For many, this would imply a further de-emphasis on innovation. However, this goes to a common mis-conception about the value of innovation. Continue reading
Newlogic’s approach to identifying new market opportunities, through both technology-driven innovations or consumer-driven innovations, is highly entrepreneurial. Our approach, I’m sure influenced by my graduate school, Babson College, utilizes much of experienced gained starting new businesses. Whether a team is part of a startup company, or identifying the opportunity for an innovation within an established brand, the same passion, insight, analysis, debate and vision is required. Continue reading
In today’s #innochat we discussed storytelling and new product development, the host; Gwen Ishmael asked chat participants how they used storytelling in their innovation culture. The question reminded me of Alan Cooper’s ideas about Personas and use cases. Cooper recommends companies create avatar descriptions of their customers, and user stories, or examples of customer needs to think about product development, and design. And marketers use Personas for digital design for web technologies.
When R&D organizations are given projects by marketing, marketing has already written the story. R&D has to turn that story into something that’s actionable. Newlogic’s take on stories therefore is a product design company approach, in that those marketing stories have to be translated into another language, into the language of technology, before anyone can create a product that the story is describing.
Except that R&D leaders often have to create products where customers have no experience of that product, so today’s #innochat had me thinking about scenarios where it is not possible for existing customers to help you describe what they need from a future innovation.
You have to create actionable descriptions. If you developing a new product; a new beverage, or food, aspects of the product will be new. Marketing people will have scenarios how they want the product to perform, but until R&D translates those scenarios into technology statements: A package has to be opened 75 times, a pen needs to write 1 mile of ink, and tests those statement you will not know if those stories are reality.
Differentiating a product based on packaging boils down to selecting a material, a form, and art work. The following examples caught our attention, not just for being successful, but for exhibiting a high degree of innovation in at least one of those basic areas.
Among other things, Ecovative produces a wine bottle shipper made of their EcoCradle packaging.
Imagine dried paper pulp, shaped into packaging, for a wine bottle or office furniture. Now imagine making something similar by 1) molding the form of the package out of cotton burrs, buckwheat husks, or oat hulls using a biodegradable mold, 2) allowing fungus to envelop the form, thus binding the particles together, and reinforcing the structure, 3) heating to stop fungal growth and kill any spores, then 4) after use, disposing of it, knowing it will completely decay within one week.
The first things you notice about Pacific Perfumes latest fragrances are the hexagonal tower shaped outer container and a fibrous twine, which is tied in a ribbon. It’s just brown cardboard, but it looks almost gift wrapped. The product contains no synthetics, and utilize botanical extracts from wood, resin, and flowers. The fragrances are packaged in wooden pots made from certified, sustainable New Zealand beechwood forests. Packaging is all recyclable and renewable.
Debbie & Andrew’s
Prior to the current version, the art work on Debbie & Andrew’s sausage packages was based on geometrical shapes and fonts. Sales took off after a redesign added the photo of the Wellington boots which they wear on their farm.
Compiled by Newlogic Trends Team member: Chuck O’Neal
If you look back on history, you get the sense that scientific discoveries used to be easy.
Galileo rolled objects down slopes. Robert Hooke played with a spring to learn about elasticity; Isaac Newton poked around his own eye with a darning needle to understand color perception. It took creativity and knowledge to ask the right questions, but the experiments themselves could be almost trivial.
Today, it takes ever more money, more effort, and more people to find out new things. But until recently, no one actually tried to measure the increasing difficulty of discovery. It certainly seems to be getting harder, but how much harder? How fast does it change?
This type of research, studying the science of science, is in fact a field of science itself, and is known as scientometrics. From its early days of charting the number of yearly articles published in physics, scientometrics has broadened to yield all sorts of insights about how we generate knowledge. A study of the age at which scientists receive grants from the National Institutes of Health found that over the past decades, older scientists have become far more likely to receive grants than younger ones, suggesting that perhaps younger scientists are being given fewer chances to be innovative. In another study, researchers at Northwestern University found that high-impact research results are more likely to come from collaborative teams — often spanning multiple universities — rather than from a single scientist. In other words, the days of the lone hero scientist are vanishing, and you can measure it.
A scientometric approach to the question of quantifying how hard discovery gets over time found that difficulty increased along a curve of exponential decay.
What this means is that the ease of discovery doesn’t drop by the same amount every year — it declines by the same fraction each year.
