Strategy is a Living Organism But Culture Will Outlive Its Creators

Strategy is a Living Organism But Culture Will Outlive Its CreatorsOrganizations invest a vast amount of time and energy creating defined strategies for innovation. This could be anything from new business models to new products to new ways of interacting with customers. Ultimately, what is often overlooked is that the culture of the organisation will determine whether the strategy is successfully implemented. In short, culture outlives the people that create the strategy. This is where the saying culture eats strategy for breakfast comes from. Continue reading

Researchers generate clean energy using bacteria-powered solar panel

Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 8.36.58 AMFrom the BlueBook of Nanotechnology:

Researchers have taken the next step in the evolution of bacteria-powered energy.

For the first time ever, researchers connected nine biological-solar (bio-solar) cells into a bio-solar panel. Then they continuously produced electricity from the panel and generated the most wattage of any existing small-scale bio-solar cells – 5.59 microwatts.

“Once a functional bio-solar panel becomes available, it could become a permanent power source for supplying long-term power for small, wireless telemetry systems as well as wireless sensors used at remote sites where frequent battery replacement is impractical,” said Seokheun “Sean” Choi, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering in Binghamton University’s Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science, and co-author of the paper.

Read more on the findings here.

Collaboration Is The New Competitive Advantage

Collaboration Is The New Competitive Advantage - Innovation ExcellenceIn truth, neither view fully represents today’s business environment. Certainly, companies like Apple and Southwest are still able to dominate their industries, but the source of advantage has changed. We no longer compete in a resource economy, but a semantic economy where firms that can build, manage and widen connections win out. Continue reading

When Art and Science Combines for Innovation

When Art and Science Combines for Innovation - Innovation ExcellenceThe powerful combination of designing and providing something that pushes our existing knowledge, our boundaries, understanding or expectations — and capturing it in thought, explanation, or detailing the discovery makes up the art and science of innovation. We just need to find even better and consistent ways to combine them continuously. Continue reading

Why Only Adoption Matters

People Before ThingsRecently I had an opportunity to interview Chris Laping, the former Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the Red Robin restaurant chain about some of the challenges in achieving successful organizational change. Chris' is a voice that emerged from the darkness as I was creating the Change Planning Toolkit™and conducting the research for my latest book Charting Change and its focus on beating the 70% change failure rate. Continue reading

Innovation Sighting: "Sweaty" Billboards That Fight the Zika Virus

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Zika virus is a global emergency. To fight it, humans have to find a way to kill the Aedes Aegypti mosquito. 

Two marketing agencies in Brazil have designed a novel way to do just that. They call it The Mosquito Killer Billboard. It's a great example of the Task Unification Technique, one of five in the innovation method called Systematic Inventive Thinking. Here's how their innovation works:

The board releases a mixture of a lactic acid solution that mimics the smell of human sweat and carbon dioxide, which is in human breath. Its inventors have released the blueprint for free and are encouraging people around the world to make them. So far, they have installed two of the Mosquito Killer Billboards in Rio de Janeiro, in Brazil.

From the BBC:

"It's impressive how many mosquitoes you can trap and how many lives you can save with this idea," Otto Frossard from Posterscope told the BBC. Mr Frossard added that the board would cost "a few thousand Reals" (1,000 Brazilian Reals is $280/£194) to make. "I think anything that can be done to reduce the prevalence of the mosquito is a good thing," said Dr Chris Jackson, a pest control expert at the University of Southampton. The insects are drawn to the aroma from the board from a distance of up to 2.5km away, the board's inventors say.

"Particularly devices like this that attract and kill females that feed on blood, as it is only female mosquitoes that bite," he explained. Dr Jackson said that, while the science behind the billboard was effective, putting them in public places and attracting human attention - as well as insects - could be a problem.

To get the most out of the Task Unification technique, you follow five basic steps:

1. List all of the components, both internal and external, that are part of the Closed World of the product, service, or process.

2. Select a component from the list. Assign it an additional task, using one of three methods:

  • Choose an external component and use it to perform a task that the product accomplishes already
  • Choose an internal component and make it do something new or extra
  • Choose an internal component and make it perform the function of an external component, effectively “stealing” the external component’s function

3. Visualize the new (or changed) products or services.

4. What are the potential benefits, markets, and values? Who would want this, and why would they find it valuable? If you are trying to solve a specific problem, how can it help address that particular challenge?

5. If you decide the new product or service is valuable, then ask: Is it feasible? Can you actually create these new products? Perform these new services? Why or why not? Is there any way to refine or adapt the idea to make it viable?