Killer Innovations (Past Shows)
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.

 

Today’s show is unique.  I recorded it as I drove back to Denver from an annual event in Keystone, Colorado.  The event centers around what’s coming in the next three to eight years in technology and innovation.  So, sit back and enjoy the ride as I share my thoughts on innovation and the near future.

 

Pondering AI and Ethics

I delivered two keynotes at the event.  During one, I got a question about Artificial Intelligence.  To be specific, did I agree or disagree with what other tech leaders were saying about AI.  This prompted a lively talk during the keynote and afterwards. The discourse kept me mulling over thoughts on innovation, AI and the future.

 

We’ve featured some shows this year that touch on the use of AI.  Recently, the Box Chief Product Officer shared how Box is using AI for content management.  Earlier in the year, Microsoft’s Corporate VP for AI, Steve Guggenheimer, gave insight into applying AI for innovative solutions.  

 

Yet, some have negative views on AI and where it could lead.  They preach a doomsday message - job losses, robots taking over.   Where am I in this spectrum? In my response to the question, one of my points was to consider ethical innovation.  The innovation doesn’t matter. People can innovate for good or evil. What we need to think about is how we define ethical innovation.  Are there innovations that should not be made for ethical reasons?  And we must consider the unintended consequences of innovations.  







I don’t have all the answers.  But the conversation should continue.  Innovators must ponder, discuss, and debate the ethics.  I’m interested in your thoughts on ethical innovation. Hop on over to Killer Innovations, look at the show notes, and post your comments.  Let’s raise the visibility. If we in the innovation game don’t address this now, there could be greater issues and dire effects in the future.

 

Keeping up with the Pace of Innovation

Continuing my thoughts on innovation is another topic.  The pace of innovation and absorption. As the pace of innovation increases, it impacts industries.  It especially affects those dependent on ecosystems. The window to develop innovation, bring it to market and get a return on investment is short.  As the cycle concludes, the next round of innovation pushes forward. Customers can’t always keep up with the pace. Absorption becomes an issue.

 

How do you synchronize it?  How do you mesh the creation of innovation with the customers’ ability to implement?  And is it worth it to the customer to keep up with the constant influx of innovations?

 

The Near Future

One of the highlights of the event is the premiere of the latest in the vision video series The Near Future.  We’ve been doing this since 2016 at CableLabs.  I’ve worked on vision videos most of my career. During my tenure at HP, I made a series of six vision videos.  One influential video was Roku Reward – The Future of AR Gaming produced in 2006.  It became a popular pitch lead in for entrepreneurs.  The video predates iTunes, connectivity, and mobile apps.  It’s a precursor to the now popular Pokémon Go. At the time Roku Reward was made, we were anticipating this technology would arrive within eight years.  It actually took ten, but the vision was there.

 

The intent of The Near Future series is to create a visual on innovations in everyday life three to eight years out.  The 2016 film, called The Near Future: Bring It On, opens up a window into what the future looks like in a home with ultra-high-speed bandwidth.  In 2017, the video The Near Future: A Better Place, featured Rance Howard, actor and father of director Ron Howard.  This video gives a glimpse of the future for older adults. It shows how innovation can enable independent living, mobility and immediate access to healthcare.

 

Last week we premiered The Near Future: Ready for Anything.  It takes a look at education of the future.  From a virtual chemistry lab to connecting students globally, see how the next generation will learn in the near future.

Vision videos are a great way to tell your product’s story.  If you’d like to do a vision video, reach out.  I could give advice, guidance, and make introductions to help bring your story to life.

 

Thanks for joining me as I share my thoughts on innovation.  I would love to get your comments on any of the topics mentioned and start the dialogue.  Leave your comments after the show notes at Killer Innovations.

 

Want to discuss these and other innovation issues with your fellow innovators?  Join The Innovators Community.

 

Five Minutes to New Ideas

Price is king.  Build ‘em cheap stack ‘em high.  It’s practically the motto for most segments of the tech industry.  It’s a core assumption about what the majority of customers want. But that assumption is not always true.  Take the sales of the HP DreamScreen in India, for example. Value sometimes outweighs price in a customer’s decision.  If the value the product brings to lives justifies the cost, they will go to the ends of the earth to find a way to make that purchase.  Price and value are not the same thing. Listen to Five Minutes to New Ideas for more on customer perceptions and innovative ways to bring value at the right price.

