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.

When I was a software engineer, one area of importance was the design and testing of user interfaces. The work was frustrating because you had to decipher what the user was "thinking" to understand how they would use your software. Over the years, the research has taken on the challenges of human computer interaction with next generation technology.

Our guest today, Dr. Chris Harrison from Carnegie Mellow University, is the Assistant Professor of Human Computer Interaction at Carnegie Mellon University. While this is his work today, his Master's research thesis was in understanding if a persons activities (timeline) could be used to better organize documents. This idea of improving human computer interaction around documents led to his PhD research that focused on next generation technology around touch.

Human Computer Interaction

In addition to his own research area, he also oversees the Future Interfaces Group (FIG) as CMU. The mission and purpose of FIG is:

[shareable cite="Future Interfaces Group at CMU" text="... foster powerful and delightful interactions between humans and computers."]To create new sensing and interface technologies that foster powerful and delightful interactions between humans and computers. These efforts often lie in emerging use modalities, such as wearable computing, touch interaction and gestural interfaces.[/shareable]

This work goes beyond the technology of touch to also include the psychology and human response to find better ways to allow next generation technology to be a tool that is easier to use and benefit from.

Next Generation Technology: Electrick

Electrik is focused on bringing touch to volume and shapes not achievable with today's technology. By using a "poor conducting" paint, this solution allows you to easily enable touch interfaces and interactions on all kinds of surfaces such as car steering wheels, table tops, toys, etc.

[youtube id="38h4-5FDdV4"]

One immediate application for this new technology is in the area of "fast prototyping". You can now create a 3D printer prototype, apply Electrick and create the interaction experience of the prototype .. all with hours or days rather than months.

Next Generation Technology: Infobulb (light bulb 2.0)

Chris also shared his work on bringing touch interaction to any surface without the need for special treatment. His vision is to create the next generation light bulb, what he is calling infobulb. It deliver information in addition to light. The surface that the lift falls on creating a new kind of human computer interaction. The surface becomes touch enabled. To learn more, check out Chris's intervew over at TechRepublic.

[callout]Listen to the interview below for the full backstory on these next generation technologies and innovations ...[/callout]

 

About Chris Harrison:

Chris Harrison is an Assistant Professor of Human-Computer Interaction at Carnegie Mellon University. He broadly investigates novel sensing technologies and interaction techniques, especially those that empower people to interact with small devices in big ways. He has been named:

  • Top 30 scientist under 30 by Forbes
  • Top 35 innovator under 35 by MIT Technology Review
  • A Young Scientist by the World Economic Forum
  • One of six innovators to watch by Smithsonian

Last year, his lab won a Fast Company Innovation by Design Award for their work on EM-Sense. Chris has also been awarded fellowships by the Packard Foundation, Google, Qualcomm and Microsoft Research.

Show Links

  • Join The Innovators Community -- where you can meet, discuss and be part of a community of innovators. This is a private slack community.
Direct download: Next_Generation_Technology_Human_Computer_Interaction_S13_Ep26.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 6:03am PST

As humans, we have some unique abilities. We are self-aware, we exhibit critical thinking and we have the ability to be creative and innovate. Will that always be the case? Some think that artificial intelligence (AI) will someday take over creativity and innovation.

In my opinion, AI will become a tool that will help improve our creativity and innovation but I doubt that it can takeover what I see as an inherit human ability to our conscious and unconscious mind to invent.

How Will Artificial Intelligence Help Our Creative Ability?

In a recent article in Venture Beat by Tim Sox titled, "How AI will advance our creative thinking", the author shares a list of ways AI will be a tool. These include:

  • AI will reshape talent and recruitment
  • It will test and develop creative thinking
  • AI will uncover non-obvious insight
  • It will speed up the creative process
  • It will transform global communication

What Will Be Artificial Intelligence Impact On Jobs?

If AI is going to eliminate some of the more mundane jobs, which jobs will be impacted and what should you do about it? In a recent article by  Scott Gerber of on TNW, he shares the results of a survey from the Yound Entrepreneur Council asking them which jobs would be most impacted by artificial intelligence.

