Archive for the ‘Innovation’ Category

All Innovation Is Combination

November 1, 2011

There is nothing new under the sun – just different combinations.

Innovation Is Combination

Innovation Is Combination

Therefore, all innovation is the combination of that which already exists.

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Innovation: A New Dimension of Performance

August 10, 2009

While traveling across the country, I have begun considering what constitutes innovation.

Years ago, I read a quote from Peter Drucker regarding innovation where he defined innovation as “a new dimension of performance.”

While thinking about new products that successfully entered or disrupted markets, they all seem to have shared Drucker’s definition of innovation – a new dimension of performance.

What new product or service can hope to succeed ie., penetrate and serve a market let alone profit from it – without first having met his “new dimension of performance” definition?

Vivu.TV @ AlwaysOn Summit

August 4, 2009

As mentioned here and on my personal blog, I attended the AlwaysOn Summit @ Stanford last week and was impressed by the degrees of innovation discussed not only from within the panels and the Summit’s speakers but also that which was applied by the AlwaysOn conference itself.

As a virtual conference attendee, my experience was made entirely possible by technology that was  incorporated into the show’s production.

Vivu.TV was the webcast / video provider for AlwaysOn and their technology made my virtual attendance possible.

Vivu.TV

Vivu.TV

More about Vivu.TV from their website:

Founded by startup veterans from Cisco, Alcatel-Lucent and a team of IIT graduates, ViVu develops first-of-its-kind Participative Event Platform that enables live video participation from a PC, Mac or Linux without any proprietary downloads and seamlessly integrates with most of the popular streaming video and conference solutions.

The team developed the first enterprise quality video over IP a decade ago and is now building a participative platform that scales and provides the ease-of-use, quality and availability expected in an enterprise. ViVu solution is targeted at enterprises and is being used in a variety of ways: remote training courses, sales training on new products, and remote live video caller participation during Webcasts.

Like their site says – I am a Mac user and I was easily able to log into and participate in the AlwaysOn conference without having to download anything.

Peter Drucker defined Innovation as “a new dimension of performance”.

If Mr. Drucker were alive today, I am pretty sure the Vivu.TV “participative event platform” would qualify under his definition of innovation.

AlwaysOn Summit at Stanford #AOSS09

July 31, 2009

I virtually attended my first conference this week at Stanford University called the AlwaysOn Summit at Stanford.

This year was the seventh addition of the conference and was titled: “Meet the New Captains of Innovation”.

I stumbled onto the conference while doing research and ended up “attending” two days worth of sessions via my laptop even though I was 1,600+ miles from Stanford.

From the Summit at Stanford conference website:

AlwaysOn Summit at Stanford

AlwaysOn Summit at Stanford

On July 28-30, leaders in the global technology industry will gather at the Athens of the Information Age for high-level debates on trends and opportunities.

Who Attends?
Summit at Stanford, features the most innovative companies, eminent technologists, influential investors, and journalists in keynote presentations, panel debates and private company CEO showcases. Our goal is to identify the most promising entrepreneurial opportunities and investments.

Indeed.

880 people attended the three day event in person while thousands of visitors like myself virtually attended the conference from 80 countries according to show founder Tony Perkins.

I particulary enjoyed the innovative interactivity of the show.

Web visitors could log on to the Stanford conference via Vivu.TV to view the panel discussions while also asking them questions via chat or Twitter during the Q&A segments.

AlwaysOn Summit at Stanford

AlwaysOn Summit at Stanford

I aggregated conference attendees Tweets via Twitter and then re-tweeted the comments I found most interesting.

I believe my approach to virtually attending this conference, aggregating and then rebroadcasting my findings was innovative in itself.

I enjoyed every panelists contributions particularly the comments about Silicon Valley’s origins from Norm Fogelsong, General Partner at Institutional Venture Partners.

The AlwaysOn Summit at Stanford has set the standard for how all other conferences should be run.

All my notes from the conference are posted on TimothyCohn.com.

Government Innovation: CA Waste Watchers

June 16, 2009

California’s Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger administration has launched what appears to be an innovative interactive communications forum called Waste Watchers.

WasteWatchers.CA.Gov asks the citizens of California to “Report Problems / Share Solutions”.

From Governor Schwarzenegger:

I will not stand for waste and abuse of taxpayer dollars. I urge you to report wasteful practices in state government here. Also, if you have a suggestion for making government work better, please use this page to let us know.

– Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger

WasteWatchers.CA.Gov

WasteWatchers.CA.Gov

According to Governor Schwarzenegger Twitter account, the California Waste Watchers site has already received nearly 1,000 reports since inception.

Governor Schwarzenegger

Governor Schwarzenegger

With a budget shortfall bigger than many states entire budgets, California by definition has the greatest need of any US State for innovative communication methods to speed both identifying and reducing government waste.

The WasteWatchers.CA.Gov site is surely a step in the right direction.

McKinsey and Company’s Innovation Clusters Heat Map

March 3, 2009

McKinsey and Company has partnered with the World Economic Forum to produce a map of innovation clusters by market location.

From McKinsey and Company:

…in times of economic turbulence, innovation remains the most important differentiator separating economic winners from also-rans.

Global Innovation Heat Map

Global Innovation Heat Map

The McKinsey report places innovation clusters into four categories: Dynamic oceans, Silent lakes, Hot springs and Shrinking pools.

