Killer Innovations
The award winning Killer Innovations™ Podcast and nationally syndicated talk radio show (on +30 radio stations) is hosted by Phil McKinney, an award winning innovator of technologies and products used by hundreds of millions of consumers and businesses worldwide. The podcast is Phil's way to "pay-it-forward" by sharing his experience and expertise in innovation so that individuals and organizations can achieve success in the innovation/creative economy. About the Host: Phil retired as the CTO at Hewlett-Packard where he led the product/R&D for the $40B PC, Mobile, Display/TV and Workstation business. He is currently the President and CEO for CableLabs, the non-profit R&D and innovation lab for the global cable industry. Phil shares his rule-breaking approach to innovation and creativity in his book "Beyond The Obvious" and via the podcast. He has been credited with forming and leading multiple teams that FastCompany and BusinessWeek list as one of the “50 Most Innovative”. His recognition includes Vanity Fair naming him the “The Innovation Guru”, MSNBC and Fox Business calling him "The Gadget Guy" and the San Jose Mercury News dubbing him the "chief seer". For more information on Phil visit his blog at philmckinney.com.

To some organizations, starting an innovation effort seems easy. Just hire some consultants, host a few all-hands meetings and then decree that the organization is embracing innovation. Sustaining innovation over time is incredibly hard. Without a long term commitment, most organizations experience innovation collapse.

Are there weak signals that an organization is heading towards innovation collapse?

4 Signs Of Coming Innovation Collapse

Here are four signs that organizations should keep a look out for.

  1. Innovation Out Of Fear: For sustained innovation, an organization needs to have a bedrock reason why innovation is important.  For some, it's out of fear. Fear that share price is suffering  because of a lack of innovation. Fear that everyone else is doing it and the organization is being left behind. While fear is a catalyst for innovation, its not a sustainable motivator.
  2. Competitive Urgency: For many organizations, their idea of innovation is responding to their competitors actions. When a competitor launches a new product or service, the organization responds by catching-up. Its innovation effort is reactionary which is not a sustainable approach to innovation.
  3. Innovation Silos/Innovation Fragmentation: Some organizations will attempt to catch-up by starting a large amount of innovation projects. The innovation version of throwing spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks. Projects will make everyone feel like they are doing something but without coordination and prioritization, the odds of success are slim.
  4. Lack of Will Power: For an organization to create a sustainable innovation program, their leadership will need to make some changes. Do they have the will power to do whatever it takes for innovation success?

During this weeks show, we discuss in more detail each of the 4 signs of pending innovation collapse.

We also share what you can do to avoid it.

[callout]Click below to listen to this weeks show on innovation collapse.[/callout]


While many are familiar with the story of how DARPA (actually it was its predecessor ARPA) invented the internet. What few are familiar with is the untold stories of of DARPA and how its innovators solved some of the most pressing problems we faced.

DARPA was created in 1958 in response to the launch of Sputnick with the mission to ensure that the United States didn't find itself behind the Soviets when it came to technology - especially in space. While its focus was on technology and innovation for the Pentagon, its work has had significant impact on civilian life.

This weeks guest, Sharon Weinberger, shares some of the untold stories abut DARPA based on her newly released book, The Imagineers of War: The Untold Story of DARPA, the Pentagon Agency That Changed the World

The Untold Stories of DARPA

DARPA is responsible for some of the most important technologies of the past six decades. Some of its projects are successes, some are failures, and some are best left to history to judge. Here is a list of DARPA’s most notable—and in some cases notorious—contributions to science, technology and warfare.

Driverless Cars: Today’s driverless automobiles being developed by Google, Uber and others are a direct result of DARPA’s robotic car races that began in 2004, with a course that ran across the Mojave Desert. The first winner of it's Grand Challenge competition was recruited by Google to start work on the company’s autonomous vehicles.

The Internet: More than any single person or agency, DARPA can lay claim to having “invented” the Internet. In the 1960s, it sponsored development of a system of networked computers called the ARPANET, the predecessor to the modern Internet. DARPA’s work on areas such as networking, packet switching and time-sharing laid the foundations for personal computing.

Drones: During the Vietnam War, the agency was responsible for developing the first armed drones. In the 1990s, the agency funded an Israeli aerospace engineer to build an unmanned aerial vehicle, which later evolved into the Predator, the armed drone most closely associated with targeted killings.

