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.

The pressure is intense in the U.S. government to get innovation efforts underway.  “Beltway bandits” riddle proposals with “innovation” in hopes of securing contracts.  Politicians believe it will solve all the problems. This politics of innovation doesn’t always bring about impactful innovation.  What can governments do to generate meaningful innovation? How should politicians think about innovation?

Satyajit Das’s article in Forbes India makes good points on the politics of innovation.  Here are some of his points along with my thoughts on how politicians can promote impactful innovation.

A Vague Notion

When politicians promote innovation, often the idea is vague and broad.  Politicians push innovation without careful thought to what areas need innovation.  The “how” is clear, but the “what” is not. The more defined the focus area is, the better the results.   The quality of ideas will flourish when it is clear what the innovation needs are.

Money is Not Always the Answer

Offering financial incentive to attract innovation may produce short term benefits.

 

This alone won’t bring significant innovation.  Few policymakers are concerned with long-range innovation.  Funding for it has steeply declined. Yet, only the government can sustain long-range innovation and fundamental research that will have future impact.  Some great innovations we benefit from today are long-range innovations the government developed over many years. For example, NASA made major life-changing innovations.

Misperception of Innovation Impact

Many politicians see innovation as the solution to ills their constituents face.  The statistics tell otherwise. Less than 10% of U.S. GDP is technology. Only 0.5% of employees are in industries that didn’t exist before 2000.  Only 1.8% of employees in Silicon Valley work in new industries.

Another misperception: innovation translates to technology.  Innovation applies to all industries, all segments, all jobs.  Manufacturing comprises 25% of jobs. Yet, scarce innovation funding is focused in this sector.  Politicians need to think beyond Silicon Valley. The Innovators Network highlights innovation in non-traditional industries in non-traditional locations.  

 

Innovation and Inequality

Many believe that innovation creates economic inequality.  Innovations may not have universal distribution early on. But they spread quickly.  Another concern is that AI and robotics will increase unemployment. Looking at the past, similar fears proved unfounded.  In the 1960s, predictions were made that computers would bring a 50% unemployment rate. That has not been the case.

Innovation is a global phenomenon.  The boundaries of innovation do not stop at the boundaries of countries.  Politicians should be careful of trade barriers that block or protect innovations.  In the politics of innovation, politicians must adopt a new way of thinking.

Promoting Innovations that Work

  1. Focus the search for innovations.
  2. Crowdsource ideas.
  1. Learn to experiment and test.
    • Get comfortable with failure.
    • Don’t expect a Big Bang.
    • Internet was multi-decade investment
    • Invest in near, mid- and long-term innovations
  2. Do NOT ignore long-range research.

Don’t let the innovation funnel dry up.  JFK’s BHAG put a man on the moon.  Consider the destiny we leave for our children and grandchildren.  Create the BHAG for today and the future.

 

Five Minutes to New Ideas

We tend to assume that any customer is a good customer.  Are there cases when this is not true? The most ardent customers can create unexpected issues for your overall business.  You may have to ask the question, “who do I not want as my customer?”  Listen to this week’s Five Minutes to New Ideas to hear some creative solutions companies have found to manage customers.  

 

 

 

  • You can also find out information about my book, Beyond the Obvious, at beyondtheobvious.com.  Get a copy through Amazon or wherever you get your books.
  • Pay it forward.  When I wanted to repay my mentor for his investment in my career, he told me to pay it forward.  Help me pay it forward. Give us a rating where you get your podcast. Help spread the word. Tell others about the show.  
  • Be part of the conversation between the shows.  I hang out at The Innovators Community on Slack.  This private community of vetted innovators helps each other succeed.

 

 

The Killer Innovations podcast is produced by The Innovators Network.










What brought a successful Wall Street investor and a lauded entrepreneur to Central Ohio?  Flavio Lobato and John D’Orazio, Ikove Capital Co-Founders, saw amazing innovation where few were looking.  To cultivate technology growth in the Midwest, Ikove Capital developed the Innovation Nursery.

 

Nurturing the Startup

Ikove means “growth” in the Brazilian indigenous language Tupi-Guarani.  This aptly describes the focus of Ikove Capital. It is a firm dedicated to venture development.   Through a hands-on approach Ikove
Capital nurtures startups in its Innovation Nursery.  The trend for venture capitalists is toward late stage investing.  Ikove Capital co- founder Flavio Lobato saw the opportunity. There is a huge investment in research that flows into the Central Ohio region to the tune of $70 billion.  Yet, only one percent of resulting research attains commercialization. Early stage funding is tough to obtain.  Hence, the baby never matures.  In steps Ikove Capital to spur technology growth from inception.