 




 

Direct download: On_the_Road_Thoughts_on_Innovation_S14_Ep23.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 6:08am PDT

 

Often when we think about innovation, it’s high tech or a game changing breakthrough.  Today, we look at innovation through a different set of glasses. Rather than innovating a product or service, “costovation” innovates on the business model.  Stephen Wunker talks about innovating behind the scenes, creating customer value through cost innovation.

New Markets Advisors founder and managing director, Stephen has had a successful and varied career.  From innovation consultant to leading innovator developing the first smartphone, he’s come full circle.  Back in consulting, he’s worked with Harvard professor and innovation great Clayton Christensen for many years.  (If you’ve never read Clayton’s books, they’re a must.)  Stephen has co-authored Costovation: Innovation that Gives Your Customers Exactly What They Want—and Nothing More.  His book opens up a new way of thinking about innovation.

What is Costovation?

If you’re like me, the initial thought on cost innovation may be that it’s just cutting costs and going down market.  But Stephen demonstrates that it’s much more and the result is not a cheap offering. It’s not about delivering an inexpensive product or service that is less than adequate.  Costovation is finding the “opportunity in the guts of the business”. Then, delivering customer value while minimizing costs.   


Cost innovation on the overall business model can create immediate profits or make products more affordable.  

The Importance of Costovation

While the U.S. economy has experienced a long recession-free streak, it would be foolhardy not to plan for a downturn.  Furthermore, median incomes are flat and many people are not growing with the economy. There is a market for people who deserve value.  They can’t afford the top of the line and don’t need all the bells and whistles.  The focus in costovation is to delight the customer with what they need at a price point they can afford.

Costovation Success Stories

Costovation is stocked with success stories.  Stephen’s book gives many examples from a spectrum of industries.  BMW’s re-release of the Mini Cooper is one example. BMW turned around the generally low profit market of small cars.  The Mini is low-cost to produce. Yet, BMW found a way to a market premium. They offer post production detail options to customize the Mini.  Their cost innovations have succeeded in creating customer value. The Mini is well built and a market success.

Another example is the electric toothbrush company quip.  By selling customer direct and using their own brand name, quip offers an electric toothbrush at much lower cost.

How to Costovate

The three common steps to cost innovation are

  1. Get a breakthrough perspective.
  • Step back from industry
  • Critically look at long held industry assumptions
  • Take a fresh look
  1. Have a relentless focus
  2. Blur the boundaries

Through cost innovation, you can unlock new markets and deliver customer value for less.

For more on costovation, read Costovation: Innovation that Gives Your Customers Exactly What They Want—and Nothing More.  You can also read Stephen’s articles in Harvard Business Review and other publications.

To keep up with what Stephen’s working on, visit the New Markets Advisors blog, join him on Twitter @costovation, or visit the New Markets Advisors website.

 

Five Minutes to New Ideas

It’s not enough to know what your customer needs and wants.  Dig deeper. You need to understand the internal philosophy of what the customer’s doing and why.  If you don’t, your product may miss the mark.

This week’s Five Minutes to New Ideas challenges you to ask the questions that will reveal a deeper understanding of your customer.

 

If you know someone that you think would be a great guest on the show, drop me a note.  I would love to give people the spotlight who are doing interesting things, thinking about things in a different way and transforming their business, their community, their lives through innovation and creativity.  

Check out The Innovators Network, the producer of this show and others.  Kym McNicholas’s show, “Kym on Innovation”, is over there.  Kym has been on my show many times. She’s an Emmy Award winning Forbes reporter living in Silicon Valley.  




Direct download: Creating_Customer_Value_through_Cost_Innovation_S14_Ep22.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 6:54am PDT

On today’s show, instead of hosting a guest, I am the guest.  Erich Viedge interviews me for his podcast, The Skeptical Executive.  Erich brings innovation to unique industries.  He’s also an early listener of Killer Innovations. Erich has some good questions to ask me. We touch on a range of thoughts and issues around innovation and creativity.

Is Innovation for Everyone?