For example, the discovered asteroids get 2.5 percent smaller each year. So while the ease of discovery drops off quickly, it can continue to “decay” a long time, becoming slightly harder without ever quite becoming impossible. Think about Zeno’s Paradox, where the runner keeps on getting halfway closer to the finish line of the race, and thus never quite makes it to the end.
The fact that discovery can become extremely hard does not mean that it stops, of course. But this study does tell us what kind of resources we may need to continue discovering things. To counter an exponential decay and maintain discovery at the current pace, you need to meet it with an effort that obeys an exponential increase.
You can’t just expend a bit more effort, sometimes you have to expend orders of magnitude more.
Adopted from The Boston Globe; Ideas, by Samuel Arbesman.
Lore of pop psychology is that creativity occurs on the right side of the brain. But we now know that if you tried to be creative using only the right side of your brain, it’s be like living with ideas perpetually at the tip of your tongue, just beyond reach.
When you try to solve a problem, you begin by concentrating on obvious facts and familiar solutions, to see if the answer lies there. This is a mostly left-brain stage of attack. If the answer doesn’t come, the right and left hemispheres of the brain activate together. Neural networks on the right side scan remote memories that could be vaguely relevant. A wide range of distant information that is normally tuned out becomes available to the left hemisphere, which searches for unseen patterns, alternative meanings, and high-level abstractions.
Having glimpsed such a connection, the left brain must quickly lock in on it before it escapes. The attention system must radically reverse gears, going from defocused attention to extremely focused attention. In a flash, the brain pulls together these disparate shreds of thought and binds them into a new single idea that enters consciousness. This is the “aha!” moment of insight, often followed by a spark of pleasure as the brain recognizes the novelty of what it’s come up with.
Now the brain must evaluate the idea it just generated. Is it worth pursuing? Creativity requires constant shifting, blender pulses of both divergent thinking and convergent thinking, to combine new information with old and forgotten ideas. Highly creative people are very good at marshaling their brains into bilateral mode, and the more creative they are, the more they dual-activate.
There is a popular conception that “left brain” and “right brain” represent personality traits and that some people are dominant in one or the other hemisphere. It is widely believed that the left brain was the rational mind, while the right brain was the creative mind.
However, there is no scientific evidence for this notion and the idea that creativity is in the domain of one, or the other, side of the brain is false.
What has been shown is creativity is located in diffeent parts of the brain depending on the domain; different subcomponents of ability in a single domain are located throughout both sides the brain; and the location of these different subcomponents seems to differ in trained and untrained individuals. In fact, researchers have hypothesized that creative people have enriched communication between their hemispheres.
Sawyer, R.K.; Explaining Creativity, The Science of Human Innovation; 2006
In this lecture from Baroness Susan Greenfield, a British scientist, writer, broadcaster, member of the House of Lords and Professor of SynapticPharmacology at Lincoln College Oxford, the neurological and psychiatric scenarios where individuals are more creative than the norm, are explored.
Could there be common features in these diverse cases that could give a clue to the creative and even the “aha” moment of creative insight itself ?
As the creative/innovation economy develops we’re learning to differentiate, value, and rank creative people. The Eskimos have a hundred names for snow because of their attention to it. However, until recently the business world had very few names for creative people. This is beginning to change as the participants in the innovation economy are identified and vie to maximize their compensation.
At the top of the heap may be called Creative Entrepreneurs.
These are designers, artists, and film-makers who take the initiative to lead creative works in new and exciting directions. In film-making it can describe those directors and producers who bring to cinema unique and compelling visions (think Spielberg, Kameron, Kubrick).
As our ‘Innovation Economy’ evolves, so will our understanding of creative individuals. More businesses will demand the talents of Creative Entrepreneurs (think Steve Jobs, IDEO). These are individuals and businesses that create new business and innovations beyond the expected.
Donald A. Norman, author of The Design of Everyday Things, has just published the tentative table of contents and two chapters of his new book “The Design of Future Things”.
The book’s expected publication date is October 2007. The publisher is Basic Books (New York).
Tentative table of contents:
- Cautious cars and cantankerous kitchens: how machines take control
- Servants of our machines
- The psychology of people & machines
- The role of automation
- Natural interaction
- Six rules for the design of smart things
- The future of everyday things
- Afterward: the machine’s point of view