I use this blog to gather information and thoughts about invention and innovation, the subjects I've been teaching at Stanford University Continuing Studies Program since 2005.
The current course is Principles of Invention and Innovation (Summer '17).
Our book "Scalable Innovation" is now available on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Scalable-Innovation-Inventors-Entrepreneurs-Professionals/dp/1466590971/
The essential idea was to give a monkey a dollar and see what it did with it. The currency Chen settled on was a silver disc, one inch in diameter, with a hole in the middle -- ''kind of like Chinese money,'' he says. It took several months of rudimentary repetition to teach the monkeys that these tokens were valuable as a means of exchange for a treat and would be similarly valuable the next day. Having gained that understanding, a capuchin would then be presented with 12 tokens on a tray and have to decide how many to surrender for, say, Jell-O cubes versus grapes. This first step allowed each capuchin to reveal its preferences and to grasp the concept of budgeting.
Over time, the capuchins learned to behave just like people: gamble and trade goods, favors, and sex for these shiny useless discs.