Here is the high level list - not in priority/impact order:

  1. Forcasting
  2. Customer Service
  3. Education
  4. Finance
  5. Foodservices
  6. Personalized Healthcare
  7. Medical
  8. Logistics
  9. Loyalty Programs
  10. Marketing
  11. Procurement
  12. Public Relations
  13. Search
  14. Security

Check out the full description of how and why AI will impact these jobs over at TNW.

Will We See Artificial Intelligence With Imagination?

Can AI have imagination? Can it imagine the future of what might happen without being told to do so?

We've all seen the current public displays of artificial intelligence including AlphaGo which benefits from having clearly defined rules which allow outcomes to be predicted very accurately in almost every circumstance.

Or Facebook which has created a bot that could reason through dialogue before engaging in conversation in a fairly constrained environment.

The real-world is significantly more complex than this.

Mallory Locklear in Engadget wrote an article on what IBM is doing with what it calls "imagination-augmented agents - or I2As. These are neural network trained to extract any information from its environment that could be useful in making decisions later on. These agents can create, evaluate and follow through on plans.

Creativity and Innovation Overrated?

Eliot Gattegno from Techcrunch wrote a post back in May titled "Creativity is Overrated". While the title could be viewed as clickbait, then premise he makes is important.

We are seeing society fall into "creativity worship" when we see star status applied to innovators. What about the non-creatives? A company full of Steve Jobs' will not be successful. As I've said many times, innovation is a team sport. Without these other role, creatives would not be successful trying to deliver innovations on their own.

Today, roles typically not attributed to being creative in an organization (e.g. accounting/finance, HR, facilities) are the ones that could be viewed as being at risk with growing role of AI.

This change could have significant impact.

Check out this episode of show and let me know your thoughts in the comments below ..

 

Show Links

Check out The Innovators Community. A private slack community of innovators from a wide range of industries coming together to share, learn and support each others innovation successes. Check it out at TheInnovators.Community.

 


It’s human nature to want to make a lasting impact with the innovations we create. To do something meaningful and enduring. To create a lasting legacy that makes the world a better place. I call this innovation with purpose.

In some cases, we need help to realize a vision we have that manifests this idea of innovation with purpose.

This week at an annual event we host in Keystone, Colorado, we premiered a new vision video with the objective of inspiring others to think about what innovations they can contribute to health care needs of our aging population. How do we make the future a better place for ourselves and our family members.

The video is titled, "The Near Future: A Better Place"

[youtube id="k0KIqRAoGBk"]

So why is the cable industry interested in the needs of those looking to age in place?

This is a need that will impact all of us.  Today, roughly 8.5 percent of the world’s population is aged 65 and over. By 2050, this older population will represent 16.7 percent of the world total population.

The broadband networks provided by the cable industry are what will enable innovators to invent this vision of the near future. It will take an ecosystem to address this need and the broadband network is part of the ecosystem.

At CableLabs, we are tasked as the R&D and innovation lab for the global cable industry, we are focused on innovation with purpose. In this case, that innovation with purpose is to create and inspire innovations that allow people like Jim love a long and fulfilling life the way they want to live it.

Independently.

Additional Resources

In addition to the main film, there are two additional films to provide more background.

This film is a "Director's Commentary" where I describe the background and inspiration for the film.

[youtube id="Beb832Oe_lA"]

This film is a look a the technology behind The Near Future: A Better Place.

[youtube id="YOax3EFz2r0"]

 

If you want to see all of the vision video's I've created over the years, go check out this blog post: Predicting The Future With A Vision Video

 

 

Direct download: Innovation_With_Purpose_Inspiring_The_Near_Future_S13_Ep24.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 5:59am PST

Once we have experienced that taste of success, we will do anything to experience it again but instead, we fall into the trap of success. Success leads us down the path of taking a more conservative approach in hopes that we can repeat the success we just experienced.

The assumption is that if we repeat what we just did, we increase the likelihood that we will repeat the success again. That is a bad assumption.

When it comes to innovation, success can be traced to a team that is willing to challenge the how and therefore take a maverick role within the organization. Instead of embracing this mavrick approach, we fall into the trap of success and go the exact apposite direction. We become more conservative and relegate the team to being a one-hit wonder.

