Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays from Front End of Innovation

We will be taking some much needed time off for the holidays. We'd like to thank you for your readership and we encourage you to check back with us next year for more innovative thought, perspective and news surrounding the world of Innovation.

We wish you a joyous holiday season!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Hitting the Sweet Spot in Innovation

This post on techdirt highlights an interesting concept that just having an idea alone isn’t enough to make a product valuable. Mike Masnick explains that a lot of experimentation has been done on products in order to hit that sweet spot, and this dates back to early inventions. Tweaks and minor improvements to ideas is a great way to see what works and what doesn’t work in a market, but with our patent system that might be a little more difficult.

The Buy and Sell Side of Innovation

This post on Endless Innovation does a great job of taking the financial services industry as an example of the “buy” and “sell” side of innovation. The “buy” side includes portfolio managers that are handed down huge assets from clientele to invest. The “sell” side includes bankers create and package up products over to the “buy” side. We can easily relate this to innovation. As the post mentions:

Are you the manager looking for some creative ideas to boost your business? Or are you the innovation consultant looking to sell-in your ideas to top managment?

So what side of the equation are you in?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Inspiration, Images, Insight, Imitation, Innovation

Just a quick post on this pre-holiday weekend, with my design-leaning kids out of school / back from college for the holidays, and a general sense of creativity mixed in with the holiday spirit.

Inspiration ...

... can come from many places. Nothing new there, but I like to get inspiration for X from looking at a different kind of Y. Spice up a presentation? Browse a library of web site designs. Capturing a business process? Learn about alternative user interfaces. Brainstorming a new concept? Wander through an image library.


There were more than a few postings over the last few months, regarding Multicolr Search Lab. This site is stunning, both technically (practically defines "intuitive UI") and creatively (very easy to lose yourself in different color combinations). Pick your favorite corporate colors, and even staid corporations could find some interesting CC-licensed photos to liven up their presentations. (Funny, I can't get a decent kelly green option on the site - bummer).


I've posted before about visualization libraries, but here's one I've found since then - A Beautiful WWW is a great site to monitor if you like visualization technicques, and are willing to surf and experiment. This post is a nice summary of libraries - potentially helpful for presentations, applications, even reports. Next time they ask for Yet Another Ledger Report, you be the one to shoot Old YALR, and replace him with a total page featuring a few Tuftettes (sorry, sparklines).


I'm never above a sincere bit of flattery, and often look to other sites for design inspiration. SitePoint and A List Apart will often post about the techniques required to spin your own magic, but they will also refer to plenty of examples - check out this list of 15 sites to browse for some design inspiration (some I've seen before, but PatternTap was a particularly good one!).


The most interesting stuff I've stumbled upon lately are innovative mixes of site design, UI, and search - for images. A result set of similar offerings, really ...
  • Pixolu (via) starts with a keyword, and then lets me pick images that are close to a mental image I'm trying to capture. 
  • A little bit quicker, a little less free-association, is the "show similar images" option over at Live Search. Points for speedy response, however.
  • Today's addition (ibid): Google Image Search (that old stand-by) - a new search attribute that limits the results by image style.
All dynamite stuff, but I think I'll rely on Pixolu for my style of stand-up.

Previously ...

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Is IDEO Still the King of Innovation?

I came across this post from innovation guru Bruce Nussbaum from BusinessWeek in which he answers the question, “Is IDEO still the king of innovation?”

His main thoughts are that IDEO has the advantage of its huge global brand. IDEO is the only innovation consultancy that has a global brand name that is larger than others, so it helps strengthen their position in the marketplace especially in a downturn economy. Take a look at the video below.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Pre-Stealing Ideas

The general theme of Seth Godin’s recent post is that the next innovation might already be in the works, so what’s stopping you from thinking and acting faster than the best? Seth gives an example of how Harry Harrison became extremely upset after Michael Crichton released The Andromeda Strain, which was extremely similar to the science fiction novel Harry had been working on for six months!

The general consensus to innovation, think faster and bolder than the best innovators.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Where to start?

That question keeps popping up in my life... particularly when trying to wrap my mind around the details of our innovation process.

Where to start...

  • as a guest blogger for FEI?
  • when it comes to creating incentive systems for innovators in my company?
  • as my co-conspirators and I work to change organizational culture and behaviors?
  • looking for actionable advice for managing (supporting? uncovering?) innovation?
  • applying resources (time, people, money) when there are so many unmet needs?

While I usually arrive at some semblance of an answer... I end up uncovering a basketfull of additional questions along the way! After talking with peers from other organizations at a recent program at MIT, I was somewhat relieved to discover that I'm not alone. That my company, industry and nation are not alone when struggling to find, filter and apply the right ideas to meet the right needs to create, deliver and capture value.

That's a primary reason I'm excited about FEI Europe next month: I get to listen, talk and spend time with other innovation practitioners. To hear their stories of where they started a particular practice - and the decisions they made and lessons they learned along the way. I'll be posting some of the anecdotes and kernels of wisdom I hear along the way.

I hope to meet some of you there.

Google: Rising Above in a Downturn Economy

Despite the struggling battles many companies are facing to survive, Google doesn’t seem to be too worried about its future. Robert Hof , Silicon Valley bureau chief, recently had an interview with Marissa Mayer, Google VP of search products and user experience, in which she talked about the challenges to Google's power from the government and from the declining economy.

An interesting mantra that is thrown around Google is “Scarcity brings clarity.” Even Google is doing better than most companies it still evaluates processes to see what makes sense and what doesn’t. Mayer gives the example of being frugal with the development of their first gym. During the early years most employees worked 130-hour weeks in a row and so they became very out of shape. Giving less than $5,000, the team was forced to build a luxury gym really cheap.

So if you take a closer look at the luxuries offered by Google, you will see that they are able to do it through really cost-effective ways. How are your organizations staying innovative through this economy?

Read the full interview from BusinessWeek here.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Millenial Generation and Innovation

The 2008 presidential election proved to the world that the millennial generation is not willing to sit back and wait for others to act, but that they are ready to take responsibility and leadership for themselves. This article on MarketWatch highlights how the millennial generation, which runs 95 million strong, is ready and able to do whatever it takes to help President-elect Barack Obama.

Eric Greenberg, author of Generation We: How Millennial Youth Are Taking Over America and Changing Our World Forever is a huge advocate for using what he calls “America's greatest untapped resources: the Millennial Generation.” He’s even released a website,, and released this YouTube video to help mobilize and organize the Millennial Generation.

