Monthly Archives: October 2010

Two Giants feed Innovation in Journalism and Literacy

Why is innovation in literature and journalism becoming so important? Because the customer is demanding diversity and tailored products and services that meet their needs, and guess what? The traditional suppliers just cannot satisfy their requirements. So rather than producing more and more of the same, the clever companies are producing platforms that anyone can use to develop products and services.

It is interesting to see a bookseller like Barnes & Noble, and Google, almost on the same day, jumping on the journalism platform bandwagon. It is interesting because Barnes & Noble is a reseller – a bookstore that sells other people’s books – and so one might question why a bookstore is building a platform called NOOKdeveloper, a program that enables content providers and the developer community to deliver “new and innovative reading experiences using Barnes & Noble’s open eReading platform”. According the Barnes & Noble press release: “Developers can revolutionize how people read, beginning with NOOKcolor, the ultimate reading experience. Built on Android(TM), NOOKcolor opens up a whole new world of digital reading materials of all kinds with an unmatched selection of over two million digital titles a single search away on the Barnes & Noble NOOKbook(TM) Store.”

At the same time, Google has just announced it was donating five million dollars to encourage innovation in digital journalism.

“Journalism is fundamental to a functioning democracy,” said Nikesh Arora, president of Google’s global sales operations and business development. “So as media organizations globally continue to broaden their presence online, we’re eager to play our part on the technology side,” Arora said.

While Apple and Amazon fight it out on the hardware platform, both Google and Barnes & Noble are out there saying “we don’t have all the answers – perhaps you do”.

Will be interesting to watch these developments…

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Why does Israeli Innovation Contribute $2.4 Billion To The Massachusetts Economy?

A study has been released released at the New England-Israel Business Council’s 2010 Life Sciences Summit at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts revealed the scope and impact of Israeli related businesses on the Massachusetts economy. This is an astounding amount of money – imagine if this was scaled to other states and countries around the world. Indeed, imaging if the entrepreneurship spirit of Israel was also replicated in other countries! The impact would truly be astonishing.

The new study, “The Massachusetts-Israel Economic Relationship,” conducted by Stax Inc., an independent global strategy consulting firm, shows the impact of Israeli innovation and entrepreneurship on the Commonwealth’s economy, and underscores the importance of Israeli relations to the state, especially in the area of life sciences and high-tech.

Highlights of the study include:

* Nearly 100 companies in Massachusetts are founded by Israelis or offer products based on Israeli technology.
* These businesses generated $2.4 billion in direct revenue in Massachusetts in 2009.
* In total, the direct and indirect revenue impact on the Massachusetts economy was $7.8 billion.
* From an employment perspective, these businesses directly generated 5,920 jobs in Massachusetts.
* 50% of these businesses focus on information technology, 29% are in life sciences, and the remainder in other industries.
* Israeli entrepreneurs chose Massachusetts over other U.S. destinations to launch or grow their enterprises due to the deep talent pool of educated workers, the opportunity to be part of an industry cluster, world class universities and outstanding business infrastructure.

The Stax study, which surveyed Massachusetts business executives of companies based on Israeli innovation and entrepreneurship, also found that other states are aggressively pursuing linkages with Israeli businesses. The analysis also details ways that Massachusetts can strengthen its economic ties with Israel and compete with other states.

“The Massachusetts-Israel Economic Relationship” study was released at the New England-Israel Business Council’s 2010 Life Sciences Summit hosted by Brandeis International Business School. “The Massachusetts-Israel Economic Relationship” study was commissioned, in part, by the Combined Jewish Philanthropies.

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Filed under Culture of innovation, Innovation

Open Innovation Assessment tool from NineSigma

NineSigma has announced the launch of their new online OI Scorecard for innovation and business leaders to quickly assess open innovation capabilities. The web-based tool provides an initial evaluation of a company’s ability to collaborate as part of their innovation process, both with internal and external partners. The tool also assesses the organizational structure and systems that are needed to effectively support collaborative innovation.

“Understanding where you are in your open innovation efforts is a critical first step to charting a path forward,” said Matthew Heim, president of NineSigma. “Companies at varying levels of open innovation maturity come to us looking for better results from their open innovation investments. We help them build on their strengths while addressing their needs for improvement. Using key indicators, the scorecard is a quick way to get a snapshot of a company’s capabilities. In addition to an OI “score”, the tool provides recommendations for how to address the gaps identified.”