Are there industries or businesses where there’s no role for innovation?  Many companies claim innovation as a value. Erich’s local carpet cleaner has ads claiming “innovation”.  Erich’s skeptical. My belief is that there’s always room to innovate.  That carpet cleaner may not revolutionize the cleaning process.  But he could innovate the customer experience. That may set the cleaner apart from the competition.   If you’re not innovating, you’re standing still. If you’re standing still, someone’s going to go right past you.  In any industry, there’s opportunity to look at the business, the customers, the operations differently. All are ripe areas for innovation.

Hidden Benefits

What are the hidden benefits of innovation done right?

When I was CTO at HP, our market share in PC laptops was low and we were losing money.  It was my job to turn it around. The prevailing thought at the time was there wasn’t much to innovate in laptops.  My team proved that wrong. We researched and found the customers’ spoken and unspoken needs. The result: our market share jumped to number one.  The hidden benefits were several. It boosted employee morale. The innovations energized the engineers with the chance to do something different. Shareholders benefited.  The profits gave HP flexibility to invest in new product lines.

Even commoditized products like laptops can use innovation.  When you meet customers’ needs and wants, they will pay a margin premium.  A margin premium gives you flexibility to adapt your business, to be the leader in the marketplace.  It’s that breathing room that becomes critical in these highly competitive times.

The Right Consultant

What should a CEO do when ready for innovation?  How does that CEO find the right innovation consultant?  Here are some questions to consider in vetting a prospective consultant.

  1. Does the consultant have experience leading innovation?
    • Experience in the trenches dealing with organizational change?
    • Done it, lived it, been successful at it?
  2. What is the consultant’s philosophy on a business’s culture?
    • In his/her view, what kind of culture fosters innovation?
    • Does that view align with the CEO’s?
    • Does the consultant address major issues such as
      • Fear of failure,
      • Corporate antibodies,
      • How authority is handled,
      • How decisions are made.
  3. What is the consultant’s innovation process?
    • Does he/she expect the organization to adapt to his/her process, or
    • Will the consultant create and adapt processes to fit the organization?

Sometimes the culture of a business needs to change before innovation can happen.  Erich’s experience with the mining industry demonstrates how challenging changing the culture can be.  For one mining client, it took two years for the culture to change before innovation processes could begin.

Habits for Innovation Success

Creativity is essential for innovation.  It’s like a muscle that needs to be exercised.  My habit for building creativity is to spend 30 minutes Monday through Friday ideating. This is my time to brainstorm creative solutions to problem areas for the various roles I hold.  On Saturday, I rank these ideas and prepare the best for teams working the problem space. For momentum in my ideation session, I start with some inspiration (music or a brainteaser) and set a quota for ideas.  I keep going until I meet the idea quota.

Trend safaris are another great way to spark creativity.  I take these safaris with teams or individuals to places far and near looking for trends and weak signals.

Think you’re not creative?  Think again.  We all are born creative.  Unfortunately, we are untaught this creativity along the way.  Looking to reignite that creativity? Check out more Killer Innovations shows or read about creativity at philmckinney.com.

Thank you, Erich, for a great interview.

Direct download: No_Limits_to_Innovation_and_Creativity_S14_Ep21.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 6:49am PDT

 

From my shows on this year’s CES, you’ll know I’m leery of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the many companies touting it.  On the flip side, I have also featured some interesting ventures into AI.  When I heard that Box was delving into AI, I had to learn more.  In this show, hear how Box’s content management innovation increases the value of content stored.

 

Can Awesome Get Better?

Box offers cloud content and file sharing for businesses large and small.  This company has a solid reputation and millions of users. I have used Box since the inception of my Killer Innovations show.  Through Box, I also worked with my editor, publisher, and fact checkers on my book, Beyond the Obvious.  Before that, my team at HP used Box.  I’m definitely a fan. But how can AI be applied to content sitting in a cloud?  Today Jeetu Patel, Box Chief Product Officer, shares how AI is changing the value of content in Box.  This company is developing smarter ways to manage their customers’ critical asset – their content.

 

The Megatrend Tailwind

Jeetu watches the megatrends.  He’s seen three megatrends impacting our world.  Two, the cloud and the mobile revolution – have had profound effects on how we all do business.  Jeetu sees AI as the tailwind powering the next wave of innovation. Riding this wave, Box goes beyond merely a repository of content.  Through content management innovation, Box brings value to the content their customers entrust them with. Machine learning organizes and tags the content.  In a complex world, things just got simpler. Content residing in Box becomes worth more inside the Box platform than outside it.