Innovation has always been the backbone of America’s success, and the millenials are seeing this now more than ever:

“Seeing little hope for real change within the current political system, Millennials believe that innovation and new ideas are the only path forward, and they are eager to engage in collective social movements to reshape the world around their own values and priorities.”

The 2009 Front End of Innovation US Conference will have a panel session during the Culture Factors Track on the topic of Millennial Generation and Innovation called, “Why won’t you let me innovate?” Panelists for this session to date include millennial innovation practitioners from Birds Eye Food and Kimberly Clark. We have room for one more millennial panelist during this session at FEI US. So if you are a millennial interested in participating, please contact Jennifer Finer
with a short (one paragraph) proposal.

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Bad Economy…A Good Time to Innovate

Earlier this morning I came across this interview on The Wall Street Journal between Clay Christensen, previous FEI keynoter, and MIT Sloan Management Review senior editor Martha E. Mangelsdorf for Business Insight discussing the environment for innovation during the financial crisis and economic downturn.

According to Clay, the economic downturn will have a positive effect on the environment for innovation. Here’s his reasoning behind it:

One of the banes of successful innovation is that companies may be so committed to innovation that they will give the innovators a lot of money to spend. And, statistically, 93% of all innovations that ultimately become successful started off in the wrong direction; the probability that you'll get it right the first time out of the gate is very low.

So, if you give people a lot of money, it gives them the privilege of pursuing the wrong strategy for a very long time. In an environment where you've got to push innovations out the door fast and keep the cost of innovation low, the probability that you'll be successful is actually much higher.

Clay also predicts that we will see more innovation from private companies and that the current economic crisis will force a real solution to the health-care problem. Read the entire interview here.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Innovation at Kraft

According to Kraft, 99% of all American households have at least one of its products which range from Philadelphia cream cheese, DiGiorno Pizza, and Kool-Aid just to name a few. Within the past year, Kraft has introduced many products including Bagel-fuls and Oreo Cakesters. Now with the struggling economy, the company is poised to generate more than $40 billion in profit still. USA Today’s David Lieberman recently interviewed Kraft CEO Irene Rosenfeld in which she shared her thoughts about innovation in her company, leadership, and the economy.

When Irene Rosenfeld was asked what her crystal ball tells her about the New Year taking into consideration the recession, she replied
“The great news is that as the economy has softened around the world, we're seeing people eating more at home. And as they come home, they're coming home to Kraft. So we are battening down our hatches and preparing to continue to compete in a difficult environment.”

Read the rest of the interview here where she goes into more depth about innovation practices at Kraft.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Does Obama get "stim-novation"?

We’ve recently posted on this blog that President Elect Obama has named a “dream team” to lead the nation in its innovation practices, but…is this enough? This article on BusinessWeek highlights how the white paper Building on Success: Reforming the U.S. Innovation System written by Fred Block and Matthew Keller discusses that Obama will have to appoint a cabinet-level Department of Innovation within the next couple of years.

In the whitepaper, Block and Keller make specific suggestions including directing $3-$5 billion of the stimulus package towards non-defense R&D as well as investing in energy efficient activities such as putting an emphasis on solar panels and green materials in housing. They also introduce the term “stim-novation,” which means spending that stimulates the economy while also encouraging the development of new technologies, materials, and medical instruments (and other products).

Do you think the innovation agenda team Obama has named is enough to drive innovation to new heights? Download the white paper below. What are your thoughts?

Download the whitepaper

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Enterprise 2.0 and Innovation

I came across this presentation from Oscar berg on The Content Economy blog in which he discusses Enterprise 2.0 as innovation and driver of innovation in organizations. Take a couple of minutes to browse through the slides as I’m sure you will find it informative!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

American Automakers: A Greener Tomorrow?

The NY Times recently discussed that a deal to rescue the big 3 American automakers is finally moving ahead. Now the real question is what will the auto bailout plan do to spark innovation for these troubling automakers?

Ford might have stepped in front of the other 2 American automakers by taking a stern step towards producing greener cars as mentioned on this post on BusinessWeek. Ford plans to release the company’s first hybrid sedan, the Ford Fusion, early next year. This will be the first of many digitally savvy “green” vehicles that Ford hopes to make during the upcoming years. To help with their new designs, Ford has enlisted the help of the design firm IDEO, from Palo Alto California.

You might remember IDEO from one of our older posts in which we highlighted how the company helped Bank of America listen to what its customers wanted, and helped BOA roll out the “Keep the Change” initiative. In Ford’s case, IDEO conducted extensive research on three dozen driving habits throughout 2006.

Steve Bishop, IDEO's global lead of sustainability mentioned, “Our big finding was that drivers interested in fuel efficiency were playing a game. They want a high score."

Ford has done a couple of things with the dashboard in order to play into research that consumers are looking for a high score when it comes to fuel efficiency. They’ve created prototype dashboard concepts that resemble NASA flight simulators and LCD screens that will feature curling lines with green leaves. This adds a new design element that we’ve not yet seen in hybrid cars yet.

Toyota is still the industry leader in hybrid vehicles having sold more than 1 million Priuses worldwide. It will be interesting to see Ford step away from playing catch-up and really focus on taking the spotlight with these innovative designs.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Dean Kamen’s Home: “LED Nation”

I came across this article on the NY Times in which they describe that Dean Kamen, last year’s speaker at the Front End of Innovation Conference, has transformed his 3-acre island off of Connecticut into what he calls “the world’s first LED nation.”

Just this past June we posted on Dean Kamen’s invention of the human-like robotic arm that will give veterans from the war enough precision to grab grapes, but this project takes innovation to new levels. Dean Kamen wanted to have the island produce its own power through wind and solar, but since energy consumption was high, he had to reduce energy. This is when he decided to turn to LEDs.

With the aid of Philips Color Kinetics, they were able to remove all incandescent fixtures in the house and replaced them with Color Kinetics products. As a result of this, the total energy consumption used by the house went down by 50 percent, and so they were able to take the island off the grid. Prices for LED lighting are still too expensive for residential use, but it is dropping rapidly. I’m sure that it will only be a short matter of time before all households will soon turn to LED lighting to help reduce energy consumption.