Specifically, the open innovation tool measures a company’s ability to collaborate on innovation in three tiers: within and across the company, with the company’s existing external network, and with the global innovation community. Capabilities are evaluated on two axes that measure the extent to which the company engages with innovation partners and how well enabled they are to assimilate resulting knowledge and solutions into their organization.

The 3 tiers of collaborative innovation
three tiers

Business and innovation leaders interested in assessing their company’s open innovation capabilities can access the NineSigma OI Scorecard tool at http://www.ninesigma.com/OIscorecard.aspx. The web-based survey takes approximately 5-7 minutes to complete.

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Good ideas – do you know where they come from?

Here is a fun video from Steven Johnson that describes how the web can aid collaboration which will in turn improve ideas. I really like this.

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Filed under Collaboration, ideation, Innovation

Tata, Innovation and Ideation

Most of us will have heard about the low cost car that is set to revolutionize travel in India. Many of us will have heard of its innovative model of distribution throughout the country. But not many of us have linked the innovation by Tata to ideation.

But it is.

An executive of an Indian conglomerate credited a corporate culture that encourages innovation with the creation of the world’s cheapest everyday car, a fuel-efficient, $2,500 four-seater that the company plans to export to Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia.

Sunil Sinha, an executive in Tata Quality Management Services, told a Harvard audience Tuesday (Oct. 12) that the car was the result of an unlikely — but public — promise that the company’s leader made in 2003, setting to work a team of engineers charged with rethinking how cars could be designed and made. The result, which went on sale last year, is the Tata Nano, a tiny, two-cylinder model that gets 55 miles per gallon and meets all of India’s vehicle emissions and regulatory requirements.

So where does ideation fit in? Sinha described a culture of innovation at Tata that includes employee-awards programs for both successful and unsuccessful ideas. What’s important, Sinha said, is that employees feel comfortable in bringing forward ideas, even ones that don’t pan out, and that they feel they work in a place that values fresh thinking.

The innovation culture has produced several notable products, he said. One is a water purification system that costs just $20 and produces enough water to keep a family of four supplied for more than a year.

Read the full article here. If I find a video of the talk, I will post it.

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Very interesting commentary from former head of R&D at GM on the future of vehicles and innovation

Very interesting article from the GM’s former head of R&D. The second point is especially relevant to the opportunity to harness the different geographies in a globalizing world. Further, he emphasises the need to have sponsorship to drive innovation from idea to execution.

Points of interest are:

  • Two really transformational points: that vehicles in the future will be electrically driven, and that they will be that vehicles in the future will be electrically driven, and that they will be connected via what we call the Mobility Internet. In fact, I believe connected vehicles, vehicles that talk with one another and communicate with everything along the roadway, will prove to be more transformational for the auto industry than different types of propulsion systems.
  • It’s largely a matter of one place giving it a try, so that we can prove the concept. There could be opportunities to test it in restricted geographies, such as a college campus, a gated community, or an island. Another way it could come about would be in a nation like Singapore or China, where policymakers and private-sector leaders think differently about the relationship between public and private entities. One of the reasons the Prius became a success was in part how Toyota worked with the Japanese government to build the mechanisms and the supply base necessary to enable a technology to get out in front. Some people refer to that as industrial policy—and I know that can be an inflammatory phrase for some people in nations like the United States — but a nation that thinks differently may see the promise of systems like this and put together the implementation road maps to do something about it
  • You need to drive the innovation time line from invention, to laboratory proof of concept, to demonstration, and to first-, second-, and third-generation commercialization, so that you can get some experience and some data, and show people that this utopian vision is actually achievable.

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How do we address culture in a Globalized World?

I thought this was an interesting perspective on globalisation
http://www.fastcompany.com/1689868/bridging-across-cultures-or-developing-a-global-culture-which-way-is-the-business-world-head

Points of relevance are:

  • In a globalised world, culture is usually ignored
  • Rather than flattening culture in a flat world, we should be embracing and harnessing differences.
  • We are not good at working across different cultures
  • Are we addressing the following issues in a globalized world?: individual versus collective orientation, patterns of activity, work habits, dress, language, gender roles, hierarchy, view of time, communication practices, tastes

We have the opportunity to harness cultural differences as we globalize, but I do not believe we are successful at doing so. Large corporates, with centralized practices such as HR, finance, etc, tend to continue to roll out the western culture machine irrespective of location – China, India, etc. The local satellites struggle to integrate  western practices locally – those employees who fail are deemed to be not resilient enough in a global economy.

The opportunity is to harness the differences in culture, embrace and capitalize on them, not flatten them with the western steamroller.

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