Archive for the ‘Software’ Category

DFI: Design for IIoT & IoT

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

When major new industry trends come along that affect product design and development, many companies jump quickly to create an impression of being current and with the trend.  Marketing literature, advertising, social media, and other external-facing documents and images quickly incorporate key words and icons in their messaging.  Product developers and packaging engineers are encouraged to rapidly design-in some concrete evidence of capabilities with regard to the new trend.  While these rapid reactions work well for certain trends, those of a more limited scope or another shade of gray – “open innovation” comes to mind, other trends require a more thoughtful and systematic approach.  The latter is the case for the advent of the Industrial Internet [IIoT] and the Internet of Things [IoT] and their manifestation in the physical and soft products of the future.

Industrial Internet

Thinking IIoT, this train has been on the tracks dating back to the start of designing automated factories.  Industry has been making steady progress on automated materials handling, numerical control, robotics, machine vision, M2M communication, HMI, and numerous other technologies and approaches that will some day allow the lights to be turned out and the humans removed from many factory settings.  What has been in common so far is the focus on the use of these approaches to optimize products for manufacture and delivery.  The new frontier is to not just get leverage for the manufacturer, but to get leverage from a product’s inception that will benefit its customers and users through the product’s end of life.

Internet of Things

Thinking IoT, this train is a couple decades younger.  Its domain is nearly infinite – a blue sky if there ever was one.  And, traditional norms of design that have always focused on the relationship between the customer and the producer will be blown apart as customer expectations transform to expect that all their “internet appliances” will work together and share with each other regardless of the company that designed and produced the appliance.  Before too long, both B2B and B2C customers will come to expect that a product’s history and “experiences” from birth will bring additional value to them as owners of the product.

Design Thinking

The massiveness of the possibilities, and the decisions on the avenues to choose that will maximize customer value while maximizing return to the product/appliance designer, are already challenging product planners and designers.  How many sensors should my product have?  How many transmitters?  Will those sensors/transmitters focus on optimizing producibility or serviceability for the manufacturer, or should they focus on optimizing customer experience or value?  After all, each sensor/transmitter increases a product’s cost which affects its price and margin?  What cloud capabilities must be in place?  Should the cloud capabilities be proprietary, open, or a mix?  What protocols should exist to maximize sensing and transmitting?  With whatever approach we choose, how will we assure that customers have uniform experiences regardless of where the products are used around the globe?  Phew.  Not easy.

Systems Approach

It seems logical that a systems engineering approach will be needed.  Designing capabilities into products in an ad hoc manner seems short-sighted when the range of possibilities is so large.  Just like companies have been concerned for years that their portfolio of product offerings will largely enable “one stop shopping” for customers, companies are soon to be equally concerned that their portfolio of product offerings will enable “one ecosphere” for customers.  Ad hoc design approaches cannot result in competitive advantage product portfolios.

 

Industrial-Internet-of-Things

 

 

DFI: Design for IIoT & IoT [Machine Design – April 2017] puts forth an initial business model and framework for design thinking that can help to focus and constrain the nearly unlimited choices that face product planners and designers whose products must integrate with the internet and then leverage it.  This 600-word piece is not a solution by any means, but hopefully conveys a vision for how one might approach the mother of all design challenges.

 

Industrial-Internet-of-Things

 

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TWITTER

GGI Tweets content from our primary and secondary research,

140-character summaries of good articles in trade publications,

and announcements and recaps of GGI events and presentations.

@GoldenseGroup

Please consider following GGI on Twitter.

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The 54th R&D 100 Awards & 2nd Annual Technology Conference

Thursday, January 12th, 2017

54th R&D 100 Awards Dinner

The 54th R&D 100 Awards & 2nd Annual Technology Conference was held on November 2-4, 2016 at the Gaylord National Convention Center, just south of Washington, DC, in Oxon, Maryland.

 

R&D 100 Awards

The R&D 100 Awards are considered the most globally prestigious awards for invention and innovation.  Each year, for the past 54 years, people arrive to the awards ceremony from all over the world in hopes of winning an “Oscar of Invention.”