Slide Show of Dean Kamen's "LED Nation"

Friday, December 5, 2008

Archived Webinar: Learn New Online Research Approaches to Product Naming

If you missed yesterday’s webinar here’s your chance to view it at your own leisure. Brendan Light, the SVP of Research and Product Development at BuzzBack Market Research presents on fast and effective methodologies that address different types of research goals in naming, specifically name ideation, name imagery and communications, and name selection.

Watch the archive here:

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Bid Farewell to the Old McDonald’s Packaging

This article in BusinessWeek highlights that McDonald’s is preparing to revamp its packaging to step away from the throwback designs of the 1990’s, and to also stay ahead of public obesity concerns. Packaging will include full-color photographs to ensure consumers that burgers like the Quarter Pounder for instance, are made up of real food. To go with this theme, McDonald’s classic white, yellow, and red French fry packaging will also display a peeled potato. Mary Dillon, McDonald's global chief marketing officer, mentions that, “This demonstrates the authenticity of the locally grown ingredients we use.”

More importantly, this will not simply just be different branding for the U.S. markets, McDonald’s will slowly implement these changes across 118 countries that it operates in. What’s interesting here is that McDonald’s consumers and employees worldwide love the current boxes the burgers and fries are placed in, how will customers react to the new packaging? Could we expect the same reaction from consumers as when Coke attempted to change its “original formula” in the 80’s?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Innovation in the Obama Administration

Since I plan on attending the historic moment of the inaugural address this January in Washington D.C., I was quite pleased to hear that Obama has created a team to create an innovation agenda for the U.S. James Toddhunter at Innovating to Win seems to be skeptical of the team named to lead the nation’s innovation efforts, which include Blair Levin, Sonal Shah and Julius Genachowski.

Whether or not we see huge improvements in the nation’s innovation approaches in the upcoming years, this is still a start. Perhaps with this administration the U.S. can catch up on innovation efforts and practices already taking place in European countries. These are exciting times!

(Read the full article here: Washington Post)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Innovator's Dilemma

Stephen Shapiro brings up an interesting point when he mentions how “the crappy and cheap will eventually take over the sophisticated and expensive,” which is an ideal from Clayton Christensen’s book The Innovator’s Dilemma. Later on in the post Stephen also gives us an example of this idea in the computing world. Before the age of the PC, the mini-computer and mainframe that cost tens of thousands of dollars were heavy in production. Now there are talks of how the new $300 netbooks might eventually replace the PC which can be bought today for under $1,000.

The current economy has created this problem where many companies are looking away from innovation and building cheaper developments instead of building faster and more sophisticated technologies. I’m interested to see what companies out there are still looking to innovate through these troubling times.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Will Luxury Brands Innovate Through the Recession?

With the holiday season coming up, many luxury brands are expected to experience a rough patch. Consumers are not spending as much as goods because of the economic situation, and unless these brands do something to address this phenomenon, then luxury brands might become extinct.

This latest post on the Marketing & Strategy Innovation Blog discusses that luxury brands must “innovate or die”, in order to prove once and for all that they can be recession proof. The wealthy will continue to pay a premium price for certain luxuries like iPod Louis Vuitton trunks, but what about the rest of the market? Idris Mootee at FutureLab explains how brands should instead focus on what they do best, and innovate within those categories. What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Facebook Knocking at Your Door

Facebook has come up with an innovative way to get users to do something else other than stare at their screen for hours. Jonathan Baskin discusses on his latest post on dimbulb how Facebook has announced that it will run “engagement ads”, which will prompt individuals to vote and comment on news items, movies, and other popular items. Once they vote, a short ad will then appear or some sort of widget will be placed on the user’s homepage.

An issue that many marketers face on social media and social networking sites is relevance. No one wants to get pitched to, but Jonathan explains if an advertisement taps into a user’s passion then perhaps it might create a good response. One thing is for sure; Facebook is taking ads beyond clicks and looking for new ways to engage its current customers.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Latest Innovation Poll Results

We’ve recently asked the question “Do you think the court ruling on "business method" patents will hurt innovation?” in our latest poll on this blog. The results show that 70% of respondents believe that the ruling will hurt innovation and its practices. I’m interested to hear your thoughts on the results.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Top Quartile Practices in the Front End

Here’s your chance to view Peter Koen’s presentation if you were not able to make it for the live event. Koen, who is an Associate Professor at Stevens Institute of Technology presented on best practices, methods and tools used in the Front End which will consistently increase the value, amount and success probability of high profit concepts entering the new product development funnel. The archived webinar recording is approximately an hour long.

Watch the archive here:

Friday, November 21, 2008

USA: Chairman Gordon Re-elected, Lays Out Vision For House Science and Technology Committee


On Thursday, the Democratic caucus re-elected Rep. Bart Gordon (D-TN) as Chairman of the Committee on Science and Technology for the 111th Congress.

"I am honored and excited to continue our work at the Committee on Science and Technology. I am very proud of the progress we made in the 110th Congress. We enacted the America COMPETES Act, to maintain and regrow America's economic competitiveness by supporting education and innovation. We reauthorized NASA, reaffirming our commitment to a balanced, robust program of science, aeronautics, and human spaceflight and exploration. And our contributions to the Energy Independence and Security Act expanded research, development, and demonstration of energy technologies and promoted renewable energy, energy efficiency, and clean coal technologies," said Gordon. "But there is much more work to be done, especially in light of our country's current economic problems. The major challenges facing our country--a foundering economy, a changing climate, a growing need for clean energy we produce at home--will be solved by science, technology, and American innovation. It's more important than ever that we are looking at how we can grow new sectors of the U.S. economy and ensure our long-term competitiveness."

Chairman Gordon was first elected Chair after Democrats gained the Majority in the 2006 elections. He joined the Committee as a freshman in the 99th Congress, and became Ranking Member in the 108th Congress.

For the rest of this article, please click here.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

GSMA Annouces Innovation Winners

The GSM Association (GSMA), the global trade group for the mobile industry, today announced the winners of the APAC leg of the 2009 Mobile Innovation Global Award Competition. The winners were announced at the GSMA's Mobile Asia Congress, Asia's leading mobile communications event, that's taken place in Macau, China this week.

For a list of winners, please click here.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Learn New Online Research Approaches to Product Naming in the Ideation Process

Join us for a free webinar. Please note the different times to accomodate European and United States attendees.


