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Professors and the Unanticipated Consequences of Digital Transformation

Code Halos - The Book
On my run yesterday I listened to a Freakonomics Radio podcast as I do regularly.  In the latest podcast titled How to Think Like a Freak — and Other FREAK-quently Asked, authors Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner discussed the fact that university professors get to keep all the rights to books they write and the profits they generate as a result, but not for inventions.  I have been pondering that topic since.

Why would universities treat the creation of a book, and the profits from a book, differently than that of an invention?  Perhaps written ideas were perceived as having less value, than using those ideas to produce a physical object with productive value.  Although, it could be argued that patents are written words and drawings.  If a university professor wrote a book of patentable ideas, they could sell it and keep all the profits, but if they used the words to make a product they would lose the rights and the profits.   Hummmm...

How does this strange agreement work in an age of digital transformation when many of the most profitable businesses produce no products, but are simply based upon the clever arrangement of digits. Netflix, Amazon, eBay, Google etc., come to mind.  They base their businesses off of the use of "Code Halos."  Websites, product catalogs, digital ads, e-commerce engines, shopping carts and online shipment tracking systems are digital (letters and numbers representing 0s and 1s).

I don't think universities have yet thought this through.

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Kevin Benedict
Writer, Speaker, Editor
Senior Analyst, Digital Transformation, EBA, Center for the Future of Work Cognizant
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Recommended Strategy Book Code Halos
Recommended iPad App Code Halos for iPads

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and digital transformation analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

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More Stories By Kevin Benedict

Kevin Benedict is an opinionated futurist, Principal Analyst at the Center for Digital Intelligence™, C4DIGI.com, emerging technologies analyst, and digital transformation and business strategy consultant. In the past 8 years he has taught workshops for large enterprises and government agencies in 18 different countries, and is a keynote speaker at conferences worldwide. He spent nearly 5 years working as a Senior Analyst at Cognizant (CTSH), and 2 years serving in Cognizant's Center for the Future of Work where he wrote many reports, hundreds of articles, interviewed technology experts, and produced videos on the future of digital technologies and their impact on industries. He has written articles published in The Guardian, wrote the Forward to SAP Press' book titled "Mobilizing Your Enterprise with SAP", published over 3,000 articles and was featured as thought leader and digital strategist in the Department of Defense's IQT intelligence journal. Kevin lectures and leads workshops, teaches and consults with companies and government agencies around the world to help develop digital transformation and business strategies. Visit his website at C4DIGI.com.

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