The leaders of R&D Magazine, the flagship publication of Advantage Business Media’s 10-magazine Science Group, coordinate the Awards contest and dinner each year. This year, 52 judges from industry, academia, and government reviewed a gazillion submissions and determined there were 275 Finalists.  Then, they culled-out the 100 Winners.  Plus, 15 Special Recognition Awards are part of the ceremony each year.  In all, some one-hundred fifteen winners are presented awards at an engaging black tie dinner event.  Every innovation professional should witness this at least once in their career.

There are six categories:  Analytical/Test, IT/Electrical, Mechanical/Materials, Process/Prototyping, Software/Services, and Special Recognition.

Examples of Special Recognition Awards include: Corporate Social Responsibility, Green Tech, and Market Disruptor.

Awards Dinner Agenda

 

54th R&D 100 Awards Winners

The full list of 2016 R&D 100 Award Winners is available here:  www.rd100conference.com/awards/winners-finalists/year/2016/.

It is hard to keep track of it all during the dinner.  The individual inventions are fascinating and fully captivate your attention, one after the other, and all of a sudden the evening is over.  So, here are some observations at fifty-thousand feet from putting the table from the URL in the preceding paragraph into Excel.

1)  Several organizations won four or more awards.  The following entities may be strong sources of global innovation:  Taiwan’s ITRI, MIT Lincoln Labs, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, and “the Dow companies.”

2) Other than Dow, the only other industrial or high-tech company to win more than one award was PPG Industries which won two.

3)  USA’s National Laboratories also deserve comment.  Approximately 30 of the awards went to one of the National Labs or to a dedicated USA government lab.

4)  Not enough industry and high-tech companies are competing.  I’ve recommended to our clients over the years that it is really inexpensive to compete in this contest and one can’t beat the visibility, free marketing, and brand value.  If you are a big company, there is real bang for the buck to be a Finalist – never mind winning.  If you are a start-up, the visibility could accelerate the company by 3-5 years.

 

Innovator Of The Year Award

The Innovator Of The Year Award, this particular year, recognizes a technology that might benefit us all.  Dr. Anthony Atala, Director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, and his team are making great progress on growing human organs that work.

Innovator Of The Year Award

The more vessels and “piping” that is in an organ, the harder it is to grow.  But, some major organs (such as the liver) have large areas of very similar cells that perform the function of the organ.  Dr. Atala is now within sight of being able to consistently grow the “mass areas” of several organs, possibly within this decade.

 

The Global R&D Funding Forecast – The Year Ahead

The 2017 Global Funding Forecast was presented in DRAFT form after the Awards Dinner concluded.  Only the DRAFT form is currently available.  The final version should be out later this month or in early February.

2017 Global R&D Funding Forecast

2017 Global R&D Funding Forecast Pie Chart

R&D Magazine is one of the best sources of R&D Spending information presented in a global business context.  Each year, a preview of the coming year is presented.  Historically, this was developed by R&D Magazine in conjunction with Battelle Laboratories.  As of last year, this is now developed in conjunction with the Industrial Research Institute [IRI].  This was a natural alliance as the IRI has been developing a similar set of spending information each year.

 

2nd Annual Technology Conference

Last year R&D Magazine brainstormed what else they might do, given all the accomplished people that come to the Awards each year, and they decided to wrap a “technology and technology management conference” around the Awards dinner.  The first conference, in conjunction with the awards dinner, was last year.  I was invited to speak at the inaugural conference last year at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

This year, I was invited back to give two presentations.  In my mind however, I didn’t think the location would be as much fun.  But, I was wrong.  The Gaylord National Convention Center is a specially created oasis just south of DC, right on the Potomac River.  Many government and military conferences are held at this giant convention center.  A small community thrives around this all-in-one facility/town, with plenty of entertainment for traveling spouses.

 Oxon Maryland Ferris Wheel

Like McCormick Place in Chicago, this is perhaps another location that professionals should attempt to experience at least once in their career.

