Friday, July 30, 2010

There's an Inventor Behind Every Tree

John Curran discusses in his latest post in BusinessWeek that if elected, Vermont's gubernatorial candidate Susan Bartlett, would establish a state Office of Innovation and Intellectual property stating that there is an inventor "behind every tree." This office would give grants and loans to inventors looking to get patents and developing business plans to market their ideas.

Looks like Susan would follow in Obama's footsteps. Opening up innovation centers in order to open up new job opportunities and producing lots of capital. What are some other states that come to mind when we think of innovation?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

EPIC Spotlight: Steve Davis, VP Chief Architect, Walt Disney Studios

Steve Davis
VP Chief Architect
Walt Disney Studios

Steven P. Davis is Chief Architect and Vice President of IT at the Walt Disney Studios, and a member of the Walt Disney Company IT Leadership Board and Security Governance Body. He has served as Chairperson of Disney's Enterprise Architecture Board. Mr. Davis is a highly-regarded thought leader in enterprise architecture and a respected systems architect and technology strategist, with more than 25 years of experience in both commercial software and in-house application development.

Steve recently made the elite group of premier 100 IT Leaders of 2010 by ComputerWorld. Make sure to check out the article.

Steve Davis will be presenting "The Backend of the Front End: Commercializing Concepts That Sit Outside the Technology Pipeline" at EPIC Partnerships this October.

Bio courtesy of UCLAAnderson:

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

What do you think is the future of technology?

Front End of Innovation blog members – we want to know what you think is next for technology. What creative tools and innovations can we look forward to? Will today’s technology leaders still be relevant in 5 years? 20 years? Let us know! DM us on Twitter @FEI_Innovation or @Future_Trends

Find out what HP’s vision of technology’s future is when VP and CTO, Phil McKinney as he reveals "The Changing Face of Creativity and Innovation at Future Trends 2010, October 18-20. The Future of Technology Innovation is a key catalyst for economic success and recovery, yet some find it elusive. Phil McKinney sees daily examples of the breadth of human ingenuity to solve social, economic, political and event technical challenges, as his team continuously plots the future of technology 5, 10 or even 20 years out. This requires the ability to dream, visualize and create, using a full range of creative tools, models and concepts. Learn early concepts and prototypes in technology and show the "how" of innovation and techniques for unleashing creativity and ingenuity. See how technology innovation will be key to winning in the emerging creative economy and leaving you with a renewed level of confidence in your own ability to create. Be inspired to create and do amazing!

Find out more about the unique stories of all our mind stretching keynotes HERE. Or, want more on Technology? Join the full day symposium focused on "Technology & Online Collaboration Trends."Technology & Online Collaboration Trends

• Co-Creative Methods for New Product Innovation
- John Rogers, Jr., President, CEO & Co-Founder, LOCAL MOTORS
• Using Existing Trends and Technology in New Ways: The Future of Online Brand Building
- Stephen Gates, Interactive Creative Director, STARWOOD HOTELS & RESORTS
• Money 4.0: The Future of Currency, Credit and Personal Finance
- Chris Moloney, Chief Marketing Officer & Jay Campbell, Sr. Director of Product Innovation, EXPERIAN CONSUMER DIRECT
• The Evolution of New Media: The Next New Thing
- Del Ross, Vice President, U.S. Sales & Marketing, INTERCONTINENTAL HOTELS GROUP
• Understanding the Unleashed Power of Social Video Gaming for Positive Impact
• Global Security: Implications of Social Networking for the Military
- Robert M. Toguchi, COL, Ph.D., US ARMY, Chief, Initiatives Group, ARMY CAPABILITIES INTEGRATION CENTER

Future Trends //October 18-20, 2010 // Miami, FL

Register by this Friday, July 30 & Save $600 off the standard & onsite rate!

Future Trends Brochure

The Future Trends Event Team

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Jockey Or The Horse?