More from McKinsey about their report:

…we have examined the evolution of hundreds of such clusters around the world and analyzed over 700 variables, including those driving innovation (business environment, government and regulation, human capital, infrastructure, and local demand) along with proxies for innovation output (for example, economic value added, journal publications, patent applications) to identify trends among the success stories. In the process, we have found patterns that suggest the critical ingredients required to grow, nurture, and sustain innovation hubs.

Not without surprise, Silicon Valley is the largest Dynamic ocean of innovation in the world.

Financial engineering and marketing advantage excluded, I am convinced all new profits are fueled in part by technological advancements.

From where I sit in Oklahoma and for some time, it has looked like the majority of America’s innovations (technological advancements) and the world’s for that matter – have originated from Northern California (Silicon Valley & San Francisco).

Thus for any business to capture new profits from within its market  – and again barring financial engineering and marketing advantage – the profit seeking business must embrace technological innovation – innovations more than likely developed in Silicon Valley.

Coincidentally, the combination of these factors were what lead to my decision to become a Google Adwords Professional long ago.

Innovation: Filling Unidentified & Unmet Needs

June 23, 2007

“Customers don’t always know what they want. The decline in coffee-drinking was due to the fact that most of the coffee people bought was stale and they weren’t enjoying it. Once they tasted ours and experienced what we call “the third place”… a gathering place between home and work where they were treated with respect… they found we were filling a need they didn’t know they had.” Howard Schultz – Starbucks

DisneyPhotoPass.com Times Up

June 7, 2007

I just spent eight days vacationing with my wife and kids at DisneyWorld in Orlando, Fl.

I like going to Disney World or Disney Land once a year. Not only do I get to have fun with my family while my kids are still young enough to enjoy it, I also get to see what customer service innovations Disney has come up with.

This year I saw a couple of things I hadn’t seen before including the Disney Photo Pass.

Having done work for event photography innovator Candid Color Systems and Party Pics, I was curious to see just exactly how Disney event photography services generate additional revenue for their parks.

Unfortunately, I haven’t yet been able to access their site to see or purchase my photos let alone learn how their service functions.

I refreshed my browser and tried again to no avail.

It isn’t often I experience the type of error message I received while trying to access the Disney site.

For the time being, this loyal Disney customer is taking a pass on Disney’s Photo Pass.
DisneyPhotoPass.com

You Can Always Tell A Harvard Man…

November 9, 2006

when you see him, but you can’t tell him much.

This saying came to mind this morning while thinking about the hundreds of different business marketing consulting projects I have considered.

Unfortunately, the saying is true particularly when the Harvard man is also the owner of the business.

Why would a Harvard graduate ask me to discuss his business plans?

For the same reason most every other business owner who has ever contacted me did, to get a “second” opinion.

An opinion, a diagnosis not free of bias but one free from theirs.

Every small to medium size business owner prospect or client I have spent time with has had the same problem.

To get to where they are, they had to surround themselves with people they trusted. Those people in turn grow comfortable and content with their having “made it” to their organizations inner circle.

All is warm and fuzzy when times are good.

With their having “made it” the members of the inner circle sign up for hefty mortgages, buy expensive cars and enroll their children in private schools.

What follows next isn’t pretty but happens quite predictably within varying degrees of time.

The business encounters some form of disruption from outside the team’s control shaking their trust.

The team functions well managing the day-to-day operations when the sailing is smooth, but has difficulty responding to any unexpected swells that may rock their otherwise smooth sailing ship.

Why?

Contempt.

A distrust in all knowledge and experience other than their own.

Why not? The owner and his inner circle have seen it all before.

Those waves heaving over the bow will surely subside.

The owner silently tells himself, “My team and I can handle this like we handled everything prior.”

There is only one problem.

Change aka risk…

Innovation by definition means doing something new and different.

The inner circle who once clawed and scratched their way to the table is no longer interested in taking a risk on something new and different.

When the subject is broached the owner hears,
“Us, do something different?” “Are you kidding?”
“We have houses to protect and families to support!”

Regardless of whether a single member of the team ever graduated from Harvard or not, the team has caught the same bug.

The Closemindedness Bug.

Now we all suffer from this to varying degrees, but business executives should be the last to catch it if ever.

If you or your team have been infected with the Closemindedness Bug seek professional help before your market hospitalizes you.

QuickupCamper.com New Product Marketing

September 8, 2006

Jay Baldwin the designer of the Ford Econoline camper has created a new type of pickup camper. As expected, his Quickup Camper has met resistance in both the pickup camper and recreational vehicle markets. The ability of an industry to embrace innovation corresponds with its history of having innovated in the past.

This is both a blessing and a curse for the new product developer. On the one hand, industries which show little or no aptitude for creative and innovative thinking are by definition ripe for having their markets disrupted.

On the other hand in industries where creativity and innovation are required for survival each new product introduction can only hope to disrupt.

Product launches in either market have their challenges.

My recommendations for launching the Quickup Camper are as follows:

1. Change the name. The status quo will not willingly allow disruption of their market from within their market with their language. This rules out camper and recreational vehicle term mashups.

2. Clearly define the target market and buyer. Is the market for this product really the camper? If so, construct a new brand name from within their lexicon. Getting mature campers to embrace change sounds like an uphill battle to me. This leaves the 18 to 45 year old market. Since the product has a 21st century look, co-opt 21st century language to brand it. Campod, Pickupod or Popupod could get a lot of mileage.

3. Announce your new product to the media. Lead the audience to your website. Forward prospective buyer information to potential dealers to create your own distribution network.