The table of contents of my two presentations at the 2nd Annual Technology Conference are directly below.  There was standing-room only on the Breakthrough Innovation topic.  The highlight of the 12 Trends topic was GGI’s roll-out of the upcoming 8th generation of product development processes.  Folks that have been to our presentations will recognize the seven generations slide being projected in the picture below, and I verbally explained the 8th generation.  [The 8th generation was officially published in Machine Design in December 2016.]

 

10 Techniques to Achieve Breakthroughs Through Innovation

2015 marked the 20th anniversary of Christensen’s work on disruptive innovation. In 2016, GGI researched disruptive, radical, and breakthrough innovation. It was time to take a snapshot of how the body of knowledge had evolved over two decades.

10 Techniques To Achieve Breakthrough Innovation

Goldense Breakthrough Innovation Presentation

Our work found ten distinct breakthrough strategies. They vary greatly, from competing on business-models to specific market or business strategies to technology mastery to commercialization execution. There is no common root to them, except that your company and industry will know they are experiencing a breakthrough from a new or a changing basis of competition.

 

12 Trends in the Science of Managing R&D and Product Development

After my presentation on Complexity at the 1st Annual Conference, R&D Magazine asked me to build off it and to make recommendations on how to manage in the decade ahead. I presented this work for the first time at a conference in Poland in April 2016 and further refined it for R&D Magazine.

12 Trends In The Science of Managing R&D and Product Development

Goldense 12 Trends Presentation

Directing and overseeing science, materials, technology, software creation-to-commercialization activities is already a good bit more challenging this past decade. Well, not to disappoint, we have another tumultuous decade to go. There will be another reset around 2025, once there are 100 billion connected devices and that becomes the new normal.

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ANNOUNCEMENT

GGI’s next Metrics Summit is February 28 to March 2, 2017

A quick note to let you know that our 21st R&D-Product Development Metrics Summit is coming up.

It will be held in Norwood, Massachusetts.

Our conference facility is equidistant between the Providence and Boston airports,

and a comprehensive renovation was completed last fall.

The place is beautiful, the food is great, WI-FI is throughout.

 Metrics Summit 21 Twitter Icon

Our content is stimulating, our discussions are lively,

and the teamwork during the Workshop makes for lasting relationships with colleagues

who deal with many of the same professional issues and challenges.

Please join us.

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TWITTER

GGI became significantly more active on Twitter in 2016.

No chit chat.

GGI Tweets content from our primary and secondary research,

140-character summaries of good articles in trade publications,

and announcements and recaps on GGI events and presentations.

A quick look.

@GoldenseGroup

Please consider Following GGI on Twitter.

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Innovation & Impact

Tuesday, August 9th, 2016

Innovation & Impact Logo

“Innovation & Impact” is new scientific and business journal being launched by De Gruyter that focuses on “exciting high profile case studies concerning the process of innovation and its impact on society and markets.”

“The aim of the journal is to inspire researchers and entrepreneurs by exchanging practical examples of innovation. In particular, the journal focuses on case studies presenting routes of scientific ideas to the market. It also contains articles describing frameworks or institutions that are supporting the process of technology transfer.”

Innovation & Impact

My colleague, Dr. Grzegorz Liskiewicz, Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the Lodz University of Technology in Poland, is the Journal Editor. Dr. Liskiewicz asked me to join the Editorial Advisory & Scientific Board earlier this spring at an R&D conference in Warsaw. I am pleased to participate on the board alongside a number of innovation and technology transfer thought leaders in the European Community and the United States.

Initially the journal will focus on case studies in Poland and the wider European Community, but issues are planned for 2017 that will feature innovation and technology transfer in the United States and North America.

Please take a minute to visit De Gruyter’s home page for Innovation & Impact. I encourage all my colleagues to submit papers and case studies for consideration, whether they be from Europe or the USA – or spanning both geographies.

Thank you all for taking the time to give Innovation & Impact a closer look! Please let me know if you have any questions and I will do my best to answer them. Or, I will put you in directly in touch with Grzegorz (Greg) or another member of the editorial staff depending on the nature of your inquiry.