C. Engdahl
The Big E of Big E Toys

It was my distinct privilege over this past winter and spring to be involved with an organization called the Acara Institute, a non-profit organization that has sponsored the last couple years a business plan competition for students throughout the world at various universities. Acara Institute’s mission, and the subsequent goal of the business plan competition known as the Acara Challenge, is to “develop sustainable business solutions that address global societal challenges.” Acara’s programs and businesses during 2009-2010 have been focused on water and energy, with initial programs targeted towards India. I served as a mentor for a team of students from the University of Minnesota during the Acara Challenge this year, who just so happened to have won this year’s competition. It was pretty exciting stuff.

Perhaps at a later date I’ll write more about the actual activities of the Acara Institute. What they’re doing is pretty interesting. Today though I simply want to return to a classic question concerning idea development and business innovation (which I began to think about again because of a recent blog post by Acara Institute CEO and co-founder Fred Rose ) – namely “when trying to determine future success, what do you put more stock in, an innovative idea or the person(s) driving the idea?” Fred raises the question in the context of deciding who should conceivably be chosen as the winner of a business plan competition, but the same issue can be applied to regular business development activities. And although the question “The Jockey or The Horse?” isn’t necessarily new, it’s an important enough idea to revisit periodically.

Personally, I love good ideas. I love great ideas. I’m inherently drawn to what Plato and Socrates may have referred to as Ideal Forms (or Ideas). The possibility that there exists a perfect idea, however theoretical, is intriguing. But an idea is virtually worthless, however great, unless it’s in capable hands. I guess I’d rather have a mediocre/pretty good idea in the hands of stellar talent, than a great idea in the hands of incompetence. Execution is important for sure.

Friday, July 23, 2010

EPIC Spotlight: Alexander Blass, President, Alexander Blass International & Top Innovator of the Year

Alexander Blass
President, Alexander Blass International
Grand Prize Winner, Top Innovator of the Year Award for "revolutionizing charitable giving."

Lauded for “revolutionizing charitable giving” by the Daily Record, hailed as inventor of the “eBay of Giving” by the Mercury News, and praised as the mastermind behind “Facebook Meets Pocketbook” by The Sun—Alexander Blass, the youngest grand prize winner of the Top Innovator of the Year Award—is one of the world’s most well known and inspirational social entrepreneurs and innovators.

Wharton-educated and an Oxford MBA, Alexander Blass is the acclaimed visionary and founding CEO of RealityCharity, the world’s first person-to-person giving platform and philanthropy community which he invented, patented, designed, and launched worldwide. He has improved and inspired countless lives across the globe through his work. In addition to receiving the Top Innovator of the Year Award, Alexander won the Influential Marylanders Award as well, recognizing the top 50 people in the State, up to the Governor. He is also the recipient of the prestigious international WebAward for Outstanding Achievement from the Web Marketing Association, and the Top 40 Under 40 Executives Award by the Baltimore Business Journal. Mr. Blass has also been honored as Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the renowned Wharton School of Business.

Don't miss your chance to view Alexander Blass speak at EPIC this October in New York!

Bio courtesy of

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Innovation Doesn't Need To Be Expensive

C. Engdahl
The Big E of Big E Toys

I don't normally repost content or simply link to other articles, but I'm a sucker for stories about simple, yet really good innovations.

According to an press release, a simple salad spinner has been used by two Rice University undergrads to create a centrifuge that can be used to easily separate blood in resource-poor settings without access to electricity.

Rice sophomore Lila Kerr and freshman Lauren Theis are taking their newly developed contraption, dubbed the "Sally Centrifuge" abroad for nearly two months this summer as part of Beyond Traditional Borders (BTB), Rice's global health initiative that brings new ideas and technologies to underdeveloped countries. The Sally Centrifuge will be used to help diagnose anemia in developing countries such as Ecuador and Malawi which in turn will aid in diagnosing malnutrition, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and malaria.

The parts for the contraption cost about $30.


Trend Watch - Creativity Scores Headed Downward for U.S.

By Connie Harryman, Applied Concepts Creativity
Guest Blogger IIR USA

Since 1990 creativity in the U.S. has been in a downward spiral.