So how are we to avoid this trap of innovation success and stay a maverick??

Injecting Creative Stress Through Competition

When a team a needs to achieve innovation success, they need to be willing to throw out everything they know. The easiest way to get a team or organization to change is when there is a crisis such as a having a significant competitor.

Without this crisis, most teams and organization cannot find the will to be a maverick and instead fall into the trap of success.

While at HP, we were tasked to go from #3 and #4 market share to #1 in 3 years. To achieve that success, the entire organization had to re-think what a PC was and how to make them meaningful -- if not actually desirable.

[youtube id="PcWcD8vcPr8"]

We threw everything out the window and started from scratch. It was a "bet the farm" move to achieve a BHAG that we knew we needed to achieve.

Once you've achieved the BHAG, you need to find the next competitor/BHAG. This is what allows you to deliver repeatable innovation successes.

Creative Stress For Teams

Another approach to avoiding the trap of success is to create some creative stress between teams within the organization. This is the approach Disney Animation and Pixar put in place to help drive each other to more success.

How did they achieve this without destroying the culture and teamwork? By establishing some basic rules:

  1. The studios would not be allowed to borrow each other’s resources when they got into a pinch.
  2. The wouldn’t be able to take over each other’s projects.
  3. No team would have veto power over another team’s movie.
  4. They were on their own to develop their own cultures and storytelling.
  5. But, they would have to openly share their work and they would have to listen to each other’s criticism.

Conclusion

Wouldn't life be great if it could predictable? Follow these 5 easy steps and everything will work out. While that sounds enticing, I would argue that life would also get boring.

Life in unpredictable. That's what creates opportunities for innovators. But as innovators -- once we've tasted innovation success -- we fall in to the same trap of success as everyone else. Follow these 5 steps and you can repeat success. But we just said that life is unpredictable ... didn't we?

So what are we to do?

Inject some creative stress into our projects by identifying the competitor "out there". That competitor can be external to your organization or it can be another team inside. That is what Disney Animation and Pixar did to achieve repeatable success.

To hear more on the trap of success, listen to the full show below ... 

Direct download: How_To_Avoid_The_Trap_of_Success_S13_Ep23.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 8:28am PST

The pace of innovation continues to accelerate and in many instences, we are surprised from the unintended consequences from innovation adoption. While innovators focus on the adoption, we overlook the need for society to adapt to these new innovations and the impact it has.

[shareable cite="John Maynard Kaynes - 1930"]I believe that this is a wildly mistaken interpretation of what is happening to us. We are suffering, ... from the growing-pains of over-rapid changes, from the painfulness of readjustment between one economic period and another.[/shareable]

Some adaptations are conscious while others are thrust upon society with both positive and unintended consequences.

Innovation Adoption Examples

One example would be the rapid adoption of social networks and how society has adapted itself to its role in how people share and receive information. While social networks have allowed people to stay connected, it has also redefined what it means to be friends and the role of trust when it comes to the information that is shared.

Another example would be the retail sector. It has seen a never ending wave of innovation that has disrupted even the well established retailers. It started with the "big box" retailers disrupting the small local and regional retailers. Now its the online retailers such as Amazon disrupting the big box retailers.

Unintended Consequences

There are many more examples of the unintended consequences of innovation disruption.

So what is the role of innovators to help those that are being disrupted? Do we just play the role of disruptor and let everyone else figure out the consequences?

I would suggest that we as innovators need to go beyond simply launching our disruption. We need to spend time thinking about the possible unintended consequences. When we identify them, we can then understand what we can do about them.

There are many examples where innovators go out and launch in hopes that those impacted (e.g. local, state and federal governments) won't be able to keep up thus creating some unique advantage over established models.

Is that the right thing to do?

I would argue that ethical innovation calls for us to think beyond just the adoption of a new innovation. We need to acknowledge that others will need to adapt to it and the possible unintended consequences.

Do you agree??

Listen to the full show to hear my thoughts ...

 

Direct download: The_Unintended_Consequences_From_Innovation_Adoption_S13_Ep22.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 7:43am PST