South Korea & China Will Dominate TRIZ Practices

Sunday, April 3rd, 2016

TRIZ is an innovation technique that professionals systematically apply according to a defined set of principles. Originally developed in Russia by Genrich Altshuller in the 1940s, TRIZ took a number of years to cross the ocean and become available in English. By the early 1990s, TRIZ gained a foothold in the U.S. and slowly began spreading globally from its Russia and USA “centers of excellence.” TRIZ is now practiced in at least 50 countries.

TRIZ is likely the most powerful innovation tool on the planet, and has been for the past twenty-five years. Altshuller set out to identify the common inventive principles that run across patents.  After examining a sample population of forty-thousand patents, he identified “76 Standard Inventive Solutions.”  As well, he found there are only “39 Characteristics That Technologists Seek To Optimize” and only “40 Inventive Principles To Optimize Characteristics.” Altshuller reduced many of the acts of innovating to a systematic process.

Rubbish you say?  Over the past twenty-five years others have analyzed larger sample sizes of up to two million patents. The new findings were not significant enough to change Altshuller’s published works.

Why hasn’t TRIZ become more prevalent at this time?  There are several possible reasons, and the answer is likely a combination of them.  With origins in Russia, and most of the world’s original experts coming from Russia, TRIZ didn’t hit western civilization with a running start.  The methodology is also complex.  Few westerners look at a rule-driven 39×40 matrix and want to dive in.  There is also a significant amount of time to learn the process to reasonable proficiency, about the same time it takes to become a six-sigma black belt.  And, until the past ten years, the priority across industries was supply chain optimization and operational excellence.  Innovation, in the big picture of time, is only recently at the top of the list – except for a blip in the late 1990s.

TRIZ is still not catching fire with western companies, but it is catching fire with eastern companies.  Very quietly, over the past decade, South Korean companies are rapidly adopting TRIZ.  Chinese companies are not far behind, and both groups are growing rapidly.

TRIZ Moves To South Korea and China

There are a handful of companies in the USA that each have hundreds of people practicing TRIZ.  That is a huge number.  Why haven’t we heard anything about it?  Because TRIZ is giving them a tremendous competitive advantage. Employees are discouraged to discuss the subject outside of the company, never mind to present their work at conferences.  TRIZ does not have a Jack Welsh that is going to get his company ahead first, then bring his best practices to the world.  Absent a Jack Welsh, TRIZ risks being just another tool in a long list of tools – except in Asia where its value is quickly being understood.

There are TRIZ-inspired designs all around us, but no one talks about it for competitive reasons.  If you have held one of those new water bottles that has a waistline and a much smaller cap, and uses half the plastic, you are holding a TRIZ-based design.  It seems a bit flimsy because we have become used to sturdy water bottles, but it stands the drop test like the cylindrical bottle with twice the plastic.  Imagine the cost reduction if you are a bottle manufacturer.  And, less water bottles slip out of one’s hand.  This thought process is now making its way into laboratories where dropping bottles can be a real problem.  The old fashioned cylindrical beaker, with the single lip at the very top, may eventually go the way of the dinosaur.

GGI has been following TRIZ, and its several manifestations in processes and logic engines for software, since the early 1990s. By the early 2000s, enough of Altshuller’s work had been translated and TRIZ became generally available to western companies.  In 2008, GGI researched the penetration of 67 innovation tools and included TRIZ.  Next to the usage of the USPTO web site and the use of internal wikis, TRIZ was the third most used technique of the 67 techniques we researched. The CTO of Invention Machine, one of the software companies with TRIZ underpinnings, had been speaking at GGI’s Summits since 2005 which continued until IHS in England purchased IM.

The Altshuller Institute for TRIZ Studies (Worcester, MA) found out about our research and our long-time interest in TRIZ about a year ago.  They invited us to keynote the annual USA TRIZCON2016 conference which was just held March 3-5, 2016 in New Orleans.  To prepare for TRIZCON2016, we performed original research on the global adoption of TRIZ since its translation into English twenty-five years ago.  We were told at the conference that our research was new-to-the-world, and was previously only anecdotally understood by a handful of people.

TRIZ Is Now Practiced In 50 Countries [Machine Design – April 2016] focuses on the rapid global adoption of TRIZ, which grew at a compounded annual growth rate of 40%, during the past decade.