Join us for a Free Webinar
Thursday, December 4th from 3:00 to 4:00pm GMT

Please mention priority code: MWS0016Buzz
Space is limited.Reserve your Webinar seat now at:


Join us for a Free Webinar
Thursday, December 4th from 2:00-3:00 EST

Please mention priority code: MWS0016Buzz

Space is limited.Reserve your Webinar seat now at:

About the web seminar:
Naming can be a particularly challenging part of the new product development process and there are different research needs depending on what stage you are at in the process, e.g., ideation, evaluation or selection. In this webinar, using case study examples, we will explore three innovative online techniques that address the different challenges in each of these stages.
IDQ, an online interactive ideation process in which consumers create and evaluate names in real time in response to a product concept. We’ll demonstrate how we generated and sorted hundreds of names in a very short period of time.
·eCollage, a highly engaging online quantitative exercise in which respondents create an online collage that communicates what a name means to them and the imagery and associations it evokes. This enables us to go beyond a name’s obvious descriptive and feature-focused characteristics to its underlying emotions and associations.
Configurator, a unique building platform for gaining quantitative understanding of naming options in context. Using this technique, names are presented in an online interactive exercise where respondents select the preferred name, icon, color and other packaging elements. Respondents decide which are most appealing and meaningful to them when imagining the products on shelf and then provide insight into why they prefer those elements.
What you will learn by attending:
New, fast and effective research methodologies that address different types of research goals in naming.


i. Name ideation: IDQ engages respondents in an exercise that generates hundreds of new name possibilities - and provides an initial evaluation and stratification of those names.

ii. Name Imagery and Communications: eCollage helps you understand emotions, images and associations that respondents have to certain names.

iii. Name selection: Configurator engages respondents in an inactive exercise that requires them to select one of several name options and then build other packaging elements around that name.

About the speaker

Brendan Light, SVP, Research and Product Development, BuzzBack Market Research

Brendan leads research development and best-practices for BuzzBack. In addition to continually improving the quality of the quantitative and qualitative methodologies and analytics of BuzzBack's research offerings, he pioneered BuzzBack's award-winning and patent-pending eCollage and Verbatim Viewer and leads the future development and research strategy for BuzzBack. He continues to focus on leveraging the transformative powers of the Internet to evolve respondent engagement, operational efficiency, and visualization of analytics and insight. Brendan has over 15 years of client and research supplier side experience, having also served as Research Director for Grey Interactive and as the Global Director of Ipsos-ASI Interactive.
Privacy Notice: IIR is dedicated to bringing you valuable information services such as this free Webinar. By registering for this event, you acknowledge that IIR may contact you electronically or by any other means regarding IIR's events and services. You may opt out of subsequent communications if you prefer to no longer receive them.

This web seminar is presented to you by:

Please visit our blog at for additional industry news and commentary.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Top Quartile Practices in the Front End

We'd like to remind you about the web seminar "Top Quartile Practices in the Front End." It will be tomorrow morning from 11AM to 12PM EDT with FEI Europe Keynote Speaker Professor Steven Koen of the Stevens Institute of Technology.

Sign up here:
And mention priory code: m2150w1Blog

About the web seminar:
What are the best practices, methods and tools used in the Front End which will consistently increase the value, amount and success probability of high profit concepts entering the new product development funnel? (The front end is that part of the innovation process which precedes formal development – typically prior to gate 3 in the traditional Stage Gate process.) Working with Cabot, Dow Corning, Ethicon, ExxonMobil, International Flavors and Fragrances, Johnson & Johnson, Rohm and Haas, Valvoline and WelchAllyn under a project funded through the National Science Foundation, under the auspices of the Industrial Research Institute, a large cross-sectional survey of medium to large companies was done in order to determine best practices in the front end. The results of this landmark study, which will be discussed in this web seminar, bring together practices from over 205 companies in order to provide clear statistical justification (i.e. evidenced based methodology) for “best” practices.

We hope you'll be joining us!

China and England Meet to Discuss Innovation


Chinese State Councilor Liu Yandongon Monday met with the British secretary of state for innovation, universities and skills for talks on bilateral cooperation on education and technology.
During the meeting, Liu spoke highly of the development of Sino-British comprehensive strategic partnership relations.
In recent years, the two countries have witnessed frequent high-level exchanges and deepening political trust. They also have made remarkable achievements in cooperation on various fields, said Liu, adding that the bilateral relationship maintains good momentum.

For more information, please click here.

How do you think this will impact Chinese-British relations? Share your thoughts!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Vodafone Americas Foundation Launches Wireless Innovation Challenge

From MarketWatch:

The Vodafone Americas Foundation today launched its Wireless Innovation Challenge, an initiative that seeks to identify and fund the best innovations using wireless related technology to address critical social issues around the world.
This new competition will award three winners prizes of $300,000, $200,000 and $100,000 for unique, late-stage wireless innovations that offer the best potential for creating social change in the areas of education, health, economic development, the environment and access to communication.
"Wireless has the potential to change the world," said June Sugiyama, Director of the Vodafone Americas Foundation. "By leveraging Vodafone's expertise in wireless and our worldwide commitment to furthering social good, the Wireless Innovation Challenge is a unique way to discover and invest in groundbreaking technological innovations with the potential for global impact."

For more information click here.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The True Innovation Potential of Employees Lies Outside the Perimeter of Their Job

Linda Hill, Professor at the Harvard Business School, recently discussed how companies that have demonstrated successful innovation practices have used strategies to engage innovators on a more personal level in this post on the Unstructure blog. When employees are put in an environment where daily routines, performance pressures, and workloads are present it seems to limit the quality of the innovative work flow.

I’m interested in hearing some success stories of breakthrough innovation by breaking the traditional employer-employee relationship?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Addressing Customer “Pain Points”

During an economic downturn, companies must really show that they are attuned to customer needs in order to bring innovative solutions to old-age problems. This post on Endless Innovation highlights two examples of how FedEx and have listened to their customers and have come up with new ideas to address these customer “pain points”.

Since the holiday season is approaching, many consumers will face the problem of opening up gifts. Some gifts are so tightly shrink wrapped it becomes a mission to penetrate gift wrapping. Amazon has decided to alleviate this problem by introducing “frustration-free packaging.” These gifts will now be easy and safe to open, with packaging that is recyclable.

FedEx has introduced a new baggage handling service in coordination with United Airlines to help consumers avoid carrying bulky materials through airports. For $149, consumers can have door-to-door baggage handling, instead of going through pesky check-in screening processes at the airport.

