Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Innovation Spotted πŸ‘€ at #FEI16

Innovation Spotted πŸ‘€ at #FEI16

Innovation is everywhere and invisible until you open your eyes to it. Similar to the light spectrum, some innovations are hard to see. Let’s use this metaphor while looking at a range of innovations from incremental to “new to the world.” Sometimes it’s hard to see an innovation made on the far incremental side of the spectrum, when someone makes a flavor change to food (Chocolate Cheerios) or an upgrade to a social platform (Facebook Live). Conversely, sometimes it is hard to see the new to the world innovations until they appear in your life and you say, “where was this all my life?”

Now you might have noticed we didn’t include any new to the world innovations. Our criteria for new to the world is rather challenging to achieve and here’s where it starts. Incremental innovations are “like this, but this” and often have easy comparisons. So, the iPhone is like a blackberry but it has a glass screen, simple apps and Apple design; incremental innovation. New to the world is much more challenging to achieve, like social networks or laptop computers. But even those have comparison points and hence it is a spectrum.

Some use the boundaries of incremental to new to the world as a way to put an innovation on a spectrum. You might see the next flavor of Oreo cookies (chocolate banana) as incremental and SpaceX as new to the world. Though, we have already gone to space, a private sector backed space program is certainly new to this world. The best way we’ve been able to articulate new to the world innovation is it often doesn’t have comparison points.

Now, what would you consider a new to the world innovation using that strict criteria? Pure new to the world innovations are hard to come by and rarely accepted for a very long time. We use the phrase “new to the moment” which gets to the idea of context. Let’s start with the first innovation we were presented with when we entered the conference, the Alike.io product using light and proximity sensors to see if we’re a match of similar interests with fellow attendees. New to the world, not really, but certainly a new to the moment innovation.



Sometimes it isn’t what the innovation was designed for but rather what you do with the innovation, like our friend Jeremy Gutsche and his crew. And make sure to check out our write-up Morning Innovation Shot in the Asterisk that includes his keynote.



The mobile 3D Modeling studio, Brado Innovation Lab, comes to your office and fast-tracks innovation ideas and then prototypes them with a team. It would certainly fit on the incremental innovation side of the spectrum, but the ideas they help you discover could be new to the moment.


If you took the time to explore the neighborhood like we did, you may have wandered into District Hall, a dedicated gathering space for the innovation community and self-proclaimed ‘home for innovation’ for Boston. This incremental innovation combined a coworking space with amazing food and cocktails (Gather), and coffee and sandwiches (Brew). We back any incremental innovation that includes connecting food and drink with people making an impact.


Augmented reality business cards by McLaren automotive was a surprise, though still an incremental innovation, it certainly caught our attention. Download an app, pull it up and point it at the McLaren business card and you got a full demo of the McLaren 570s. While one of us had reviewed this technology for packaging design, this was certainly a new to the moment innovation. Check out our recent share about McLaren.


If you’re looking to build upon the conference keynotes and sessions, you can get your innovation via the printed word on a page, as those things called books also made a healthy appearance. Our reading list, not in any order, is as follows. We will provide a review of each as we go.

The Capsule reading list:

If you’d like to learn more about the spectrum of innovation from incremental to new to the moment, please reach out. Or if you’d like to see more of what we gathered in Boston at the Front End of Innovation, please contact us here: info@capsule.us

In addition to the FEI blog, please continue to engage with us on Twitter and Instagram.

Managing Principal, Capsule

Director of Digital and Social, Capsule

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