Setting Up the Innovation Nursery

Ikove looks for regional technology research that has commercial potential globally.  They search for babies to fill the innovation nursery.  The search list includes universities - Ohio State and Wright State.  It also includes Air Force research labs, The Cleveland Clinic, the James Cancer Hospital.  A hub of research and development and an ample engineering talent pool offer plenty of choice.  Ikove Capital identifies and vets potential projects. They divide projects into three verticals – STEM, Med Tech, Agri-Tech.  A fourth is on the way – Food Tech.

 

The Ikove Capital team offers corporate expertise in finance, entrepreneurship, business acumen.  They bring all the resources together that a startup needs to grow and thrive.

 

From Local to Global

Although the research and innovation start in the Midwest, the reach is global.  The final company established may be anywhere in the world.  The funding that gets these startups into the innovation nursery and through the process of growing is global too.  Investors from ten countries sourced the latest round of investing. Over 25 years in business and finance, Ikove founders have established global connections.  





Technology growth is a global demand.  Ikove’s future is to take the Innovation Nursery to new regions within the U.S. and beyond.  Flavio sees global opportunity for the Innovation Nursery. Plans are in the works to offer Ikove Capital venture development in Europe and Asia within the next five years.

 

Learn more about Ikove Capital at ikovecapital.com.

 

 

Five Minutes to New Ideas

What assumptions do you make about why your customer buys your product?  Are your customers using your product as you intended? Have they found a unique way to customize your product to suit their needs?  As in the blog IKEA hackers, there may be some unusual ways to repurpose or customize your product.  Listen to Five Minutes to New Ideas.  Hear how the owner at my local bakery made use of an HP product in a non obvious way.

 

 

 

  • You can also find out information about my book, Beyond the Obvious, at beyondtheobvious.com.  Get a copy through Amazon or wherever you get your books.
  • Pay it forward.  When I wanted to repay my mentor for his investment in my career, he told me to pay it forward.  Help me pay it forward. Give us a rating where you get your podcast. Help spread the word. Tell others about the show.  
  • Be part of the conversation between the shows.  I hang out at The Innovators Community on Slack.  This private community of vetted innovators helps each other succeed.

 

The Killer Innovations podcast is produced by The Innovators Network.

Direct download: The_Innovation_Nursery-_Technology_Growth_in_the_Midwest.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 5:12am PDT

At the Innovation Boot Camp, I had a chance to talk with Kym McNicholas.  We’ve both been traveling.  Kym’s made stops in Europe and Asia to promote medical innovations.  I’ve driven 12,000 miles in four months in the Mobile Studio. On the road, we’ve found innovation in non-obvious locations.  Here’s a recap of what we’ve been tracking in the innovation arena.

 

A New Market of Employees

Kym notes, “Real innovation is happening in different parts of the country.”  I found this in Paducah, Kentucky. FIn Gourmet Foods is innovating on several levels.  This company has created a unique solution to an invasive species problem.  Their processing method renders Asian Carp a hot menu item in tony New York restaurants.  They also employ felons on parole. Through employment, they help these people readjust to independent living.  

 

On our diverging travels, one stop Kym and I had in common was South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, TX.  I hosted a talk on neurodiversity hiring.  Like FIn Gourmet Foods hiring approach, I encourage companies to discover a new market for employees.   Working with Hacking Autism I’m exploring ways to bridge the work gap for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder.  Companies interested in sparking innovation should consider a neurodiversity hiring program.  Many autistic adults are highly intelligent, capable people. They can offer a fresh and different perspective to a team.  By establishing this hiring program, companies will gain an edge. At CableLabs, the people in our program are having phenomenal impacts on our business.

 

An Invitation to Create

At SXSW, Kym’s focus was on electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles (VTOLs).  Kym joined a discussion with partners Embraer and Uber.  There are challenges and potential for VTOLs in urban settings.  Embraer and Uber invited the innovation community to get involved.  The drive is to start testing by 2020 and market by 2024.  Through empowering the community to create with them, Uber and Embraer hope to achieve this goal.  Other companies may create in parallel. But Uber realizes the need for an ecosystem.