What are innovative solutions your organization has come up with to address customer “pain points” this holiday season?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Innovation is Leading the Way Even Through a Rough Patch

The results are in from the latest economics and innovation poll from the Innovating to Win blog. Just as I suspected, the majority of companies are still looking to innovation to lead the way through turbulent times, and so there are increasing investment.

Only 15.5% of companies are pulling back while a whopping 47% are increasing investments. Astounding numbers…

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Innovators Can Take a Page from Obama’s Book

How has the unlikeliest of candidates risen above and won the presidential election despite the fact that many conservatives argue that he has no executive experience? The answer here is that Barack Obama is a leader in radical innovation, as this article on Business Week explains. He has ran a political campaign like no other before, including participation from mountains and mountains of volunteers and the effective use of social media such as Facebook, blogs, and even Myspace.

Business Week has created a list of seven lessons for radical innovation that Barack Obama has brought to the table through this political campaign. Here’s the list:

  1. Have a self-organization design. Obama’s campaign broke new boundaries when it decided to think 3 dimensionally instead of the 2-dimension concept of tall and flat. His campaign included many volunteers, donors, and participants which helped balance asymmetries in marketing, finance, and distribution, unlike McCain’s campaign.
  2. Seek elasticity of resilience. Obama’s campaign was built for resilience instead of maximizing outputs. When McCain attacked Obama with negative ads, the Obama campaign did not retaliate and instead they held massive fundraisers.
  3. Minimize strategy. The Obama campaign wasted little time on strategy as they felt that strategy too often destroys credibility and corrupts valuable meaning.
  4. Maximize purpose. Obama’s goal was more than just to win the election. The “Yes we can” campaign proved that he wanted to change the world.
  5. Broaden unity. Instead of segmenting and targeting over and over like traditional marketers, Obama’s campaign succeeded through getting through to all markets with a unifying message that would hit home.
  6. Thicken power. Thin power relies on beating people into subjugation by instilling fear. Obama concentrated on “thick power”, which is true power. Obama was able to inspire, lead, and create a strong belief among people.
  7. Remember that there is nothing more asymmetrical than an ideal. The last lesson proves that an ideal is revolutionary and innovative. Barack closed out his election speech by saying, “let's go change the world.”
The article mentions that the 7th lesson is the starting point for tomorrow’s radical innovators, and I fully agree. I hope this revolutionary campaign has inspired businesses to use these seven lessons to think 3-dimensionally in their innovation practices.

Monday, November 10, 2008


I ran across this today, gave some hope for innovation in a bleak fiscal environment.

Intel chief: Recession can't halt innovation

There is a light at the end of the financial tunnel, Intel president and chief executive Paul Otellini said onstage at the Web 2.0 Summit on Thursday morning.

"All the smart people I've talked to in this area suggest that the U.S. is in a two- to three-quarter recession," Otellini said, although he added that the current economic slowdown is "the deepest one I've seen in my lifetime" and predicted that morale may stay low for longer because unemployment may remain high even after growth has resumed.

The point of his talk, however, was to focus on the innovation that will still be on the way regardless of how far the markets fall. "I like coming here," Otellini said of the Web 2.0 Summit. "It's a respite from...watching the stock market crash every day, and [a chance to] think about what the future is going to hold for us."

Otellini showed off two projects that Intel is working on internally.

One of them is a business-networking software product that Otellini said will make a big difference to how employees of large corporations socialize and network with one another, learn more about the company and collaborate on products.

Read the rest of the post here.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Zuckerberg’s Stand on Information: Sharing is Caring

Saul Hansell recently posted on NY Times Bits blog that Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, believes that internet users are becoming more prone to sharing information on what they’re doing, who their friends are, and what they look like over the web. Here’s “Zuckerberg’s Law”, as Saul calls it, in Mark’s own words:

“I would expect that next year, people will share twice as much information as they share this year, and next year, they will be sharing twice as much as they did the year before,” he said. “That means that people are using Facebook, and the applications and the ecosystem, more and more.”

Will teams across organizations innovate more efficiently if employers allow their workers to add social networking elements to their practices? How will the growing popularity of information sharing affect the innovation process?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Innovative Recycled Apparel

Today’s article in BusinessWeek discusses how Patagonia must tackle very daunting technical challenges in order to boost the percentage of recyclable products they offer from 47% to 100% by the year 2010.

The problem lies with the nylon fabric; unfortunately Patagonia only has one supplier of recycled nylon that meets its requirements. When the yarn from the fabric was spun, it led to unsatisfactory results. This in turn has led Patagonia to look into different fabrics to substitute nylon. They have collaborated with different partners across the globe to produce high-quality, recycled nylon filament yarn. It will be interesting to see if Patagonia will be able to boost the percentage of recycled products to 100% by their 2010 deadline.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Top Quartile Practices in the Front End

The team at Front End of Innovation has recently put together the free webinar Top Quartile Practices in the Front End which will take place on Wednesday, November 19th from 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM EST. Peter Koen, an Associate Professor at Stevens Institute of Technology, will be presenting on various methods and tools used in the Front End that increase value and profitability in the new product development channels. Mention priority code M2150W1BLOG when you register. Here’s a brief description of the webinar:

What are the best practices, methods and tools used in the Front End which will consistently increase the value, amount and success probability of high profit concepts entering the new product development funnel? (The front end is that part of the innovation process which precedes formal development – typically prior to gate 3 in the traditional Stage Gate process.) Working with Cabot, Dow Corning, Ethicon, ExxonMobil, International Flavors and Fragrances, Johnson & Johnson, Rohm and Haas, Valvoline and WelchAllyn under a project funded through the National Science Foundation, under the auspices of the Industrial Research Institute, a large cross-sectional survey of medium to large companies was done in order to determine best practices in the front end. The results of this landmark study, which will be discussed in this web seminar, bring together practices from over 205 companies in order to provide clear statistical justification (i.e. evidenced based methodology) for “best” practices.

Make sure not to miss Peter Coen’s session Why do Incumbents Fail at Implementing Breakthroughs at the Front End of Innovation Europe at Fairmont Monte Carlo in Monaco from January 26-28, 2009. Register for the free webinar here.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Latest Poll: Business Method Patents

With all of the excitement going on regarding the election polls, we decided to add another subject to vote on. In a recent post on this blog, we wrote about a court ruling by the US Court of Appeals, who had ruled against the ability to apply for "business method" patents. What are your thoughts, and which sided of the issue do you fall on? Make sure to vote in our latest poll!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Don't Forget the Big Picture - Innovation Shouldn't Be a 4 Letter Word

A few weeks ago we posted on a recent article with an interview with Judy Estrin, former CTO of Cisco Systems, as she discussed her new book, “Closing the Innovation Gap," as well as other topics of re-engaging the innovation process in companies and other institutions especially in regards to meeting the economic changes and demands that must be faced. Well I came across her again as she was cited in a recent article in NY Times, It's No Time to Forget About Innovation.