Innovation For VUCA Times: 14th Summit

Tuesday, January 26th, 2016

While the VUCA global economy still presents challenges on a regular basis, North America and Europe are becoming more predictable and hence stable.  This past year, companies have regained some moxie to attempt higher levels of innovation.  If you have not yet been able to participate in our Innovation Summit, 2016 is likely a good year to consider doing so.

Incremental For A Decade

Robert Cooper’s research showed that spending on “New To-The-World/Market” was down 43.7% and spending on “New Product Lines” was down 30.1%, while spending on improvements and modifications was up 80.1% this past decade.  Bottom feeding will not go on forever.  Soon, your company will be increasing the risk of its new product portfolio spending.  Year-over-year cost reductions and productivity gains are no longer putting up enough numbers on Wall Street.  And, some of the new product directions will be surprising.  It is the internet age.

Last year was a banner year for the development of new metrics aimed at measuring overall levels of innovation.  New measures in this area are an indicator of the demand for innovation.  R&D Productivity and R&D Efficiency were introduced, and Research Quotient gained some momentum.  RQ is focused on measuring the right level of investment, versus measuring the results of investments.  Another good sign.

Disruptive Forces Grow

Since our first Summit in 2005, GGI has constantly refreshed our curriculum.  As we wrote you last year, only a few pages of our original course book remain today.   We were pleased that several of our long term colleagues, who attended our original Summits, registered again for our Summit last spring.  All went well.

Let’s pick one example of keeping current.  2015 marked the 20th anniversary of Clayton Christiansen’s first publication on Disruptive Innovation.  Back in 1995, we looked at cascading s-curves to describe the science of disruption.  We were left to figure out our own mechanics on how to get there.  Last year, GGI researched the evolving “how to disrupt” methods that are starting to take shape.  We don’t think every one of these techniques makes for winning products, but they all have backers and most have the potential to do so.  If an executive asked you to define a product that innovates from the bottom of the pyramid, are you ready to take the lead on that project?  How about one that produces a big bang, or a digical outcome?

•  Reverse Innovation
•  Bottom of Pyramid Innovation
•  Trickle-Up Innovation
•  Disruptive Innovation
•  Emerging Technology Innovation
•  Big Bang Innovation
•  Digical Innovation
•  Sustainable Innovation
•  Design Thinking
•  Ambidextrous Innovation

Managers Migrate Practices

Our Summit always maintains its focus on management’s ability to fund, deploy, train, implement, measure, and to get a financial result from the subjects that comprise each of the eight modules.  While we do discuss tools and tactics and the like, it is always from the perspective of a manager being able to direct and/or lead innovation initiatives.  If you manage budgets, departments, functions, people, or projects our Summits are quite useful.

Dick Power and I continue to lead the Summit.  Adam and Bill address a large module on intellectual property, focused on the ability to create the best offensive and defensive positions and on how to assess their value in dollars.  Richard takes us through the possibilities of TRIZ, perhaps the most powerful single innovation tool available.

Please join us, or suggest that a colleague join us, for an unbiased articulation of the innovation and intellectual property capabilities that are available to corporations today. Some have said, “GGI’s Summit is an executive MBA on Innovation in three days.”

Companies That Have Participated *** Comments From Summit Alumni

We hope you will join us, Tuesday to Thursday, March 29-31!  There is a Reception on Wednesday evening.  Thank you for considering our Summit!

Early Bird Rates for the 14th Innovation Summit end Friday January 29, 2016 at 8:00 PM EDT.

14th-rd-product-development-innovation-summit

TRIZCON2016: An Opportunity To Further Innovation

Friday, January 22nd, 2016

TRIZ is an innovation tool and methodology that is based on an analysis of the inventive attributes of patents.  It is unique when compared to the some 350 innovation tools and enablers that are available to corporations.

GGI has been following the growth and evolution of TRIZ since the 1990s when its body of knowledge was first translated into English.  Originally the work of a single person, Genrich Altshuller, a low level officer in the Navy of the former Soviet Union in the 1950s, there are now some 18,000 people around the globe that have become certified in the application of TRIZ.  And, many more are practicing TRIZ without yet formally applying for certification.