Have you ever thought about whether creativity could be measured? It seems that in 1958 E. Paul Torrance designed a series of creativity tasks to measure creativity. He administered his test to 400 children in Minneapolis.

I would question how accurate this creativity index would be in predicting creativity for adults. I read a recent Newsweek article, The Creativity Crisis, by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman. Apparently, Jonathan Plucker of Indiana University, validated a more than three times correlation to lifetime creative accomplishment with Torrance’s creativity index as contrasted to childhood IQ.

This year, Kyung Hee Kim at the College of William & Mary did a follow up study where he analyzed almost 300,000 Torrance scores of children and adults. It appears that creativity scores steadily rose, just like IQ scores until 1990 and then creativity scores nosedived. The decline is most significant from kindergarten through sixth grade.

In my prior blog post, I wrote about the CEO Survey of 1,500 CEOs who unequivocally identified creativity as the most important leadership competency for success in the future.

What does this mean for the United States in terms of maintaining our leadership position in the world? Our leaders understand that creativity is essential; yet at the same time our creativity scores are plummeting!

Stop and think about where we currently need creative solutions. We are crying out for new ideas to solve our ongoing economic crisis. We need new ideas to solve the issues of sustainability. We need new ideas to support our changing demographics.

Creativity includes not only generating great ideas, but it also means being open to the ideas of others. Through creative thinking we can generate solutions for a health care system as well as new thinking for moving towards a more peaceful world. We need new ideas to make our country more competitive and to identify new ways to measure success.

Do you think creativity is important?

Since 1990, U.S. creativity has been in a downward spiral! Image by: jscreationzs at

Thursday, July 15, 2010

EPIC Thursday Spotlight: Don Tapscott, Author, Grown Up Digital

Don Tapscott

Author, Grown Up Digital and Coauthor, Wikinomics & MacroWikinomics: Rebooting Business and the World

Don Tapscott, one of the world’s leading authorities on business strategy, is Chairman of nGenera Insight. He was founder and chairman of the international think tank New Paradigm before its acquisition by nGenera.

Don is an internationally sought writer, consultant and speaker on business strategy and organizational transformation. He has given more than 400 keynotes speeches and presentations over the past five years. His clients include top executives of many of the world’s largest corporations and government leaders from many countries. The Washington Technology Report called him one of the most influential media authorities since Marshall McLuhan.

Don is the author of thirteen widely read books about information technology in business and society, most recently Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation is Changing Your World (October 2008). The book is the sequel to Growing Up Digital (1998), which established him as one of the leading thinkers about the Net Generation. Immediately prior to this, Don wrote, with co-author Anthony D. Williams, Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything (2006). Wikinomics was an international bestseller, #1 on the 2007 management book charts, and on The New York Times and BusinessWeek bestseller lists. Translated into 20 languages, Wikinomics was a finalist for the prestigious Financial Times/Goldman Sachs Best Business Book Award and was chosen as one of the best books of the year by a number of publications, including The Economist.

Don't miss your chance to view Don Tapscott speak at EPIC this October in New York!

Bio courtesy of

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Porsche's New Hybrid Model Might Cost Over $630,000

According to this article in USA Today, The Porsche hyrbid model Spyder 918 could cost more than $630,000 which would beat the Carrera GT which is priced at $571,000. This innovative car features a 500hp engine and can go from 0-60 mph in a whopping 3.2 seconds, while average 78 miles per gallon!

The post also details that research from Wall St. indicates that luxury cars are back in demand. At FEI Europe this past February, BMW Design Director Adrian van Hooydonk showed us the BMW Vision EfficientDynamics Concept car, could there actually be a market for these vehicles? Looks like only time will tell...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Talk To Strangers

C. Engdahl
The Big E of Big E Toys

I'm headed out of town momentarily but wanted to post this simple thought.

