Friday, February 27, 2009

Innovation in education could be fueled by stimulus package

In a recent opinion column at the San Jose Mercury News, Ted Mitchell, the CEO of NewSchools Venture Fund and the president of the California state board of education weighs in on the $95 billion that will be pumped into schools. Putting money into education automatically equals more jobs, as well as reforms that lead to long term recovery and innovation.

One suggestion Mitchell makes is to invest in a system that can track the long term progress of students. This is important because it can aid in important decisions both for teachers, and down the line, law makers.

What's your opinion on the new money going into the school systems around the United States?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Speaker Profile: John Kao

John Kao is an authority on the intersecting subjects of corporate innovation and transformation, design, and the future of business. Dubbed a “serial innovator” and “Mr. Creativity” by The Economist, he has made a career out of helping organizations go from “getting” the importance of innovation to “getting innovation done.” John has worked with a wide range of Fortune 500 companies, startups, and government agencies around practical issues of strategic innovation and organizational transformation.

John's new book on the global dynamics of innovation is called Innovation Nation: How America Is Losing Its Innovation Edge, Why It Matters and How We Can Get It Back. It pays particular attention to what America’s innovation posture needs to be in a world in which many countries are racing for the innovation high ground, such as Singapore, Denmark, Dubai, China, and Brazil.

Here’s a video clip of an interview with John Kao, CEO of Kao & Company with FastCompany.

Don’t miss John Kao’s keynote speech, Innovation Nation, at the Front End of Innovation US event in Boston on May 18th through 20th. Next Wednesday we will profile FEI keynote Peter Erickson, Senior Vice President, Innovation, Technology and Quality, General Mills.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Are US patent laws out of date?

At the LA Times recently, the asked the question if patent laws were out of date? With new day of the internet and digital technologies, lines are blurring. Intellectual property lawyers have been arguing for years that intellectual property should be protected as well, not just physical machines. The Times article focuses on the recent rejection of the Bilski patent which would protect intellectual property. The article also took time to point out that out of the 13,779 process patents applied for last year, 1,643 patents were granted.

What do you think? Do you feel that this could detour innovation in the future?

Monday, February 23, 2009

IBM To Launch First Innovation Center In Philippines reports that IBM is set to launch the first innovation center in Manila, Philippines. In a simple press briefing, Janet Klein, director for developer relations at IBM Asia Pacific, said the center will focus on developing open-source Web 2.0 solutions aimed at the growing business process outsourcing (BPO) industry in the region. This is the second innovation center that IBM has launched. This center will develop students, particularly those involved in BPO or services industry.

Friday, February 20, 2009

February FEI LinkedIn Roundup Update

Here's the February edition of the newsletter we regularly send out to our FEI LinkedIn group members. Remember to join our FEI LinkedIn group if you haven't so already in order to receive these communications on a monthly basis. Enjoy!

Read the Newsletter

Thursday, February 19, 2009

FEI Podcast Series: Dan Keldsen

Yesterday I had a brief conversation with Dan Keldsen, the Co-founder and Principal at Information Architected, in which he talked about some of his work at the consultancy firm and some insights he plans to discuss at the Front End of Innovation Conference taking place in Boston this May.

Dan will be presenting on Enterprise 2.0 and its heavy connection to innovation on Tuesday, May 19th .Stay tuned as we will be bringing our readers more podcasts from those speaking at FEI.

Listen to the podcast

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Recognized by Forbes in 2008 as one of the top female executives in the auto industry and named “100 Leading Women in the North American Auto Industry” in 2005.

Beyond Imagination / Tuesday 9:45

Global 'flattening' has redefined the playing field for design, resulting in a landscape of homogenization and commoditization. Unprecedented dynamics in the industry force companies to align their priorities and resources. Organizations must stretch their capabilities through ‘design thinking’ and strategic visualization and become their own innovation power houses.

Don’t talk change; walk change and keep on walking…

Don’t underestimate the power of your company culture

Compelling insights from 36 years of collaborative learning at BMW Group DesignworksUSA.

Verena C. Kloos was named President of BMW Group DesignworksUSA, in September 2004. She is responsible for a global, multi-national staff of 135 and the strategy as well as operations for the Los Angeles, Munich, and Singapore design studios. Kloos’s strong belief in creative collaboration and strategic visualization are the necessary ingredients for successful design leadership and driving innovation throughout the industry

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Obama’s Innovation Vision is not enough

The latest poll results on the question “what do you think of Obama's innovation vision?” on the Innovating to Win blog shows us that the majority of their readers do not believe that his innovation agenda is exactly what we need. Only 13.6% are satisfied with Obama’s innovation plans.

Do you agree with these results? If his innovation agenda is really going nowhere, what should Barack Obama do to turn around the innovation capabilities of this country?

Friday, February 13, 2009

Entrepreneurship versus innovation

In a recent article at Forbes, they discuss the current innovation gap India is facing. The citizens are more likely to look towards government jobs, and not encouraged to incubate their ideas and start businesses. However, over the past few years, this has been changing. Interest in entrepreneurship has been on the rise, but innovation is still lacking. For more of Sramana Mitra's views on innovation in India, read the article here.