Agent Orange: In the 1960s, DARPA introduced chemical defoliation to Southeast Asia, believing that it could help eliminate jungle cover used by communist insurgents fighting the U.S.-backed government in South Vietnam. The work grew from early experiments into a widespread military spraying program that today is held responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths and sicknesses.

Border Wall Technology: In 1962, scientists working for DARPA outlined a proposal to create a barrier between North and South Vietnam. Eventually, that proposal morphed into the infamous McNamara Line, an electronic barrier that failed. Yet many of the concepts and technologies developed by DARPA, such as tethered aerostats and seismic sensors, are now used along the U.S.-Mexican border.

Stealth Aircraft: In the 1970s, DARPA sponsored development of the first “invisible aircraft,” a stealth prototype codenamed Have Blue. The stealth aircraft was designed to be invisible to radar in order to slip past Soviet air defense systems. The U.S. military’s current fleet of stealth aircraft, including the stealth helicopters used in the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden, can all be traced back to DARPA.

Nuclear Test Detection: One of DARPA’s earliest projects was a network of sensors and satellites to detect foreign nuclear tests. President John F. Kennedy relied on DARPA’s results in deciding to go forward with a Limited Test Ban Treaty in 1963 that halted nuclear tests in the atmosphere, oceans and outer space.

Modern Seismography: To advance work in underground nuclear test detection, DARPA invested heavily in the discipline of seismography and built a worldwide network of seismograph stations. The sensor network, and DARPA funding, is widely credited with advancing seismography and allowing scientists to collect the data needed to confirm the theory of plate tectonics.

M-16: During the Vietnam War, DARPA bought the Armalite-15 rifle for South Vietnamese soldiers. Eventually, it became the M-16, the standard weapon used by all three U.S. military services.

Artificial Intelligence: In the 1980s, DARPA launched a billion dollar initiative to develop artificial intelligence. The agency invested in everything from computer vision—teaching machines to “see” —to thinking computers that could help military pilots fly aircraft. The program was shut down in less than a decade and branded a “failure” at the time. Yet now some of the technologies DARPA invested in, like voice recognition, are widely used in the commercial sector (iPhone’s Siri, for example, was a spinoff of a DARPA project).

Robotics: DARPA has been the leading investor in robotics in the United States for decades. Many of today’s most recognizable robots, like iRobot’s PackBot, a bomb disposal robot used in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Roomba, the vacuum cleaner robot, can be credited to DARPA.

Data Mining: In the days after 9/11, the agency was responsible for creating one of the most high profile and controversial data-mining projects, called Total Information Awareness. The project was designed to trawl through large amounts of data, from car rental records to intelligence reports, to ferret out domestic terrorists. It was accused of being an Orwellian spy program and the work was moved to the National Security Agency.

Presidential Protection: After the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the agency ran a top-secret project to protect the president. Though many of its ideas were rejected as too fanciful, like a proposal to protect the president with a mirage-producing system, DARPA was responsible for the first armored presidential limousine.

Neuroengineering: DARPA in the 1970s helped lay the foundation for Brain-Computer Interface (brain-driven computers), imagining a future where humans could control machines, like drones, with nothing more than their minds. Today, DARPA is working on neural chips designed to help those with brain injuries recover memories and prosthetics controlled directly by the brain.

Satellites: Created in 1958 as the nation’s first space agency, it was responsible for developing the first communications satellite and first spy satellite. The agency also played a brief but critical role in sponsoring the Transit satellite, which led to the Global Positioning System.

Lessons From DARPA Success

Sharon shared three lessons from the success from DARPA:

  1. Price of Success is Failure: Be willing to try, fail and then learn from it.
  2. Be Clear About What Problem to Solve
  3. Function is More Important Than Form

[callout]Listen to this weeks show to hear Sharon Weinberger share  some of the untold stories of DARPA.[/callout]

About Sharon Weinberger:

Sharon Weinberger is the executive editor for news at Foreign Policy. Her most recent book, published in March 2017, is The Imagineers of War: The Untold Story of DARPA, the Pentagon Agency That Changed the World (Knopf, 2017). She is currently a non-resident global fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, Nature, Discover, BBC.com, Slate, Wired, the Washington Post, Foreign Policy, and the Financial Times, among other publications. She was previously a senior editor at Aviation Week and a co-founding writer and editor for Wired's national security blog, Danger Room.