Help!  I Can’t Find …

Box’s customer content is doubling every 12 – 14 months.  The exponential growth of content is overwhelming. It can make finding any particular bit of data time consuming.  With this customer problem in mind, Box has introduced AI machine learning to their platform. Box Skills, launched last year, uses sophisticated tagging mechanisms to label, classify and transcribe content.  This content management innovation enables quick, precise retrieval of objects and text within content files.  Machine learning integrated into Box offers facial and voice recognition, topic deduction and sentiment analysis.  Not only does this increase efficiency, but also use cases.

 

Connecting the Content

Box Skills has made content search easier.  But Box Graph enhances content, making connections.  This content management innovation recognizes relationships in content and among users.  With this intelligence, Box Graph makes recommendations in such areas as security, compliance and workflow.  

 

At Stake in the AI Revolution

Applying AI can revolutionize the way we do things.  There are certain tasks that machines can do better at scale.  As AI gains traction, Jeetu believes the tech industry bears responsibility for helping transition society.  The disruption AI may cause will affect lives and jobs.  The industry must consider how to retrain and prepare people for this revolution.

 

Sustaining Innovation

How does Box continue to innovate and build its customer base from small businesses to Fortune 500s?  Jeetu gives two secrets to Box’s success.

  1. Keep team’s small – 8 to 10 people
  2. Scarcity is your friend.  Limit resources to focus the team on the task.

 

Interested in learning more about Box and its content management innovation?  Go to box.com.  

If you’re in the Bay area August 29 & 30, come to BoxWorks an annual event hosted by Box.

 

 

Five Minutes to New Ideas

Seeing the value in something considered worthless can make all the difference.  To make game changing innovations, you have to deconstruct your assumptions about what has value and what doesn’t.  I did this as an executive at the telecom Telligent in 1997. My discovery allowed us to stand out in a crowd of competitors.  Listen to Five Minutes to New Ideas.  I hope it inspires you to come up with your own game changer.

 

 

We’re getting ready to head out on travel in the Mobile Studio.  We're looking for innovators in non-obvious industries and non-obvious locations.  Fin Gourmet Foods in Paducah, Kentucky kicked off this theme.  If you have a company or location doing really interesting innovation, drop me a note.  We’d love to see if we can come by with the Mobile Studio and do a broadcast.  Between now and the end of the year, we’ll be focusing east of the Mississippi.  After the first of the new year, we’ll be focusing west of the Mississippi.

 

  • Find out 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: Catching_the_AI_Wave-_Content_Management_Innovation_S14_Ep20.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 6:23am PDT

Keywords:  innovation; fuel efficiency innovation

 

Competing for Fuel Efficiency Innovation

There’s been an explosion of innovation competitions in recent years.  They highlight the fact that innovation can come from non-obvious sources.   These competitions bring together smart people – usually industry outsiders - to tackle a problem.   The annual Shell Eco-marathon Americas took place this year in Sonoma, California.  In today’s show I welcome three members of the Duke Electric Vehicles team from Duke University.  They share their experience of competing for fuel efficiency innovation.

 

The Shell Eco-marathon Americas draws teams of high school and college students from North, Central, and South America.  The challenge is to create the most fuel-efficient car. The Duke Electric Vehicles team took first place in three categories.  On the track, they won awards in hydrogen fuel cell and electric prototypes. Off track, they won in technical innovation. Shomik Verma, Gerry Chen, and Patrick Grady give a glimpse of the competition and their road to victory.

 

The Race is On

The team starts in August and works on the car throughout the school year.  Amid academic studies and other obligations, students devote evenings and weekends to making the car.  They spend the first semester designing. The second semester, they build and test the car. The Duke Electric Vehicle team built a small, oblong 50-pound car in which the driver has to lie flat.  The car gets an estimated 12,000 miles per gallon. The secret to their fuel efficiency innovation: a super capacitor in the hydrogen powertrain. Now that the team has tasted victory, they are not stopping.  This summer they are working on beating the Guinness World Record for the most fuel-efficient car.