What do you think? Could India benefit from taking a bigger interest in the innovation process?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

How to Drive Innovation in Europe

J. Frank Brown and Jean-Phillippe Courtois of the Wall Street Journal share their opinion on how business and individuals can drive innovation throughout Europe. In their article they map out five specific ways to drive said innovation. They are as follows:

Support funding

Support innovative companies

Invest in education

Focus on excellence

Celebrate entrepreneurs

For an in depth look at their ideas, check out their article here. What other ways can innovation be driven in Europe. For those of you who attended The Front End of Innovation conference this year in Monaco, what did you learn?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Speaker Profile: Jim Collins

In anticipation for the Front End of Innovation US event held in Boston this May, we will take some time out over the next couple of weeks to introduce to our readers the keynote speakers. Today, we would like to start off by introducing to you Jim Collins.

Jim Collins is a student and teacher of enduring great companies -- how they grow, how they attain superior performance, and how good companies can become great companies. Having invested over a decade of research into the topic, Jim has authored or co-authored four books, including the classic Built To Last, a fixture on the Business Week best seller list for more than six years, and has been translated into 29 languages. His work has been featured in Fortune, The Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Harvard Business Review, and Fast Company.

Jim’s most recent book, Good To Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap … And Others Don’t attained long-running positions on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Business Week best seller lists, has sold 3 million hardcover copies since publication and has been translated into 35 languages.

If you haven’t already, make sure you watch Charlie Rose interview Jim Collins on his book “Good to Great” below.

Don’t miss Jim Collin’s keynote speech, How Good Organizations Can Become Great, at the Front End of Innovation US event in Boston on May 18th through 20th. Next Wednesday we will profile FEI keynote Verena C. Kloos, President of BMW Group DesignworksUSA

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Barriers to Innovation and Inclusion

I came across this clip on YouTube that puts a funny twist on the classic Law & Order TV show. The project manager in the video comes across resistance on all angles, from her direct supervisor, the branch chief and other engineers. The video is full of pop-ups that explain what barriers are being put up by managers. Take a few minutes to view it. Enjoy!

Monday, February 9, 2009

MIT students named finalists in $25K energy innovation contest

According to, a team of MIT graduate students and Cambridge residents was one of three finalists in a competition seeking novel ideas in energy innovation.

Sponsored by the X Prize Foundation, the Crazy Green Idea contest challenged contestants to create a two-minute YouTube proposal for a project that would yield more efficient energy use.
Cambridge residents Jonathan Dreher, Jeremy Stewart and Michael Noselli came within striking distance of the $25,000 prize with their video entitled “Reduce Home Energy Usage.”

“We were looking for ways to give an incentive to decrease consumption,” Dreher said, adding that his team aimed to “link individual energy decision to things people value” such as diminished bills and environmental benefits.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Innovation, We Need it Now More than Ever

Over the past couple of months we have been posting on how innovation in business has become crucial in helping to bring companies out of their troubled state. This morning I came across this article on BBC News UK in which Joanne Stuart, the chairman of the Institute of Directors, mentioned in an annual dinner how the recession has changed businesses and how companies need to understand the changing world around them. Later in the article she says:

"Obviously things are very tough at the moment and we're very focused on how we get out of the recession. But we have to keep an eye on the longer term and it's about building a dynamic economy that will provide and deliver jobs and prosperity through the whole of society, and especially for our children who, after all, are our business leaders of the future."

Do you agree with her train of thought? If anything, what has the recession taught us about our current innovation practices?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

What to look at when budget cuts hit innovation

In a recent blog at Business Week, they look at how companies could look at their budget cuts and how they affect innovation. Scott D. Anthony points out two of the main ways companies are currently looking at to cut unnecessary innovation: first year revenue or net present value. Both of these ways can have their faults. First year revenue could start out slow, but turn into a huge revenue source, while net present value can be hard to judge because of the business strains can cloud the judgment of the company.

Anthony the poses five questions that can help you identify if it's the right time to leave a project behind:

1. What is the upside potential?
2. How much risk remains?
3. What resources are required to reach the next learning milestone?
4. How well does the idea fit important qualitative criteria?
5. How much does the idea contribute to the overall portfolio's balance?

Have you faced budget cuts to your innovation program? How have you approached letting projects go?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

America's Innovation Gap

According to Michael Collins, President, MPC Management, the US is in an Innovation Gap because of the nation's inability to compete within research and development of factories and industry. The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation and the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution are calling on the Federal government to take bold measures to turn around what they call America’s declining innovation leadership and raise productivity and U.S. incomes. To understand why so many people are concerned, you have to examine the biggest chunks of the spending individually. To read more of his post, click here.

Do you agree with Collins? Is America that far behind other nations in innovation, research and development?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Survival of the Fittest

James Toddhunter’s latest post in Innovating to Win discusses how the solutions of today “are an inadequate response to the new challenges we face.” Throughout the post there is also a notion that making incremental changes to projects already out there should not be considered innovative projects. In the upcoming months, the true test of time will show that companies who continue to invest heavily in innovation practices will remain on top, while those who don’t might not be so lucky.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Disruptive innovation needed to fix health care system

The United States Health Care system is in trouble. Obama knows it, as does the rest of the country. The New York Times recently wrote a piece on how disruptive innovation could be the key to making the US health care system both affordable and more efficient with out having to spend billions of dollars.

The system that currently runs on a model that was developed years ago, and it also focuses on fixing illnesses, not promoting wellness. If innovation could be used to increase both quality and accessibility, costs could be reduced at the same time. The new technologies we have today could help with this, as they focus on individualization and could focus on prevention instead of solving crises when they occur.

Clayton Christensen, 2008 Front End of Innovation Boston keynote, had this to say about innovation for the health care system:
“Health care hasn’t become affordable because it hasn’t yet gone through disruptive decentralization.”

Do you think innovation can help the health care system?

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