Now I've been reading quite a bit lately on message boards and discussion forums including our LinkedIn group where there is a great deal of discussion about the state of innovation within companies. Clearly senior managers are facing an economic situation that is forcing them to make the necessary budget cuts to weather the storm. But as this NY Times' article point out there is often the danger that budgets will focus on cutting inefficiencies that are unable to produce short-term results. Unfortunately the very nature of the 'Fuzzy' Front End of Innovation is that it can appear to outsiders as inefficient path; from concept, to development, to market, to reaping profits hand over fist.

Senior managers may talk quite a bit about the importance of investing in the future and innovating to meet the future needs of their markets. But in an economic climate as this, too often the knee-jerk reaction is to cut areas that do not have the short term results that are needed to bolster the business. The article cites a cadre of innovation experts about the importance of balancing the short-term needs of the business with the long-term strategy that relies heavily on innovation and R&D. Judy Estrin discusses some critical elements companies should develop and foster to ensure that their innovation process is not damaged during this economic downturn:

She suggests instilling five core values to entrench innovation in the corporate mind-set: questioning, risk-taking, openness, patience and trust. All five must be used together — risk-taking without questioning leads to recklessness, she says, while patience without trust sets up an every-man-for-himself mentality.

In an era of Six Sigma black belts and brown belts, Ms. Estrin urges setting aside certain efficiency measures in favor of what she calls “green-thumb leadership” — a future-oriented management style that understands, and even encourages, taking risks. Let efficiency measures govern the existing “factory farm,” she says, but create greenhouses and experimental gardens along the sides of the farm to nurture the risky investments that likely will take a number of years to bear fruit.

“I’m not suggesting you only cut from today’s stuff and keep the future part untouched,” she says. “You have to balance it.”

Balance. That is at the core of many of the quotes from this article. Innovators do understand the necessity of a business to make the necessary cuts in order to survive, but at the same time, they have to stress to senior managers that without some investment in the innovation process during a downturn then the business risks missing opportunities it will need to develop once this economic climate has improved, in order to grow and expand; otherwise it will have survived only to remain stagnate and underdeveloped or worse as competitors take market-share.

There is certainly no easy answer, even when one says it is important to Balance all of these elements. But in the political process of shaping budgets for 2009 and beyond, hopefully everyone at the table will consider the repercussions of every cut, especially as it relates to their innovation and R&D areas of their companies.

Designing the Green Product Experience

One of our sister events Voice of the Customer has put together a free webinar which I thought I’d pass along on this blog. Sumi N. Cate, Group Manager of R&D of Clorox and David Pilosof, Director of Consumer Applied Technology at Clorox will be presenting Designing the Green Product Experience on Wednesday, November 12, 2008 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EST. Mention priority code G1M2039W2BL when you register. Here’s a brief recap of the webinar:

The emergence of a consumer trend towards sustainable products continues to capture the interest of business leaders and many companies cite a sustainable strategy as one of the key foundations for their growth plans. Our recent consumer research at Clorox indicates that while in general consumers continue to seek “green” solutions to their needs, they want a healthy and sustainable home without sacrificing performance, value, or having to add complexity to their product use habits.

This presentation will describe a case study based on how Clorox developed tools and frameworks to analyze and leverage consumer’s total desired experiences to develop and commercialize an innovative line of natural plant and mineral based cleaning products, GreenWorksTM.

What you will learn by attending:

  • The challenges of framing the right consumer proposition
  • The difficulty of operating in an emerging area without regulatory definitions
  • The complexity of designing for a total consumer experience, beyond product performance
  • The criticality of hitting the mark in the intersect of all critical consumer drivers
As always, check back regularly as we will be posting innovation related webinars here. Register for this webinar here.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Could new law improve innovation?

Yesterday, the US Court of Appeals rejected a patent application which will end the patenting of business methods that are considered more entrepreneurial than innovative. This ruling generally affects "thoughts" and there are no physical objects used in the rulings.

According to CNet News:
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled on Thursday that the patent application at issue was not tied to a machine and did not result in a transformation, both standards set by the U.S. Supreme Court for patentability.

What do you think about this ruling? Will this increase or hinder innovation in the software industry?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

AG Lafley talks about consumer insight

At the Front End of Innovation website, we've recently added the second part of AG Lafley's keynote talk from the 2008 FEI US event. We invite you to watch. Part two focuses on how Proctor and Gamble and AG Lafley got reacquainted with their customers, and began to create new products according to what they observed in the natural environment of their customers.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Issuu finds a way to evolve the publishing world

Some industries have been struggling lately. The publishing industry is an example (CosmoGirl closing, and The Christian Science Monitor stopping daily newspaper). A new innovative website looks to change some of these things in the industry, and FoxBusiness took a look. is an online publishing service that was created to solve the problems associated with online publishing. Anyone can publish an article in the format equivalent to a printed publication. Companies have begun to see the value, as MTV Networks, Guardian Books, and The Bantam Dell division of Random House have started publishing with

What do you think a website liket this can do for an industry? It's publishing articles and documents for free, both for major corporations and the common people. It's already shown a great amount of success. Is this what's next for publishing?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Chicago Innovation Awards

Check out the winners of this year’s Chicago Innovation Awards. These innovators are at the top of their game and I’m looking forward to spending time researching their great work.

According to BusinessWeek, “This year's winners are as impressive as ever, ranging from Abbott Laboratories (ABT)—metro Chicago's biggest company measured by stock value—to PrepMe, a 2005 startup with only 10 full-time employees. The winners' creations include Internet services, of course. Just as impressive, they've also discovered ways to improve gear or processes that go back centuries.”

For more information on the event, click on the BusinessWeek’s Special Report.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Podcast: Recession Proofing Your Business With Innovation

This morning came across Steven Shapiro’s interview with Susan Friedman on “Riches in Niches” radio in which they discussed innovation and business success in today’s economy. Everyone seems to be worried about innovation practices in our current economic situation, and so this interview gives a few tips on how to survive through these troubling financial times.