 

Learning Innovation Hands-On

Students don’t often get to bridge the theoretical to the practical in school.  The competition offers the chance to put the classroom theory into practice.  At the competition, there was a unique level of cooperation among the teams – from borrowing tools to asking advice.  The focus on one problem, fuel efficiency, maximized the potential for innovative solutions. The team members sharpened essential skills of innovation - problem-solving, creativity and collaboration.  

 

Lessons Learned

  • Have determination and perseverance.
    • Shomik learned determination and to persevere through unexpected difficulties.  In his words, “It was really important for us to rely on team members and rely on the fact that we knew we did good work.”
  • Use a methodical, organized approach.
    • Gerry learned the importance of a methodical approach, being organized, and breaking things down into subcomponents.
  • Go back to basic theory for the solutions.
    • This was Patrick’s fourth year on the team and second as team president.  He learned many lessons through the years working on efficiency vehicles. One of the biggest was how to go back to basic theory.







Wishing the Duke Electric Vehicles team the best in breaking the Guinness World Record and beyond.

Want to keep track of the Duke Electric Vehicles Team?  Visit the Duke Electric Vehicles  Facebook page.  Or check out their website: duke-ev.org.

 

Five Minutes to New Ideas

Could your business benefit from creating a standardized offering of a custom product?  Back in 1985, there was no such thing as a standard PC. You owned a specific brand and had access to programs written specifically for that make.  Each company was attempting to create lock-in for their third-party software developers. Working for a startup in Silicon Valley, my colleague and I faced a dilemma.  What PC should we tailor our typing instruction program to? We came up with a creative solution. Listen to Five Minutes to New Ideas.  Hear how going in the opposite direction of the crowd can pay off.

 

 

We’re getting ready to head out on travel in the Mobile Studio.  We're looking for innovators in non-obvious industries and non-obvious locations.  Fin Gourmet Foods in Paducah, Kentucky kicked off this theme.  If you have a company or location doing really interesting innovation, drop me a note.  We’d love to see if we can come by with the Mobile Studio and do a broadcast.  Between now and the end of the year, we’ll be focusing east of the Mississippi.  After the first of the new year, we’ll be focusing west of the Mississippi.

 

  • Find out 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: Competing_for_Fuel_Efficiency_Innovation_S14_Ep19.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 5:04am PDT

Great ideas come and go, but what makes an idea into something bigger?  How do you develop your idea into a product that will attract venture capitalists and scale your business?  Is the idea sustainable beyond one or two seasons of growth? Can the idea bloom into a niche market and then cross pollinate?    Patrick Henry, QuestFusion founder and CEO, shares his framework for cultivating ideation that reaps success.  He calls it smart ideation.

Steps to Smart Ideation

Smart ideation is a five-step process for entrepreneurs and business owners building a growth company.  The process focuses on business factors rather than simply developing the product.  Patrick’s book, Plan, Commit, Win: 90 Days to Creating a Fundable Startup, lays out the framework for smart ideation.

The steps are as follows:

  1.  Customer Problem Solution Test

This test answers three questions:

  • Is it a big and important problem for the customer?
  • Is the customer desperate to solve the problem?
  • Is my solution superior to alternatives?
  1.  Sustainable Competitive Advantage Test

Once you answer yes to the questions in #1…

  • How do you sustain business growth over time?
  • What is your innovation roadmap for the next five to ten years?
  • Can your core technology penetrate adjacent product market segments?
  • Can you build layers of competitive advantage?
  1.  The Intersection Test

Facing the challenges to scale your business, you need an intersection of

  • Passion
  • Domain expertise – specialized product and market knowledge
  • A big customer problem
  • A team who can execute
  1.  The Market Size and Growth Test

Applies to businesses funded by venture capital

  • Success or failure hinges on this
  • Must determine growth opportunity in your target market
  • Penetrate a defensible niche, then conquer adjacent markets
  • Have a big long-term vision to scale your business
  • VCs looking for upwards of $100 million in annual revenue
  1.  The Idea Refinement Test

Three ways to refine your idea.  

  • Through intimate customer engagement
  • Through a technical and business advisory board that will provide unbiased feedback
  • Through teaching customers willing to provide feedback early on in exchange for some exclusive benefit

 

Qualities of a Successful Ideator

Along with the smart ideation process, consider what makes a successful ideator.  Patrick sees the successful ideator as one with a unique perspective and perpetual curiosity.  They are the tinkerers, gadget users, early adopters who come up with new ways of doing things.  These people are disciplined, hardworking, and passionate.

