Archive for March, 2011

Biomimicry looks to nature for innovation

March 30, 2011 Cheryl Perkins 1 Comment » Sustainability

Courtesy: Wikicommons

I’ve been spending a lot of time in San Diego lately, doing some teaching as well as learning! San Diego is known for many things: Beautiful weather, its biotechnology industry and of course the San Diego Zoo. As the keeper of the world’s largest collection of plants and animals, San Diego Zoo is working to develop collaborative efforts with national companies and organizations.

These days the city of San Diego is partnering with its zoo to see how they can stimulate an industry many Americans are just now hearing about: Biomimicry.

Biomimicry or biomimetics is the examination of nature, its models, systems, processes, and elements to emulate or take inspiration from in order to solve human problems. The term biomimicry is from the Greek words bios, meaning life, and mimesis, meaning to imitate. San Diego is trying to become a center for biomimicry by stimulating the industry and creating a hub for biomimicry research.

This makes an incredible amount of sense to those of us in the innovation industry. Innovative ideas have long been inspired by what we observe in nature, and I believe that what we can observe from animals in particular can give us insight into brand new inventions and technology.

The San Diego Zoo is bringing the 2011 Biomimicry Conference to its city in two weeks, and will offer the opportunity for attendees to consider how nature can play a huge part in innovation, and how biomimicry will transform many industries.

Interestingly, the two-day event is presented by mirasol®, a display innovation by Qualcomm. The local wireless giant recently commercialized a new type of display technology based the reflective properties of Morpho butterflies! The displays consume less battery power and makes it easy to see in daylight—just like the vibrant butterflies that inspired the innovation.

Check out the details of the conference here. I think biomimicry has the potential to be a key driver of innovation as well as an economic game-changer.

Customer identity and data mining: How social media can help

The evolving nature of social media means that many companies are putting an enormous amount of resources and money into staying ahead of the curve. Especially when case study after case study shows that social media is tremendously helpful in analyzing data.

Data mining via social media tools can show us not only the customer profiles and historical buying patterns of those who might buy our innovative products, but an also widen our insight into the hobbies, tastes — and I think more importantly — the needs of what customers want.

There are drawbacks and challenges to collecting data through social media, such as identifying correctly your customers among the millions of participants in any given online community. Luckily, technology is helping us in this area! Here is a great article about how to avoid some of those pitfalls.

The bottom line is that if you can get to the core of consumer needs and then develop a solution, you’ve just differentiated yourself in the marketplace. And if you can do that, you’ve won the hearts of consumers for the long haul.

Giving green energy a twirl and a promise

Photo courtesy of Yanko Design

I’ve been following green concepts over the years, and I’m always excited to see trends in energy power that will eventually make it into our hands someday. Or in this case, onto our fingers!

This innovative idea is a concept from the minds of two designers, Song Teaho and Hyejin Lee. Their new finger battery could one day be good news for those of us who are continually in need of a smart phone battery boost: A prototype mobile phone with a battery you can charge with a simple twirl of your finger.

The kinetic energy generated by the twirling motion powers the charge and would allow users to energize their cells.

It does take some coordination thought. The designers say you need to twirl for 130 rotations around your finger to generate about two minutes of talk or 25 minutes of standby power.

Perhaps there will come a day when we don’t have to expend quite that amount of effort. But it does give me hope that great minds are continually thinking of ideas for clean and green energy!

New trends in eyewear create a spectacle in NY

March 16, 2011 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Innovation, Innovation In The News, Trends

Courtesy: Vision Expo 2011

The International Vision Expo kicked off today in New York City, focusing on the most innovative eyewear technology of this year.

I’m among the nearly 150 million adults who wear glasses, and 50 million Americans carry multiple pairs – perhaps for reading, working, driving, or just watching TV. But soon you’ll need just one pair.Today attendees at the exhibit got an up-close look at a new all-in-one technology known as the “Superfocus” glasses, that can change the strength of their liquid lenses, enabling you to see different distances by moving a tiny, adjustable lever. The Superfocus allows you to customize your prescription for whatever you’re looking at. You can change the prescription at the push of a slider.

Another new development is in the weight of the glasses. PURE glasses by Legacie promise to be strong yet very light so that you hardly know they’re there. The innovation comes from a new alloy, Xandium, treaded through the glasses as a frame. The flexible frame has memory so it pops back into place if you bend them. The cost will be about $275.

Another trend we’re seeing is that people are hoping to be eco-friendly with their eyewear. You can donate used glasses to those in need when you update your style, or, you can purchase vintage specs. MODO Eco Glasses debuts an Eco line of glasses that are made out of recycled materials. MODO ships its glasses in sturdy, corrugated cardboard, and you can still mail your old pair in to get recycled into a new pair of glasses. For every pair of glasses they sell, they’re going to plant a tree. Prices range from $150 to $250 dollars.

There are more interesting glasses to see! Check out the big spectacle here.


F&B 2011: The Sustainable Innovation Summit – Chicago, IL

March 9, 2011 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Event Info

Sponsored jointly by Innovationedge and The Management Roundtable, the Sustainable Innovation Summit was developed to address the unique issues facing the food & beverage industry. The excusive event will serve as an executive forum to challenge current thinking and approaches, set the stage for new trends in sustainable innovation and create a senior level networking community for ongoing support and dialogue.

Join the Innovationedge team in partnership with The Management Roundtable in Chicago, IL from August 9-10 for the “Fostering and Leading a Culture of Innovation in the Food & Beverage Industry”.

Who Should Attend: Chief’s, VP’s, Directors, Heads, Senior Directors and Managers of Innovation, R&D, Product Development, Open Innovation, Customer Management, and Manufacturing

Why Attend?: The food and beverage industry is changing rapidly. The pressure to innovate and grow is as strong as ever, but competition is stronger than ever. Consumers are more demanding than ever, and regulatory pressures continue to increase on everything from food safety, packaging, sustainability, to long-term nutrition. The challenge for companies in the Food and Beverage is to innovate and grow in the face of ever increasing constraints.


Super Computer could save billions on fuel-saving truck

March 2, 2011 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Innovation, Innovators, Open Innovation

Imagine if every one of the nation’s 1.3 million semi trucks in the U.S. could each save $5 billion in diesel fuel at the pump and cut CO2 emissions by 16 million tons. It’s an idea that’s catching on, thanks to a computer that is 100,000 times more powerful that your laptop.

The Department of Energy is using a unique open innovation model to potentially save billions of gallons of fuel on the highway. The DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory is working with BMI Corporation to use the department’s Jaguar supercomputer–known as the fastest supercomputer in the United States–to develop a technology that will revolutionize the fuel usage for semi trucks.

This supercomputer is more than 100,000 times more powerful than your laptop. The new design features a SmartTruck UnderTray System to improve the aerodynamics of 18-wheeler trucks.

FastCompany explains how the DOE was able to go from concept to manufacture-ready design in 18 months, a process that would normally take at least three years.  Check out the article here.