[callout]Click below to listen to hear Sharon Weinberger share the untold stories of DARPA.[/callout]


To invent and deliver innovation at scale, infrastructure can quickly become the roadblock that will turn a great idea in to nightmare. For those of us who have been on Twitter for any amount of time, how can we forget the "fail whale" whenever it went down.

While many may consider infrastructure the "boring" part of launching a new product or service, its not something innovators can overlook.

So do you have to reinvent or can you learn from the hard earned lessons of others?

Innovation At Scale

Fortunately there are a number of open source projects that shares the lessons learned from companies who deliver their innovations at scale such as Twitter, Google, Facebook. Microsoft and Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

This weeks guest, Florian Leibert, brings his experience of being part of the team that solved the "fail whale" problem at Twitter. Florian is the co-founder and CEO of Mesosphere - the company that brings infrastructure that allows its customers to create and launch their innovations at scale.

To date, Mesosphere has secured nearly $126 million from 14 Investors, including A Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Khosla Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and Microsoft. The company counts more than 100 enterprise customers, including Autodesk, ESRI, Verizon, Netflix, and Deutsche Telekom. This summer, the company was added to the Forbes Cloud 100 and selected as a Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum.

[callout]Listen below to this weeks show to hear what is required to deliver your next innovation at scale.[/callout]

About Florian Leibert

Florian Leibert is the CEO and co-founder of Mesosphere, the company behind DC/OS – the premier platform for building and running data-rich, containerized applications.  Prior to founding Mesosphere, Florian was technical lead at Airbnb, where he built the company’s data infrastructure and co-authored a popular open source tool called Chronos. Before that, he was technical lead at Twitter. At Twitter he built the company’s distributed search service and introduced Apache Mesos to improve the scalability and reliability of Twitter’s platform. This helped to eliminate the then infamous “fail whale.” Leibert has been a researcher and software engineer developing distributed systems for more than a decade.

[callout]Listen to this weeks show to hear Florian Leibert's experience of delivering innovation at scale.[/callout]

Direct download: Innovation_At_Scale_The_Role_Of_Infrastructure_S13_Ep41.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 6:01am PDT

Building an innovation ecosystem of support across your organization is critical to achieving success. Without it and you will struggle taking and idea and making it real.

This week, we take a look at another listner question on how to get support across the organization.

[shareable cite="Fotune 50 Innovator" text="What kind of incentive program should we put in place for new innovative products and services?"]A problem in large organizations with innovative ideas is getting the sales team engaged to proactively sell your idea to customers. It's relatively easy to setup a market trial but getting 5 account teams to sell this to help prove out the market trial is a challenge: the sales teams are just too busy meeting their targets with current products. What kind of incentive program should we put in place for new innovative products and services? What other ideas? Be good if you could take a service as an example - rather than the usual product focus. Innovation can happen in services too![/shareable]

Innovation Ecosystem

By building an ecosystem of groups and departments that you need support from to make your innovation successful, you greatly enhance your chances for success. This innovation ecosystem can consists of:

  • Operations (finance, IT, legal, etc)
  • Manufacturing/supply chain
  • Product development/services delivery
  • Sales and Marketing

Dealing With A Lack Of Innovation Support

Why is so hard to get them to support innovation? Many believe that with executive, or even CEO support, the rest of the organization will fall in. Top down "declarations" that innovation is important is NOT enough.

As an innovation leader, you need to create an environment that invites and encourages others to be a part of the work you are doing.

5 Steps Building A Strong Innovation Ecosystem

  1. Build innovation interface points across the organization. Treat them like they are part of your team. Their role is to be your evangelist inside the silo's when you need their support. Do NOT wait until you need them. Have the relationships well in place before the first crisis appears.
  2. Identify the "catching team" early. Who will own the innovation after launch? Get them engaged early. Don't ask for a lot of resources. Ask for a named individuals who will own it.
  3. Ramp up the resources. As an innovation gets traction, ramp up the resources from the teams as needed.
  4. Ramp down your involvement. At the same time as other resources are ramping up to support the innovation, you and your team need to ramp down. Minimize your role in leading the innovation effort. Instead, move the ecosystem to take on leadership roles.
  5. Let the catching organization get the credit. The easiest way to win over the innovation ecosystem inside your organization is to not focus/worry on who gets credit.

Incentive's To Encourage Support For Innovation

What incentives should/could be in place? Here are two examples:

  • # of innovations that resulted in new product/services.
  • % of revenue from new products/services launched in the last x years.

These are just a start. There is a lot more to consider when it comes to incentives. If there is interest in this topic, we will cover it in a future show.