I had been thinking a bit more about a post I wrote a couple weeks ago entitled All I Really Need To Know About Innovation I Learned In Kindergarten. I like the simplicity of the ideas expressed in it and truly believe we as adults often complicate our own lives, including our efforts to innovate. That being said, there are nuances to innovation efforts that are worth discussing.

Now I'm not suggesting you disregard what your parents likely often told you while growing up, or not take to heart the lessons learned from grade school teachers, but despite continually being told as a young child that you "don't talk to strangers", I'd say it's imperative that you do so (at least to some extent) while attempting to innovate. Talk to customers, talk to vendors, talk to colleagues, talk to competitors...and yes, talk to strangers. As an adult, they shouldn't really be all that scary. And you might learn something useful.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

EPIC Thursday Spotlight: Mark Johnson, Author, Seizing the White Space: Business Model Innovation for Growth and Renewal

Mark Johnson

Author, Seizing the White Space: Business Model Innovation for Growth and Renewal

Mark Johnson is chairman of Innosight, a strategic innovation consulting and investing company with offices in Massachusetts, Singapore, and India, which he cofounded with Harvard Business School professor Clayton M. Christensen. He has consulted to Global 1000 and start-up companies in a wide range of industries—including health care, aerospace/defense, enterprise IT, energy, automotive, and consumer packaged goods—and has advised Singapore’s government on innovation and entrepreneurship.

Mark’s most recent work has focused on helping companies envision and create new growth, manage transformation, and achieve renewal through business model innovation. This work is the subject of the McKinsey award–winning Harvard Business Review article, “Reinventing Your Business Model,” coauthored by Clayton Christensen and Henning Kagermann. Mark also coauthored The Innovator’s Guide to Growth (Harvard Business Press, 2008), recently coauthored "How to Jump-Start the Clean-Tech Economy" (Harvard Business Review, 2009), and has published articles in the Sloan Management Review,, BusinessWeek Online, Advertising Age, and National Defense.

Don't miss your chance to view Mark Johnson speak at EPIC this October in New York!

Bio courtesy of:

Free Webinar – How to Maximize Performance-Based Marketing Channels for Your Business

Time/Date: Thu, Jul 22, 2010 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EDT

Here's a little something to wet your apetite for the PME Event! Evan Weber, CEO of Experience Advertising and PME speaker, will be presenting an hour long web seminar on Thursday July, 22nd from 2-3pm EDT.

Here's a quick recap of what the webinar is all about:

Learn about the exciting world of performance-based marketing and how you can leverage this ever-growing industry to drive revenue for your company. Topics include: types of affiliate marketing channels, types of affiliates, and basic strategies to launch into performance-based marketing.

Register below for the webinar, hope to "see" you there!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Future Trends Europe 2011 Call for Presenters

The Institute for International Research (IIR) presents:
Feed your mind. Build the future
Due to the high volume of submissions, we suggest you submit your proposal early and no later than 30 July, 2010 to Kelly Potanka, Event Director at or call 1-646-895-7330.

IIR is excited to announce that the Future Trends conference will now be held in Europe alongside the annual FEI event. This is your opportunity to join the most forward-thinking minds in the world.

Future Trends is THE gathering place for futurists, content experts, corporate visionaries, trendsetters, market researchers, product developers, innovation practitioners, insights professionals and revolutionaries to discover and uncover the trends that matter most to you, your business and society. This event is a catalyst for participants to embrace trends and incorporate them into business plans, track the top trends that will affect us most, measure the impact of trends, and make trends actionable- from strategy to design to product development.

Speakers receive FREE admission to the conference as well as any pre-conference activity such as workshops or symposium.

2011 Main Themes & Topics: We are looking for trends experts, corporate practitioners and visionaries to send submissions on the following topics:
• Global Trends
• Consumer Behavior Trends
• Environmental and Energy Trends
• Technology Trends
• Society Trends
• Economics Trends
• Life Style Trends
• Product Design & Development Trends
• Healthcare Trends
• Consumption Trends
• Emerging Market Trends
• Partnering Trends

• Experienced Facilitators Wanted: In addition we're looking for experience facilitators in: Scenario Planning
• Open Forum Brainstorming
• Mind Mapping
• Concept and Idea Generation
• Creating Competitive Landscapes

If you are interested in sponsorship or exhibit opportunities please contact Lisa Deutsch, Senior Business Development Manager at ldeutsch@iirusa.comor 646-895-7482.