As we know, for a myriad of reasons, it takes years and some times decades for techniques developed in the East to become accepted and adopted in the West.  Such is the case for TRIZ, translated from its Russian name as “the theory of inventive problem solving.”

Since 2008, the adoption for TRIZ has been growing steadily.  This growth has been driven by a combination of the power of the tool, the efforts of several non-profit and for-profit organizations that espouse its usage, the incorporation of TRIZ’s logic into several increasingly popular innovation software packages, and some large influential corporations that have made commitments to TRIZ within their company.  The companies that have allowed their interest to become public knowledge include Intel, General Electric, Boeing, DRS, Samsung, and Hyundai.

GGI’s most recent research on TRIZ was conducted late in 2015.  This “secondary research” effort involved the analysis of a number of public web-based sources and privately disclosed information to GGI.  This research built on our several previous “primary research” efforts on TRIZ during the past fifteen years.

To our surprise, after observing fairly uniform and even growth across countries in prior research efforts, our recent findings indicate that growth in Eastern Europe and especially in Asia now dwarfs the growth in most Western countries.  In fact, South Korea’s adoption is now approximately 15x that of the next nearest country on an absolute basis.  The skewing is so severe that it is necessary to remove South Korea from the data set in order to analyze the rest of the countries that use TRIZ.  Some 50 countries now have certified TRIZ practitioners, but, as you can see from the diagram below, South Korea’s overwhelming presence obscures their slivers of the pie at a global level.

 The Global Penetration of Certified TRIZ Practitioners

As a result of GGI’s unbiased research, Brad Goldense has been invited to deliver the keynote address at the largest TRIZ Conference in North America this year. TRIZCON2016 will be held in New Orleans on March 3-5, 2016 at Tulane University. Greater than half of TRIZ’s global rock stars will be presenting at this conference making it a worthwhile venue in which to learn more about this powerful innovation tool and method.

TRIZCON2016 - An Opportunity To Further Innovation

If you are interested, The Altshuller Institute for TRIZ Studies who produces TRIZCON has extended a 10% discount to anyone from GGI’s network that might like to register.  If you decide to attend, please use the code “TRIZGOLD” when registering to receive your discount.  Just so you know, GGI receives no financial remuneration for anyone registering from our network.

If TRIZCON2016 sounds too immersive to you, but you would like to learn more about TRIZ, GGI’s Innovation Summits have contained a “TRIZ Module” since 2005.  Along with some 65 other generally available innovation tools, we’ll be sure to up your awareness of what TRIZ may offer to you and to your company.  GGI will be holding our 14th R&D-Product Development Innovation Summit on March 29-31, 2016 in Norwood, Massachusetts.

Planning For Intellectual Property Revenues

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

Not too many years from now, business and program planners will have a new challenge when preparing a product or business plan.  Since the dawn of the Industrial Age, the state of practice has been to estimate an ROI by forecasting product revenues and profits.  Soon, product and business plans will contain two forecasting spreadsheets.  There will be the section on product revenues and profits that we are all familiar with.  And, there will be revenue and profit forecasting for IP.

Work on financial liquidity and monetization of IP began in the 1990s.  Baruch Lev at NYU is often credited with lighting the torch.  Let’s define financial liquidity as the ability to more easily transact IP in the marketplace as a commodity.  Let’s define monetization as the ability to assign a dollar value to a block of IP, and the rate that the initial value depreciates over time.  Liquidity and monetization are different challenges.  One requires a marketplace(s) capable of transacting assets, commodities.  The other requires the ability to assign a recognized value that can be generally agreed.  Just to pronounce the point, some day we might see certain types of IP traded like gold, silver, and soybeans.  The market would have much less volume, but the principles would largely be the same.  So how do we get there?

Financial Liquidity:  Markets are already in development [Figure 1].  There are a number of them and they are all emerging.  Who knows the ones that will stand the test of time.  And, the new ones are certain to emerge.  Right now “scouting firms,” “innovation intermediaries,” “ip auctioneers,” and “crowdsourcing companies” all stand to be market makers.  There are a handful of others.  The front half of industry is engaged in testing the waters at some level.  It typically takes about half of industry to be active before software developers start generating applications to manage new activities.   Software began to emerge at an increasing rate the past couple of years.