[callout]Listen below to this weeks show to learn how to build a strong innovation ecosystem within your organization.[/callout]


I'm not sure how many people would up and quit google and sell their house to fund an innovation. On top of that, the idea was in an area that many say had no room for new innovation. A very typical innovation antibody response to this persons idea.

Unexpected Innovation

Many innovations that go on to become market leaders are the result of the innovators own personal frustrations. For Renee, that frustration came from wanting a better way to search and find audio content that allowed her to stay up with everything going on.

While many believe that world does NOT need yet another podcast application, Renee believed that allowing for audio keyword search was one such innovation that others would find helpful.

I was one of those people. While I've tried just about every podcast app going back almost 14 years, CastBox did create something unique.

Innovation Through Sacrifice

What are you willing to do to take your idea and create the product or service you envisioned? Some will use some of their savings or maybe even borrow from a few credits cards. Few will go the levels Renee has done. In her case, she quit the ultimate job with Google and sold her house to fund what became CastBox.

That is true sacrifice to fulfill a vision.

About Renee Wang:

Renee Wang started her technical career working for Google. Her passion for listening to spoken audio led her to asking the questions, "why can't I search for keywords in audio?." This simple question led her down the path of finding a solution to this obvious question. 

Renee quit her job and sold her house to launch CastBox. What is it? It's a global audio platform pioneering in-audio search and delivering contextual recommendations to listeners of podcasts, on-demand radio and audiobooks.

 

[callout]Listen to this weeks show below to hear how Renee Wang, founder and CEO of Castbox, went from idea to innovation in audio.[/callout]

Direct download: Would_You_Quit_Google_and_Sell_Your_House_for_an_Idea_S13_Ep39.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 6:29am PDT

When it comes to tackling some of the hardest medical innovations, patience becomes a fundamental requirement. Because of the regulatory challenges of getting government approval, its not uncommon to wait for years before an innovation is approved for use. That assumes you can solve all of the technical and medical issues before even starting to secure government approval.

In the case of Dean Irwin, the innovation he envisioned needed innovation in components before the product could be created. How long would you be willing to wait? In Dean's case, that wait was for 15 years.

Patience

Waiting 15 years to bring an innovation to market is the ultimate example of patience. Why did it take so long? To achieve the design objectives, the product needed innovation in a number of areas including smaller and cheaper lasers, improved delivery approaches and confidence in the vision of using lasers to address a medical need that no one else considered.

So how do you fund innovations that take so long?

Dean's company took the basic elements and went after a market that was less demanding and that could generate enough margin to fund the long term vision. The result was a bootstrap approach to ensure control of the vision and funding to drive the innovations needed.

What's the status of the innovation Dean has waited so patiently for?

[callout]Listen below to this weeks show to hear how Dean Irwin's patience is saving lives.[/callout]

About Dean Irwin

Dean Irwin is founder and CEO of Ra Medical Systems. Since founding Ra Medical Systems, he has spearheaded the successful design, development, and commercialization of the Pharos excimer laser for dermatology as well as the investigational DABRA excimer laser and DABRA catheter for peripheral artery disease (PAD).

Over his career, he has published numerous engineering and scientific papers including consulting to the Plasma Research Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Institute of Plasma Physics at Nagoya University in Japan. Dean has been issued eight patents in the field of ultraviolet light and phototherapy, four patents for advanced display technologies, and has numerous patents pending for methods, devices, and catheters for cardiovascular applications.

Show Links:

[callout]Listen below to this weeks show to hear how Dean Irwin's patience is saving lives.[/callout]

Direct download: Patience_Waiting_15_Years_To_Bring_An_Innovation_To_Market_S13_Ep38.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 6:11am PDT

We've all heard the mantra to never give up. We say it to our kids in the hopes that they stick with something that has impact. In the case of Dean Irwin, this mantra as child set him on a path that few could imagine.

Dean left school at 13 to become an entrepreneur. His first effort was studying and repairing radios and TV back when they relied on vacuum tubes. This foundation let to him becoming and engineering consultant at MIT working on nuclear fusion.

How do you go from a kid of 13 fixing TV's to working on nuclear fusion at one of the most prestigious universities? Through passion, curiosity and willingness to use his understanding of the basics and applying them to new technologies. It turns out that understanding the basic of vacuum tubes is directly attributable to understanding and building the elements needed for nuclear fusion.