 

Are you ready to scale your business, to bring it to the next level?  For more information on smart ideation, go to QuestFusion.com.  For a detailed guide to smart ideation, go to smartideation.com.

Find Patrick on Twitter: @questfusion, Facebook: @questfusion, and Instagram: @plancommitwin.

Five Minutes to New Ideas

How do you address customer complaints?  Are they an annoyance to dismiss and be done with?  Don’t make the mistake major companies have made minimizing or ignoring complaints.  It may come back to haunt you. Be proactive in addressing customer issues. Listen to this week’s Five Minutes to New Ideas for insight on this important topic.

I’m getting ready to head out in the Mobile Studio in search of interesting innovators.  I’ll be east of the Mississippi this Fall and west of the Mississippi the first of 2019. If you know somebody who would be a great guest on the show, drop me a note at killerinnovations.com.

 

  • Find out 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: Smart_Ideation_to_Scale_Your_Business_S14_Ep18.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 6:02am PDT

Did you ever set a goal or New Year’s resolution only to abandon it?  Do find your life lacks purpose? Do you doubt your ability to accomplish amazing things?  Today’s show features Tal Gur, blogger, author, motivational speaker.  Tal’s goal, or one of many, is to inspire you to set goals and achieve them.

 

The Start of a Life Journey

Some people may do one or two extraordinary things in their lifetime.  Maybe it’s traveling to a far-away country, running a marathon, or mastering a foreign language.  Tal Gur has done at least one hundred and counting. From learning to speak Spanish to becoming an international public speaker, Tal set out to live the dream.  Abandoning the 9 to 5 job, he established a source of passive income and went on a journey. It was a journey of self- discovery and facing challenges head on. Each year he set a major life goal and accomplished it.  After ten years, he penned his experience in the book, The Art of Fully Living: 1 Man. 10 Years. 100 Goals.

 

It may sound like for Tal goal setting and achievement come easy.  Not so. He faced self-doubt and hurdles. After all, who would expect a smoker to do a triathlon?  Tal felt doubt about this daring goal, especially since he was a smoker.  He found ways to overcome the challenges.   And he did, indeed, do a triathlon.

 

Tal considers a goal as the container.  Your personal growth as you work towards the goal is what’s most important in setting and achieving goals.  

 

Goal Setting Strategies

Tal’s book lays out steps to setting and achieving goals.  He shares some of these with us.

  • Make the goal specific.  When the goal is clear, it is more achievable.
  • Immersion.  By immersing yourself, you learn more lessons and extract more wisdom out of the journey.  When you immerse yourself in achieving a major goal, set smaller, milestone goals.  It creates momentum for the major goal.  
  • Put happiness before goals.  Don’t expect achieving your goal will bring happiness.  Find inner happiness independent of your goals.

 

Tal discovered some truths to help in goal setting and your life journey.

  • A crisis or challenge can lead to a great calling.
  • Start from the inside out.  Don’t focus on the mechanics, the how-to.  If you have the right mind-set and source from the inside, the goal will be easier to reach.
  • Develop and use intuition.  The more you practice using intuition, the better you get.  For more on intuition, Tal recommends the book Thinking Fast Slow by Daniel Kahneman.
  • Redefine failure.  Not achieving your goal is not failure.  Failure is not trying.

Interested in tracking Tal and his adventures.  Visit his blog: Fullylived.com

Need help in setting and reaching your life goals.  Get his book, The Art of Fully Living: 1 Man. 10 Years. 100 Goals., in paperback, audio or Kindle on Amazon.

 

Five Minutes to New Ideas

What input, if reduced, would allow you to cut the price for your product or service by 25%.  To get ahead of the competition, you need to make game changing moves. A bold move like big savings could place you in the leader of the pack position.  One car manufacturer with rock bottom prices may soon take U.S. manufacturers by surprise.  Are there gaps in your product offering for a competitor to sneak a game changer into the marketplace?  Could you make a sidestep in your product development to prevent this? For insight, listen to Five Minutes to New Ideas.    

 

 

  • Find out 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: Goals_and_the_Journey_to_Fully_Living_S14_Ep17.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 4:58am PDT

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.