Click on these links to view the 30 minute interview broking in two parts, Innovation Interview Part 1 and Innovation Interview Part 2, or stream it like by visiting Susan Friedman's page.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Innovating for the Future

In a move to increase the number of scientists and engineers, the European Science Foundation (ESF) is holding an exploratory workshop, as reported here. There are five sessions including: Entering the Labour Market, Human Capital and Careers, Labour Mobility, Researcher Performance, and R&D workers in industry. Co-convenor Andries de Grip had this to say regarding the workshop:

"Freeman stated that policy makers do not seem to be fully aware of the fact that scientists and engineers are the key actors in innovation, and will therefore be crucial for the future competitiveness of developed countries, which is at risk in both the US and Europe"

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Innovative Ideas From Tech Awards

Discovery Channel recently created a slide show celebrating the winners of Tech Awards, hosted by the Tech Museum of Innovation. It is an annual award given out to contestants for technological innovations in the fields of environment, education, economic development, equality and health. Five winners for each of of the previously mentioned categories are selected and are the recipient of $50,000 split between them. One of the winners created a means to produce fuel using plant oil. VWP (Vereinigte Werkstätten für Pflanzenöltechnologie), asked the question "What if producing food also produced fuel?" which led to the creation of the project "Carbon-Dioxide Recycle Concept for Food and Fuel." More of the winners and their winning innovative ideas can be seen here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Adult Stem Cells Therapies

In a recently provided analysis from Frost & Sullivan, innovation and "therapeutic potential" have been seen with testing of Adult Stem Cells. As this article from MarketWatch informs:

"Adult stem cell therapies were traditionally thought to have poor therapeutic potential because they could only be produced in limited quantities or as needed. Now adult stem cells have the potential to become standardized pre-made therapies that can be mass produced."

This new data may prove to be a step forward in stem cell research, since many of the reasons for difficulty with this type of research surrounds the use of embryonic cells. Adult stem cells do not carry the same negative stigma.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Innovation for the Sake of the Economy recently conducted an interview with Judy Estrin, current CTO at Cisco Systems. Her opinion is that Science and Technological Innovation have been the main reason for U.S. economic growth in the past, however, the current climate is not continuing to foster this type of atmosphere. In her book, "Closing the Innovation Gap", she discusses the importance of innovation, and how it is imperative for the U.S. to start on the path of cultivating innovation once more, as we discussed in this previous post. One of the points she makes in the interview conducted by FCW is:

"If you want sustainable innovation, which is really what we need to drive the economy, it’s not enough to have exciting new products. The iPod is a wonderful device, but in and of itself, is not enough to drive the economy. What you need is innovation in lots of different areas. You need breakthrough types of innovation like the Internet, whether it’s to drive the economy, to improve the quality of life, or to solve some of the major challenges that we have as a nation and a planet."

What are your thoughts on her perspective?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Innovation in Canada

The Gazette reports that innovation and infrastructure projects are the way to go in Canada to foster it through its weakened economy. Even though there is no recession in Canada, the country is still feeling the impact of the global economic crisis.

The article mentions that innovation will help generate future prosperity in the country, developing new and higher value for products and also creating more efficient ways to produce and deliver these goods and services. Roadblocks to innovation practices in this country include politicians that do not want to invest money in innovation because of troubling times in the economy. Investments today made in innovation processes will directly impact the future of the country. It will be interesting to see how things will span out for the country of Canada over the next 10 years.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Innovative Architecture Plans throughout the Globe

The global economic crisis does not seem to affect plans for innovative building architecture across the map. This article in BusinessWeek shows us how many architects are working seamlessly on building some of the tallest buildings around the world.

At Cityscape Dubai, a property developer Nakheel unveiled plans to build a $38 billion, 3,000 ft skyscraper by the year 2020. Technology, materials, and design are becoming more sophisticated by the day, and so there at least 69 supertall buildings currently in construction. Interesting enough most of the supertall buildings under construction will not be in the US. Could there be a direct correlation to the struggling economy?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Innovation 101

Researching the web I came across Steven Shapiro’s article “Innovation 101” on IABC. There isn’t much literature out there explaining why innovation is necessary, and so this article helps to answer that exact question.

Corporations might find themselves asking this question, what can innovation do for my company? Steven believes that innovation, used properly can achieve the following:

  • Reduce costs
  • Increase service levels to customers
  • Improve overall employee performance and retention
  • De-commoditize a commodity business
  • Become recession-proof
What has your corporation been able to achieve through its innovation processes? I’m interested in hearing what other businesses out there have experienced through experimenting with different innovation methodologies.

Make sure to read the full article here.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Will Economic Concerns Affect Your Innovation Strategy?

The current economic situation will play a pivotal role in today’s innovation process. James Toddhunter has posted a survey that asks the following question, “Given global economic concerns, what is your organization doing about innovation?” at Innovating To Win. It will be interesting to see the results of the survey, do you think that most companies will play it safe and pull back from investing in innovation processes or will corporations look towards innovation to lead the way through turbulent times? Take a second to cast your vote here.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Option Portfolio for Innovation Projects

In the previous article The Innovation Portfolio we saw how innovation projects can be visualised as a portfolio using different dimensions for their organisation. One good example for such a portfolio can be found in a very interesting article by Ian MacMillan of the University of Pennsylvania and Rita McGrath of Columbia University titled Crafting R&D Project Portfolios. This article can be found in the book Managing Strategic Innovation and Change edited by Michael Tushman and Philip Anderson (which, incidentally, contains many more valuable contributions.)

In the model of MacMillan and McGrath, the axes of the portfolio diagram are defined by two types of uncertainty of success. Market Uncertainty describes the uncertainty of commercial success owing to factors such as demand, competitors' responses or the effects of future laws and regulations. Technical Uncertainty describes the uncertainties with respect to the ability to successfully pursue the project to completion. These uncertainties can be due for example to technical difficulties, availability of resources or size of necessary investments.

Depending on their position in the portfolio, different innovation projects have different meanings for the company.

Projects with both low market uncertainty and low technical uncertainty are incremental innovations, for example improvements to existing products or line extensions. Such projects are technically feasible, and their commerical success is relatively easy to predict.

Projects with a medium level of uncertainty are often so-called platform projects. A platform project will lead in the medium term to a new product based on a new technology, which will serve as a basis for a whole series of subsequent incremental innovations.