Never Give Up

Dean credits his upbringing that encouraged his interests to learn, understand and apply his ideas in unique ways. To never give up on his dreams and interests. Even if that means going in directions that sometimes don't seem logical.

I'm not sure as a father and a grandfather I could get comfortable with one of my kids or grand-kids leaving school at such a young age to go live their dream. Does that sound too conservative or too logical? Maybe. As I've preached many times, we all need to get comfortable being uncomfortable. And when we see youth who are on a path to transform society, we sometimes have to be willing to let go.

Dean Irwin is one of those rare bread of entrepreneurs and innovators that can see what others can't and create life impacting innovations.

[callout]Listen below to this weeks show to hear Dean Irwin's story and how he is changing our lives.[/callout]

About Dean Irwin

Dean Irwin is founder and CEO of Ra Medical Systems. Since founding Ra Medical Systems, he has spearheaded the successful design, development, and commercialization of the Pharos excimer laser for dermatology as well as the investigational DABRA excimer laser and DABRA catheter for peripheral artery disease (PAD).

Over his career, he has published numerous engineering and scientific papers including consulting to the Plasma Research Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Institute of Plasma Physics at Nagoya University in Japan. Dean has been issued eight patents in the field of ultraviolet light and phototherapy, four patents for advanced display technologies, and has numerous patents pending for methods, devices, and catheters for cardiovascular applications.

Show Links:

[callout]Listen below to this weeks show to hear Dean Irwin's story and how he is changing our lives.[/callout]

Direct download: Never_Give_Up_Leaving_School_At_13_To_Study_Nuclear_Fusion_S13_Ep37.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 10:59am PDT

Over my career, twice I found myself part of what I would consider high performance teams. These are teams that achieved far beyond expectations. Once you've been a part of a high performance team, you will do everything in your power to find another team just like it.

What I struggled with was unlocking why some teams are high performing while others were so bad I did everything in my power to get off of them.

This begs the question: Is there a formula or set of rules to creating and maintaining high performance teams?

Yes - per the authors Linda Adams and Audrey Epstein, of The Loyalist Team: How Trust, Candor and Authenticity Create Great Organizations.

In their book, they establish the framework that there are four types of teams.

  • Saboteur: Team members are working actively to sabotage the project and team members.
  • Benign Saboteur: Depending on the the situation and personal goals, team members will throw others under the bus with no commitment to the success of the team and its projects.
  • Situation Loyalist: Team members support the team and its members depending on the situation and personal objectives.
  • Loyalist: Team members are fully committed and have each others back.

Compared to saboteur teams, loyalist teams are 2000x more likely to be viewed as highly effective by their stakeholders.

Mindset of High Performance Teams

In their book, the authors layout what they believe are the tell tail signs of the loyalists team mind set:

  • We win or lose together
  • We have each other's backs
  • We are committed to the team goals
  • We hold each other accountable

What type of team are you on?

Which team are you a part of? Take a free survey offered at Trispective.com

[callout]Listen below to this weeks show to hear how you can create high performance teams.[/callout]

About The Guests:

Audrey Epstein's 20-year corporate HR career has focused on her passion: driving executive, team and organizational excellence. Prior to her consulting experience, Audrey managed learning and development functions within large companies and non-profits. Her experience includes building state-of-the-art leadership programs for executives, high potential groups, and special populations such as executive women.

Linda Adams brings over 40 years of experience as a Human Resources professional in several large international corporations and as an Executive Coach to the senior leadership of several top North American businesses. Linda focuses her work on creating dynamic and sustainable change in the way executives interact and create results for their teams and their organizations. She works with senior executive leaders to articulate vision, build alignment, establish accountability and drive to attain results for their organizations.

Links:

[callout]Listen below to this weeks show to hear how you can create high performance teams.[/callout]

Direct download: Can_You_Create_High_Performance_Teams_S13_Ep36.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 6:14am PDT

Have we become addicted to innovation? I love the next new thing as much as anyone as evidenced by all of the stuff I've accumulated. As an innovators, the challenge is how to get the innovation timing right to satisfy the market and stay ahead of the competition.

The pull on companies to create the next great product or service is hard to avoid. Consumers are asking and your competition is on your heals.  Its the innovation version of "keeping up with the Jones".

But innovation is not a one and done type activity. Once you start, the customer is always looking for what's next. The pace of innovation drives your activity and its not slowing down. In fact, its accelerating.