Figure 1
Percentage of Companies Currently Utilizing One or More IP Markets

 Percentage Of Companies Currently Utilizing IP Markets

Monetizaton:  Quietly, over the past twenty years, there have been committees and groups studying the merits of actually putting IP assets into financial statements.  A partial list reads like alphabet soup, but you’ll probably recognize them:  SEC, COMEX, FASB, and NAA.  Their goal is to be able to assign a value to a block of IP such that it can be treated like a new furnace or truck or mainframe and placed on the balance sheet as an asset and depreciated.  To meet generally accepted accounting principles, both a depreciation rate and a liquidation value would have to be determinable.  It is not necessary for all this to be worked out before the market can become liquid however, but some level of progress is necessary to determine ranges of salable values.  The accountants are currently paying attention to transacted values today that are agreed by a selling and buying entity.  After thousands of transactions occur in the years ahead, there will be enough data to assign some standard values.  There is great argument however.  Many do not want standard values.  Companies may lose their ability to negotiate premiums for their prized jewels.

Planning for Intellectual Property Revenues [Machine Design – July 2015] discusses the inevitable advancement of IP into the everyday business planning and decision making processes associated with new products. The article concludes with a bit of stretch thinking.

Why The Innovation Revolution?

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

Just about every company, since the Industrial Revolution began in the late 1800s, has wished to improve its level of innovation.  How to be a better innovator has been a subject of study for decades.

It was not until the early 2000s however, that collective industry demand for “better innovation” reached a level so as to spawn a revolution in the slowly evolving body of knowledge.  Why then?  Many factors contributed.

In the early 1980s, industry began shifting from a focus on manufacturing and operations excellence to a focus on R&D and Product Development excellence.  The first articles on competing through product development excellence appeared in 1983.  In 1986, Robert Cooper introduced the first “Stage-Gate” framework in his book “Winning On New Products.”  Initially designed to improve “over the wall” from engineering to manufacturing, the framework rapidly evolved to be an end-to-end process from concept to customer.  With an end-to-end framework now available to all industries, the time compression and/or Time-To-Market quest began.  By the late 1990s, some companies were moving so fast that they were losing potential ROI by replacing their own products too quickly.  As a result of the extreme time emphasis, the design communities had even less time for free thinking. Having less time ran contrary to many of the fundamental values as to why engineers, scientists, and designers went into their profession.  There was no longer as much time or budget to innovate.  A “push back” began to emanate from design communities.

Two other major industry initiatives, Six Sigma and Lean for product development, affected development communities in a similar manner.  Lean resulted in fewer people to do the same work, and had some overhead to measure and monitor capabilities.  Six Sigma resulted in many additions to the requirements of executing a product development process, while focusing efforts to eliminate all sources of unnecessary variation.  Experimentation and variation are necessary for innovation and invention.

Globalization across industries also contributed, for good and not so good reasons.  When products could get knocked off without the ability to enforce the intellectual property, companies had to improve their cycles of innovation and learning to get and to stay ahead.  At the same time, there were now many more competitors addressing what once were largely captive geographic markets.  New entrants wished to be better than the current market players.  Current market players wished to be better to stave off new entrants.

The ability of just about anyone to develop Software, combined with the advent of the Internet, was also a giant driver.  Many classic industries were under siege by companies that either delivered their products or services in a different way, or that added additional value into products through software and/or internet connectivity.

The confluence of Time-To-Market, Six Sigma, Lean, Globalization, Software Emergence, and Internet Emergence during the 1980s and 1990s were the primary driving forces that lead to an innovation revolution in the 2000s.

The 12th R&D-Product Development Innovation Summit, April 7-9, 2015, offers a current snap shot of the progress in the development and maturation of the Innovation Body of Knowledge during the past fifteen years.  GGI espouses no methodology of our own at the Summit.  Our sole goals are to look at what has taken place, to cull out what works, and to identify what companies are adopting into practice. The Summit, a defined three day curriculum targeted to decision makers and thought leaders, will address innovation and intellectual property strategies, tactics, processes, techniques, tools, and software.

