Small teams vs large teams and innovation effects

Large teams develop and small teams disrupt science and technology |  Nature

Analyses of the output produced by large versus small teams of researchers and innovators demonstrate that their work differs systematically in the extent to which it disrupts or develops existing science and technology.

Me: Large teams do more incremental innovation. Small teams do more break-through innovations (which last further into the future, when it works…). Ties in anecdotally to what we know about large company innovation vs smaller tech and biotech innovation (and the high risk, high reward nature of smaller teams / companies). But you need both for a healthy innovation ecosystem.  It seems to be that small teams (less than 8, and say, solo or duo teams) look at older, promising ideas that weren’t developed and take those forward, but also that combining ideas from several fields is effective between 1 and 8 team members, but then falls.

Nature letter here:

Full paper accessible here:

Univeral Basic Income, Finland experiment

A trio of articles looking at the Universal Basic Income idea and recent trial in Finland. Plus link to the Finiland page.

Tiny Indian state wants to pay its citizens a universal basic income | South China Morning Post / WaPo

If successful, the experiment by Sikkim, one of India’s most progressive states, would help alleviate poverty and address the challenge of job automation

Universal basic income in India is a tantalisingly close prospect

Biometric ID cards and the squeeze on the rural poor are propelling the idea forward | Financial Times

Finland's grand universal basic income experiment raises more questions than it answers | WIRED

Universal basic income might make people feel less stressed but doesn't necessarily fix unemployment

Me: Along with a “job guarantee” idea, UBI started off as a fairly radical idea with now some significant small scale experiments behind it. I’m cautious as to how much other places can extrapolate from Finland, but overall it neither seems to help nor hinder your job prospects, but makes you feel happier. Maybe that’s enough given the highly admin intensive and relatively poor long-term outcomes for the current “job seeker” type benefits/sanctions, despite policy-maker backing.  

“In Britain, intensifying the use of sanctions and introducing harsher penalties associated with being sanctioned has been largely ineffective  at increasing flows from JSA into sustainable employment.” doi:10.1093/cje/bex088 Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA) benefit sanctions and labour market outcomes in Britain, 2001–2014 Martin Taulbu et al. (2018)

Link to the Finland experiment here:

History of Start up failure, Washdoctors

A brief history of Wash Doctors – WashDoctors

History of a London based car wash start up from start to failure in 2 years. “As Founders of a business you need to be stable when things are going wrong, understated when things are going well.”

Me: We’ve used wash doctors. The business had some nice elements to it, some sustainable themes, possible better pay for workers. But the founders examine why the economics don’t work out for very human reasons (complaints, high variability of demand). Fascinating little glimpse into the very considered unfortunate end to a start-up. I hope they try some thing else.