The Goldilocks Problem

As an innovators, can you or should you speed up your innovation refresh rate? This is a Goldilocks problem. You go too slow and your competitions will blow right past you. Go too fast and your customers cannot absorb what you are creating. You risk creating innovation exhaustion.

You need to get the innovation timing "just right".

Behind The Scenes Look At How I Do It

You are probably asking yourself, if this is so hard, what hope do you have in getting it right? Don't expect perfection.  There is NO magic formula that when performed generates innovation planning success.

Innovation is messy and unpredictable.  So how do you set the right flow?

Four Step Process To Set Your Innovation Timing

  1. Set your funnel "output" rate. For example,  At HP, the rate of innovation from the Innovation Program Offices was 2 per year for HP. In my current role as a CEO with ~200 people, we have an innovation rate slightly higher than what we had at HP.
  2. Define your stages in the funnel. I use a four stage funnel/gates to ensure oversight of ideas in different stages of development.
  3. Calculate out how many total ideas to achieve your "output" rate. For example, at HP we set our metrics as:
    • Market Validation = 20 ideas
    • Customer/Product Validation = 10 ideas
    • Limited Launch/Trial = 5 ideas
    • Global Launch = 2 ideas
  4. Pace yourself. Its easy to get enthusiastic on the ideas you have in the funnel. To achieve long term, sustainable innovation, you need to prioritize your funnel and be discipline on 2 per year.

The above may sound simple but trust me, its a lot harder than it looks. Leaders within your organization will derail the funnel at ever turn. Be prepared to defend and protect the funnel.

Hard Learned Lessons

Some lessons I've learned when leading and managing innovation organizations:

  • Do not over extend your rate by pushing more innovations than the rate you've set. For 2 ideas per year, we required 35 ideas in the funnel (see metrics below). If you were to go to 3 ideas per year, you would need roughly 52 ideas in the funnel. Think about that carefully.
  • Be aware of what your customers (or internal catching organization) can absorb. If you exceed their innovation adoption rate, you will burn them out with innovation exhaustion.

Listener Question: Starting A New Business

This week, we took time answer a listener question:

[shareable cite="Roberta " text="Should I start my business as an affiliate or as a distributor ?"]I am stuck trying to decide between starting a new business (non tech actually, small regional chocolate creators) that is either affiliate which is limited start up fees and also limited % or distributor which requires a WHOLE lot more capital as well as commercial kitchen for storage, receipt of products and distribution, etc.[/shareable]

Answer: Yes. Listen to this weeks show to hear my advice to Roberta on starting a new business.

[callout]Listen below to this weeks show to get a behind the scenes look at getting the innovation timing right.[/callout]


During some recent travels, I started noticing the comments and suggestions that "being part of Silicon Valley must be exciting". As I paid more attention, it came across as almost hero worship of Silicon Valley and the companies its has launched. It's like people believe that innovation outside Silicon Valley is a rare if not impossible occurrence.

I have to admit that when I first showed up in Silicon Valley in 1984, I was in awe. I felt that I had arrived and proven myself. It took me better than 4 years to open my eyes and see that it wasn't that unique or special. There are some advantages to being there but human creativity and innovations they create are not limited to small piece of land. There is innovation outside of Silicon Valley.

Venture Capital

One unique characteristic to the valley is the access to billions of risk capital that people are willing to invest in new innovations. But risk capital is available in other places also. For example the State of Ohio Venture Fund which is helping new innovative companies stay in the state rather then feeling they need to go to the valley to be successful.

Unexpected Innovations

Innovation can come from anywhere such as the result Hurricane Katrina, a taxi drive in NYC working on new medical innovations and the solution to predictors killing livestock in Africa. While many of these innovations start out as solutions to immediate hyper local issues, they can and do turn into products and services that we all benefit from.

Remember that innovation does not equal technology. There are an unlimited number of ways to apply innovation to what you do.

How To Help

The challenge is how to help innovators who are outside of Silicon Valley to be successful while also impacting their local economy. Here are some ways we can all help:

  1. By highlighting what others are doing (e.g. social media) to give them some exposure.
  2. By shows what others are doing, reinforcing that anyone can innovate.
  3. By showing how to innovate (e.g. joining The Innovators Community), give others the skills to take their idea and turn it into a business.

[callout]Listen below to this weeks show on Innovation Outside of Silicon Valley.[/callout]

Direct download: Innovation_Outside_Silicon_Valley_S13_Ep34.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 3:34am PDT