  12th-rd-product-development-innovation-summit.png

Lead Users Generate Innovative Ideas & Great Returns!

Friday, January 17th, 2014

Innovation-Enabling Tools & Software for Individuals and Product Pipelines, August 15, 2013, discusses the decade-long growth of the innovation body of knowledge that has lead to new software and other tools that are achieving penetration across industries in this early market.

There are only a handful of “official” innovation tools and techniques that preceded this boom of the past decade.  Edward DeBono’s “Lateral Thinking” and wearing “Six Hats” techniques have been used by many companies around the globe since the 1960s, and have stood the test of time.  Roger Von Oech’s “Creative Whack Pack,” a mix of analogous and stretch thinking via a deck of cards, has also stood the test of time.  There are at most three or four more oldies but goodies.

Just from the high level description of these techniques in the preceding paragraph, one can intuit that the “thought patterns implicated by the two techniques” might lead to different product ideas.  One tool that has also stood the test of time, “Lead User Analysis [LUA],” is specifically devoted to spurring thinking in the direction of products that no one has yet thought of.  Every company has some level of a risk portion of its portfolio.  This technique helps to identify products that are New-To-The-Industry or New-To-The-World.

Are the chances of “New To” success the same of buying a lottery ticket?  Hardly.  It is therefore harder to understand why a technique that has been around since the 1960s, and was nearly fully documented by the early 1980s, is not more widely and systematically used.  To paraphrase W. Chan Kim’s book Blue Ocean Strategy, Blue Oceans are where products do not yet exist and Red Oceans are where competition is currently taking place. In any given year, only 14% of new products are launched into Blue Oceans. Yet, this 14% generates 38% of all corporate revenues and an unbelievable 61% of all corporate profits.

Bose Corp., for example, can trace its meteoric rise in the stereo equipment industry to a Lead User Analysis that showed in the 1960s there was a large market of high-end audiophiles that would pay thousands of dollars for speakers with accurate sound reproduction. Sony used LUA in developing the WalkMan, a product that kicked off the wearable electronics movement in the early 1980s. MiniMed’s wearable insulin pump in the early 1990s, now a Medtronic product, was also developed in part due to LUA.

LUA has been around for several decades. Yet, companies continue to center on focus groups, data mining, emotional intelligence studies, and the like to identify products that cover the the entire range of the portfolio. That’s probably because these techniques are familiar and do not require something different be done for every portfolio segment; and management readily accepts them. However, they rarely result in New To products that are now tending to be a higher percentage of many corporate portfolio goals.

Lead Users Generate Innovative Ideas & Great Returns [Machine Design – February 13, 2014], summarizes Eric von Hippel’s key role in bringing LUA to a level of practice and gives the reader a feel for the basic tenants of the Lead User Analysis approach.  [Please note that these two URLs may not be active until February 13, 2014 when the MD issue is published.]

Innovation-Enabling Tools and Software for Individuals and Product Pipelines

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

The Makers Movement Spurs Corporate Innovation and Entrepreneurship, July 18, 2013, discusses a competitive landscape that might induce some established companies to redouble their efforts regarding systematic innovation.

The triad of global competitors and Makers and small onshore companies that nowadays have access to most of the same innovation enablers as the big corporations have, together are raising the bar for what large companies must do to be regarded as innovators.

Savvy entrepreneurs, social and clinical psychologists, hard science scientists and engineers, software development companies, and a host of other individuals and firms who all have an angle on what it takes to be innovative, have been busy creating innovation-enabling tools and software for more than a decade now. Some 300 different techniques, some in the form of software, are now available at prices just about everyone can afford. Some are proving themselves to be better than the rest. Industry is beginning to recognize the ones that add the most value.

Innovation-Enabling Tools and Software for Individuals and Product Pipelines [Machine Design – August 15, 2013], discusses the rapid growth of the innovation body of knowledge along with some of the tools and software applications that have achieved the most industry penetration during this early market phase.