Both incremental and platform projects are carried out with the goal of generating revenue; they are intended to produce new products in the short to medium term which protect market share.

By contrast, according to MacMillan and McGrath, innovation projects which have at least one dimension of uncertainty should be treated as options rather than revenue generators. In the stock market, a (call) option is the right to purchase a certain stock at a future date. If the stock goes up, then the right is exercised, if not, then it expires without being exercised. Options are a mechanism for investing a comparatively small amount of money in order to be able to participate in a future development. According to this reasoning, innovation projects with a high degreee of uncertainty should be viewed as options; they are tickets to possible future markets or technologies.

Innovation projects with a high degree of technical uncertainty but only a low or medium degree of market uncertainty are termed positioning options. These projects are carried out when the chances of a given technology achieving full functionality are unclear, or when several technologies are competing for primacy. If the technology concerned works out or comes out on top respectively, then the positioning option facilitates the entry into the market. The goal of a positioning option is therefore to acquire proficiency in a given technology.

Innovation projects with a high degree of market uncertainty but only a low or medium degree of technical uncertainty are called scouting options. These are projects which are feasible, but for which the commercial success is unclear. Scouting options are therefore used to gather information about the market.

Finally, innovation projects with both a high market uncertainty and a high technical uncertainty are called stepping-stone options, because they serve as stepping stones to completely new markets and solutions. They are by nature both positioning options and scouting options.

The importance of each field in the portfolio depends on the type of company and the market it is in. A good innovation strategy recognises the meanings of the various fields and formulates goals for each one to be acheived by innovation management. In a market with fast technological changes, for example, positioning options may play a larger role, while in a trend-oriented consumer market, scouting options will be more important.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Innovation Portfolio

The innovation portfolio is an important instrument of innovation strategy which has direct and important consequences for innovation management. It is used to structure and visualise the current set of innovation projects in a company. Its primary goal is to ensure that a company's innovation activities are balanced; that it is neither over- nor under-invested in any particular strategically functional area of innovation.

The most common structuring tool for an innovation portfolio is the well-known three-dimensional diagram shown above. Each innovation project in the company is denoted by a circle of a certain size at a specific coordinate in two-dimensional space. This gives three dimensions for characterising each project.

Some characteristics of innovation projects which are typically used are:

  • Market uncertainty
  • Technical uncertainty
  • Sales volume
  • Time to market
  • Implementation costs
  • Strategic potential

The innovation portfolio plays an important role in the final phase of idea evaluation. There, each idea is entered into the diagram, and it is determined how well it complements the already existing and planned projects. Ideas which compete with an already occupied location in the diagram may need to be postponed, or they may replace the existing project. On the other hand, ideas which fill a critical empty space in the diagram may well be assigned an increased priority as a result.

The innovation portfolio also plays an important role at the very front of the front end of innovation, since - at least in a well-managed innovation process - gaps in the project space should automatically trigger ideation activities. These ideation tasks can be precisely directed towards the specific need that has been identified in the portfolio structure. Thus, instead of just looking for generic "ideas for new products", the innovation manager will be able to design his or her ideation activities to generate "ideas for platform products with a time to market of at least three years", for example. The latter task has - by virtue of its precision - a much higher chance of success.

This is one example of how a great deal of the fuzziness can be removed from the "fuzzy front end of innovation."

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Have It Your Way -- innovation at Burger King

In Miami, overlooking the Miami International Airport, the Burger King headquarters stand. On the ninth floor, the product innovation team meets to find new ways to present traditional foods in new way for the Burger King menu. The Herald Tribune of Sarasota, Florida recently took a look at what goes into the innovation at Burger King. Here, here is a cafeteria and a test kitchen where they 'ideate'. They use fast food marketing terms to communicate such as LTO -- Limited-Time Only, SOS -- Speed Of Service, and HFFU -- Heavy Fast Food User. They find catch slogans that will pull in the customer and sauces that will set them apart from other food chains. They cater their food creations to different region, states and countries.

Jon Schauflerberger is the Senior Vice President at Burger King. Before taking starting at Burger King four years ago, he worked in various positions relating to Taco Bell and Arby's. He looks at Burger King's products as off center and edgy.

They have to find a way to appeal to both in-store customers and those who come through the drive through, which accounts for 70% of their business. Some of the newest things to come from Burger King: apple fries (apples cut in the shape of french fries) and burger shots (mini burgers served in pairs). They continue to find new ways to draw customers in, and the Whopper is their key product. They focus on customization of their burgers. The Whopper alone can come in 221,184 ways.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Importance of Intellictual Property

Tom Donohue recently wrote an article for the Huffington Post emphasizing the importance of the United State's protection of intellectual property and its influence on the ability to remain the top an innovation leader in the world. The United States is about to face a time where they see competition from other countries that have recognized the importance of innovation. However, the US is at the top of protecting it's own intellictual material.

In 2006, the United States led the world in global patent filings, accounting for more than one-third of the total. This was spurred by industry investing more than $223 billion in research and development. America's IP-intensive industries have created 18 million jobs for U.S. workers--jobs that usually pay better and are expected to grow faster over the next decade than the national average.

In 2008, Congress passed the Pro-IP Act of 2008 which strengthened civil and criminal IP laws. Yesterday, we observed how one of the goals of the next US President needs to be promoting and encouraging scientific education and innovation and R&D needs to be a main focus of all the scientific organizations. We've also highlighted that Judy Estrin wrote a book about the current problem of scientific minds dwindling in the US. How do you think protecting intellictual property will encourage creative minds? As Donohue stated, it's added jobs to our workforce, and can give us way much, such as alternative energy sources and cures for diseases.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The future of US innovation

With much of the world's focus on the current American presidential election, Ed Paisley looks at what the next American president needs to do to both improve the economy and keep America as a leader of science and technology.

However, he fears that with all of the problems coming out of the Bush administration, that the focus of the next president will not be on the innovation and research that is needed to keep our economy strong. Paisley believes that science, innovation and research are critical in restoring the United States economy. He points out that many things in this country rely on federal investment, including the economy and the future workforce. It's critical to focus on the math and science skills of the current generation being educated. The next president needs to focus on not only educating the brightest minds in the world, but also keeping them in the United States.

Paisley also believes that top scientific agencies such as the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Health and the Department of Defense need an increase of 7 to 10% in their budgets from the government. The next president should also set broad goals for the scientific world, and let the top researchers set the promising directions.

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