed to break ‘war codes’. Early control centers aboard ships and aircraft pioneered the networked, interactive computing. The technology of radar, to see beyond the visible, was developed

Blood transfusion was perfected, Penicillin was mass-produced and aviation medicine developed. To compensate for metals directed to war efforts, the modern world with its moulded plywood furniture, fiberglass, plastics, and polyester was created

The science of nutrition expanded greatly, identifying necessary vitamins and minerals, as well as calorie requirements

The American industry and war machine trained people quickly and effectively and the very way we train people to use new technologies even today is based on this

Scientific and technological progress accelerated as a result of WWII and the modern idea of R&D was born. This also led sadly, to the creation of the atomic bomb. Says Dr. Mindell, “Science and math know no morality. It is only when people apply their actions, desires, intentions to them that they have an opportunity to use them for positive or negative purposes.”

As the world unites against the pandemic, it seems fairly certain we will see medical and scientific breakthroughs. Their costs to society will only be judged after time has passed.

Investing in Figma: The Decade of Design

Peter Levine, General Partner, at venture capital firm Andreesson Horowitz, wrote a post about the firm’s $50M investment in design collaboration platform Figma.

He says, “The last decade was the decade of code and this is the decade of design”. It is now no longer optional for a product to be well-designed. Players like Dribbble and Creative Market have tried to bring designers and portfolios together. However, they did not include a designer’s assets, which stayed on individual hard drives. Figma, on the other hand, has cracked the open design community piece by allowing people to build upon each other’s creations in an open (and licensable) way.

Launched in 2015 by Dylan Field and Evan Wallace, Figma now has 4M users and more than 700+ third-party plugins, with over 3M plugin installs. Companies from AirBnB and Uber to Microsoft and Goldman Sachs are using Figma.

Levine ends by saying “There is the story of software, software development, and now, software-based collaboration around design.” We agree and believe that the design collab ecosystem is going to see a lot more action.

Illustrators Can Collaborate With Blush

Pablo Stanley, Design Lead, Invision has launched Blush, a tool that allows designers to add stunning illustrations to their work by customising collections created by a global community. It’s free for basic access and paid only if you need to access vector files.

The ‘B+’ Lifestyle: How to Live a Pretty Damn Good Life

Stressed out by the ‘model lifestyle’ you should have achieved according to the glossy images you are bombarded with? In this post, writing coach Ayodeji Awosika, talks about maintaining the balance between a so-called successful life, and a slacker, no-goals lifestyle.

His advice is this: “If you focus on being even  slightly better than the average person in society , you’ll be setting yourself up for a pretty damn good life”

And the wonderful thing is that being above average doesn’t require anything extraordinary. It just demands simple, gradual, persistent effort. So don’t kill yourself aiming for lofty success and don’t settle for a mediocre life. A B+ lifestyle is the sweet, happy spot.

You can achieve this by making simple changes that dramatically increase the quality of your life.

Read, learn, start a side business.

Not difficult to do, just time-consuming so start now.

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