For consideration, please e-mail with the following information by 30, July, 2010.
• Proposed speaker name(s), job title(s), and company name(s)
• Contact information including address, telephone and e-mail
• Title and objective of presentation
• Please indicate which topic you plan to address and please indicate what is NEW about the presentation
• Summary of the talk
• What the audience will gain from your presentation (please list 3-5 key “take-aways”)
• Previous conference presentations
• Short Bio

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Avoid Innovation Extinction. Be A Crocodile For A While.

C. Engdahl
The Big E of Big E Toys

In business, as is the case sometimes in other walks of life – like when your kids make reference to you in this manner – the word dinosaur has become a somewhat derogatory term. To be a dinosaur means you’re old, out of touch, irrelevant, perhaps metaphorically extinct. Nobody wants to be a dinosaur. (Fortunately my kids don’t yet refer to me as a dinosaur. I’m just a geek and somewhat embarrassing at times.)

I’m not a big proponent when times are tough, of slashing costs and putting innovation initiatives on hold. This seems like a fast track to extinction. Arguably it is in a recessionary milieu that innovation and investment is most required. But what happens when the investment money for substantial product and service innovation simply isn’t available? What happens when cost-cutting seems like the only viable option? Does your business or brand run the risk of becoming a ‘has been’?

The actual dinosaurs are long gone. The reason for their extinction can be debated - climate change, meteor, the advent of chain-smoking. It’s hard to say with certainty. Oft forgotten though in the midst of any dinosaur discussion is the fact that some creatures survived great extinction events. Namely crocodiles and alligators.

How did crocodiles and alligators survive for more than 200 million years? How did they emerge from their own recessionary milieu that sealed the fate of the dinosaurs? They didn’t rapidly evolve (or innovate) their way to survival. The crocodiles and alligators roaming the earth today are virtually no different than those roaming the earth a few hundred million years ago. So how did they do it?

Perhaps it was their thick skin, their take-crap-from-no one attitude, and big teeth.

There are different ways to innovate. Innovation isn’t inherently always specifically about products and services. Sometimes innovation takes shape in how we go about doing business. Sometimes innovation can be a shift in attitude. Sometimes it’s about deploying your existing resources in different ways.

Only you and your team can rightfully decide whether to invest in product and service innovation. You hold the purse strings. And should you decide to cut costs or pull back from investment, know that you aren’t automatically relegated to dinosaur status. Develop a thicker skin, take crap from no one, and utilize your existing big teeth to take a bite out of the competition.

Be a crocodile for a while.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

EPIC Thursday Spotlight: Barbara Corcoran, Real Estate Mogul

Barbara Corcoran

Real Estate Mogul, THE CORCORAN GROUP & Successful Entrepreneur, Star of ABC's hit show SHARK TANK

Barbara Corcoran’s credentials include straight D’s in high school and college and twenty jobs by the time she turned twenty-three. It was her next job that would make her one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the country when she took a $1000 loan to start The Corcoran Group. She parlayed that loan into a five-billion-dollar real estate business which she sold in 2001 for $70 million.

Barbara is the real estate contributor to NBC’s TODAY Show where she comments weekly on trends in the real estate market. Barbara is also an investor/shark on ABC’s reality hit Shark Tank. In the first season, Barbara bought eight young businesses which she’s shepherding to success.

Barbara is the author of If You Don’t Have Big Breasts, Put Ribbons on Your Pigtails, an entertaining business book that has become a national best-seller, as well as Nextville, Amazing Places to Live the Rest of Your Life.

Don't miss your chance to view Barbara Corcoran speak at EPIC this October in New York!

Bio courtesy of:

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