Tell the Story

One of the challenges in launching a “flying car” is navigating the regulatory system.  VTOL creators need to ensure federal, state and local regulations accommodate use in urban environments.  As with many innovations that face this issue, innovators need to convey the story. It’s not the pitch laden with tech speak.  It’s not something that sounds good but doesn’t hold water. The innovation story has to be genuine, compelling and convincing.  It has to reach the audience. The story should make them understand what you’re doing, see the value in it, and realize why it’s important.

 

 

Five Minutes to New Ideas

Magazine publishers are in a predicament.    With free content available on the internet, magazine publishers must make their content worth paying for.  One creative way to keep customers engaged with the product is to tap into the backlog of content. Those willing to experiment and try repurposing will discover new areas of growth in their business. Could you provide components separately or in unique combinations to serve new customers?  Listen to Five Minutes to New Ideas to learn more.

 

 

  • You can also find out information about my book, Beyond the Obvious, at beyondtheobvious.com.  Get a copy through Amazon or wherever you get your books.
  • Pay it forward.  When I wanted to repay my mentor for his investment in my career, he told me to pay it forward.  Help me pay it forward. Give us a rating where you get your podcast. Help spread the word. Tell others about the show.  
  • Be part of the conversation between the shows.  I hang out at The Innovators Community on Slack.  This private community of vetted innovators helps each other succeed.

 

 

The Killer Innovations podcast is produced by The Innovators Network.


Take a look in an unexpected direction and discover non-obvious innovation.  One entrepreneur is building solutions to meet basic needs in rural and urban slums of India.  Hasit Ganatra is founder of ReMaterials.  His company designs and produces the ModRoof, roofing for the developing world.  ReMaterials solves a serious problem in a non-obvious location.

 

Microchips to Roofing

Hasit could have made a comfortable living in L.A.   He held an Engineering degree from the University of Southern California.  He worked in microchip design. But far from the tech hub, inspiration sprung from a non-obvious location.  A trip to the vegetable market in India with his mother sparked the idea for his first startup.

 

His second startup is a non-obvious innovation in roofing.  Hasit’s scope and vision for Re-Materials is far-reaching. His roofing solves issues of leaks, excessive heat, toxicity, and roof deterioration.  Beyond that, Hasit and his team are designing solar panels to attach to the roofing. The solar panels will provide power for lighting. Lighting is a major need throughout the developing world.  Meeting this basic need allows a better life and future to an underserved population.

 

Seeing Things in a Different Light

What drove Hasit to leave L.A. for the non-obvious location of rural and slum areas of India?  In his words: “Always wanting to solve real problems on the ground.  Be in the action.”  Seeing the problems of India’s rural and urban poor communities, Hasit bypassed a high tech career.








Hasit credits C.K. Prahalad’s The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid with helping to see things in a different light.   Prahalad’s book was an inspiration to my wife and me as well, prompting us to invest in developing countries.  The book dispels the myth that rural and low-income communities are not a starting point for investment.  What we consider a non-obvious location for investment may soon become obvious to many.

 

Hasit’s for-profit business model combines social impact and profit.  ReMaterials produces the ModRoof using biodegradable, recycled materials.  Hasit states, “Our goal was not to be cheapest in market, but the best in the market.”  For customers who cannot afford the outright expense, microfinancing is available.

 

Advice on Non-Obvious Innovation in a Non-Obvious Location

  • You have to be passionate about living and working in the non-obvious location.
  • There are going to be issues.
    • You can’t give up in these situations.
  • Test the waters.
    • Experience the location on a trial basis (i.e., internship).
    • This will help you determine if you’re willing to give your life to it.
  • Once you  get involved, it will require 100% commitment.
    • It’s no longer a hobby.

 

Learn more about ReMaterials and how Hasit is making an impact in India.  Contact Hasit through the website re-materials.com.

 

Five Minutes to New Ideas

Could offering an unfinished product increase the value of your product?  There are companies successful in offering such products. Some advantages to this model allow companies to

  1. reduce risks by minimizing inventory and
  2. charge a premium for the pleasure of assembling the product.

It’s a fine line.  If assembling the product is too easy, it feels like cheating.  If it’s too complex, the consumer sees no value in the supposed convenience.  The right balance gives the customer the satisfying feeling of “I did this.”

Consider the possibility of creating an on-demand service for your product.

 

The Killer Innovations podcast is produced by The Innovators Network.

Direct download: Non-Obvious_Innovation_Non-Obvious_Location_S14_Ep13.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 5:51am PDT