Category Archives: Innovation

Pulling Innovation out of Patent Black Holes

How to build World Class Products and Services

How to build World Class Products is a bullet point summary from the Episode 527 of This Week in Startups Podcast as Jeff Weiner, LinkedIn CEO shared:

  1. Focus on a single value Proposition
  2. Provide World Class service
  3. Offer Simple, intuitive interface that anticipates and delivers on customer needs
  4. Exceed expectations – then even when you occasionally fail, your customers  would still love you
  5. Resonates emotionally with a need that seeks expression

Now you can test those with your own product or service… What did you find?

The upside of ignorance (How Innovation can thrive on the lack of knowledge)

In her “The Power of not knowing“, part of the the Stanford Technology Ventures (STVP) Entrepreneurship Corner program, Liz Wiseman, author and leadership educator, shares how insisting on “rookie mindset“, that is creating a habit that forces you to look at new goals as if you know nothing about achieving them,  in order to get new insights and accelerate your speed of delivery to an unexpected velocity.

Liz’s research shows that people who have experience in a subject matter, can have very small advantage over newbies who are determined and committed to succeed in a task. The rookies learn at very early stage they won’t make it without help. They know almost nothing on that topic, so they quickly and openly seek for advise, insight and information from the best people they can find.

Having gathered the information, rookies can see new opportunities, where experienced people won’t, because the paths to reach the target are already set. An experienced professional’s mind will short-cut to the quickest effortless route for a given goal. But the mind of the newbie will be able to see new possibilities. Those insights, screened and reviewed by the experienced guide, can lead the rookies to their goals much faster.

The research Liz has gone through shows what many “continuous successful leaders” know – they have to be humble and “play with the kids”, to be able and see something new.

That’s also an important message for human resource professionals, regarding new venues for considering candidates.

I believe you have to be an optimistic and a bit of a risk-taker, but one who also looks for ways to mitigate the possible downfalls. People who are too rational and cautious, will focus on the many ways they could fail, and choose to avoid failure by walking away from the achieving the goal. If you are an optimistic newbie, you are more likely to jump into the cold deep waters, because you would probably not realize how much effort you would have to put in, to succeed. Then it is about your enthusiasm, humbleness, determination, desire to learn and sense of curiosity to “rescue” you into innovation and success.

What’s your experience? How did you make it with a new territory, where you were the rookie?

How Apple overcame its magnificent Technical Innovation failures

Looking at this 2004 Fast Company article: If he’s so smart …Steve Jobs, Apple, and the limits of innovation, it is very clear that the author looked critically on Apple’s posture, which have been trumping technical innovation and excellence, while neglecting business process innovation, execution and profits. The claim was that Apple put too much effort on creating great products, without matching business execution strategy that is paramount for massive market domination and maximum profits.

Dell, Microsoft and others have benefited of Apple’s technical innovations, by learning what Apple has done, and creating their own cheaper alternative, while focusing on achieving maximum profit through matching marketing, manufacturing, distribution, sales and customer support.

This article was published right before the iPhone/iPad age, which I believe, was enabled by the business process revolution within Apple. Without the focus on manufacturing, distribution, customer service and profit, mastered by Tim Cook, Apple would still be a dwindling company, creating magnificent products that other companies make huge profit by cloning them.

It is easy for you as well, to fall for the glamour of Technical innovation and excellence, but the powerful ingredient, many prefer to forget about, just because it seems to be tedious and require mastering, long term thinking and investment, is business innovation and execution…

Anyway, what are your thoughts on Technical Innovation and Business Process Innovation?

Did UPS grab my “3D printing to replace shipping” idea?

Apparently the CEO of UPS was monitoring my post published on twitter at the ITPROMasterMind channel on 9 Sep 2012 🙂
https://twitter.com/ITProMasterMind/status/244719245349507072
On Aug 4 2013, almost a year after my post UPS launches co-operation with 3D printing makers to ship customer goods by 3D printing them directly on the target site, rather than physically shipping them:
http://www.globes.co.il/serveen/globes/docview.asp?did=1000868405&fid=1725

Pulling Innovation out of Patent Black Holes

Pulling Innovation out of Patent Black Holes

Listen to this post Listen to this post here:

If you care even a bit about patents, you should be in one of those camps:

  1. You want the current patent system to prevail, because for now, you enjoy its rewards
  2. You would like the current patent system to massively change, at least for the software industry

I claim there is a third new option, that no one seems to talk about, and that it is not only fair, but has financial reward system built-in as well.

But before I reveal this other possibility, let us take a look at the real motivation for the patent system to exist altogether.

I am not a lawyer, so I’d like to provide you with a practical cause for patents to exist.

I’d say patent rules were created to reward a result gained out of massive effort or the creation of an unexpected possibility. In both cases patent rules were put in place to reward a result that is unlikely to achieve. Additionally patents rules were put in place to bring to halt, any attempts to make use of this unique result (patent), without rewarding the patent creator.

Lacking those rules, people were less likely to put their resources to find new better ways to make things happen, because others will make use of them, without putting any effort or rewarding the patent creator.

So patents were actually created to foster innovation…

It is my claim that it was also expected that this unexpected result (invention or patent) would have practical use. Otherwise, what is the point in discovering something that no one can (feasibly) use?

Those two sentences define the new direction patents should abide to.

Nowadays companies create patents that cannot be used by them and even patents that cannot be used at all. They do it, just so they can lock in that idea, and have others who believe those patents can be useful, pay them.

Previously resources were put in place to invent, but now they are also being massively deployed to block (others innovations).

This of course puts a stumbling block in the way to innovation. It seems impossible to break the vicious cycle, because it looks like too many people could lose money, if the current system gets phased out. As time passes, there is more money spent on patents, resulting in spiral damage, same as black holes aggregate energy, drawing any new innovation into their worm tunnels, leaving no escape route for new stars to thrive.

Here is my idea on pulling innovation out of patent black holes:

Let you use any patent you like, while you reward the patent creator, according to the sales or value you actually gain.

People should be able to use any patent created by others, as long as they pay a fee to the patent creator, based on actual sales or value gained for the product or service they created, in case this product was based on those patents.

Turning this patent wheel to the new direction I mention, will turbo-charge innovation, as patent owners will seek innovators to use their patents, since they get rewarded as well. Innovators will sip from the river of knowledge and will then create better solutions, bringing them to market, faster. Companies can re-direct their resources from blocking, to innovating. Lawyers will still be needed, to formally post patents, yet those patents will be used to innovate, rather than pull down entrepreneurs.

This road is not trivial as well. There are issues to resolve, but so far, each time I look at a challenge related to this new way of dealing with patents, I see those issues are already part of our lives. I refer to issues such as tracking patent use, figuring out how much people should pay for using our patent.

Bottom line, the new proposed system, is based on the concept of a universe of abundance, while the current system is based on a world of scarcity.

In which of those universes do you prefer to live?

Meanwhile, take a look at this new service, which allows innovators who try to find their way, and post a patent, to get some advice (crowd sourcing): Ask Patents

P.S.

If you feel strongly about patents and read my post, you would not want to miss voting here:

P.P.S.

I believe that even if you work in a big corporation, you’d want to hop into Ask Patents from time to time, and check out queries regarding patents that your company has expertise in, see what cooking in the innovation pot, before it hits the street…

Happy patenting!

Time To Innovate (TTI): Amazon Cloud Access Control and Bromium vSentry

Listen to this post Listen to this post here:  Yesterday Amazon announced it is starting to provide AWS role based resource access control. This follows the previous announcements regarding other AWS services, being integrated into Amazon’s IAM framework:

AWS Elastic Beanstalk Supports IAM Roles

AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) Adds Support for Variables in Access Control Policies

We can say one thing for sure about Amazon: Amazon is going through a constant continuous improvement cycle, complementing its cloud service portfolio. This surely is attractive for IT professionals looking for a restless innovative solution provider, understanding that in many cases, the active improvement process is much more important than the “static perfectness” state others try to reach.

On the other edge of the spectrum, take a look at the vSentry end-user threat protection solution from Bromium, and what’s interesting to me are their 2 core innovations:

Micro-Virtualization creating a transparent shield for any un-trusted application, which allows the user feel safe, and avoid irrelevant alerts, as the un-trusted application they use, can try and do harm, to find itself isolated, without any actual modification of user data. All the affects of the malware are cleaned up, as its virtual sandbox vanishes as soon as the application exits. That’s based on the Intel VT technology.

This also enables the second innovation – Task Introspection. Since applications can do anything they want, be it as malicious as they can, as they are getting virtual rather than actual access to the system’s resources, an attack can be recorded and reviewed, at will, saving forensics time and effort.

In this case as well, what’s important to note, is the rapid exploitation of the opportunity to innovate, using current tools (such as Intel VT). Sure, this solution is not perfect, and will be circumvented at some point, but it does offer a pain-killer type of remedy, which IT professionals are likely to quickly grab.

I believe there should be a new term for us to useTime To Innovate (TTI) – which is about measuring how much time it takes you to innovate, as soon as an opportunity is presented.

Are you rapidly innovating as well, or endlessly trying to perfect your solution?

How to avoid brain over-stress

How to avoid brain over-stress? Learn from the sharks…

Sharks cannot “power off” their brain, or go to sleep.
They must be on the move, to keep oxygen coming it.
But they can “shut down” parts of their brain each time.
You can do the same by avoiding specific activities at certain times.
For example, avoid logistics, or calculations, or listening to music, or creative work.
That way you avoid overstrain on your brain and become much more affective..