Archive for July, 2012

Co-Dev Oct Leader Forum – October 9-10, Summit Executive Centre, Chicago, IL

July 30, 2012 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Conferences, Events

Building the Innovation System of the 21st Century!

Open innovation is not just about looking outside your organization for ideas and solutions anymore. It is not about the latest crowdsourcing tools and techniques. Open innovation offers a new way of doing business that can help companies grow, but it also challenges many of the core tenets of the organization.

Unfortunately, open innovation is a sticky problem that is not easily solved and all organizations are facing a choice:

  • Embrace open innovation and make it core to your operations
  • Selectively look outside the organization only when absolutely necessary
  • Ignore open innovation altogether and continue with business as usual

The Open Innovation Leaders Forum is designed for leaders from organizations that have chosen to embrace open innovation as the core to their innovation strategy. This forum is designed specifically for leaders to tackle the tough issues of building an open organization.

You will hear from leaders and visionaries on how to:

  • Tailor your open approaches to move beyond just R&D into other functions such as marketing, supply chain and HR
  • Evolve company culture to support and drive innovation initiatives
  • Expand your innovation processes across multiple functions and levels
  • Accelerate innovation by partnering with key customers, partners, end-consumers and suppliers
  • Recruit, incentivize and retain the right top talent to roll out and execute your new innovation initiatives

Register here:

Co-Dev Asia – Shanghai, China

July 30, 2012 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Conferences, Event Info, Events

Information coming soon!

Leveraging Insight-Driven Strategies to Optimize Business Performance

July 30, 2012 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Uncategorized

Over the past 13 years, the annual Consumer Goods Business & Technology Leadership Conference has built a solid reputation as the premier CG industry event based on its history of quality content and attendees. This 14th annual Conference will be no exception. Designed for senior executives in business and IT roles, the event provides a leadership forum for networking with peers, sharing ideas and experiences and analyzing industry trends.

• Topics cover a broad range of critical business functions, including supply chain, sales and marketing, analytics, and retailer collaboration.

• This is an intimate conference, not a hectic convention. You will be able to talk to speakers before and after sessions, as well as during networking breaks and meals. You will have the opportunity to meet and engage with virtually any attendee, exchanging ideas and forming lasting business relationships.

• You’ll hear from the CG industry’s best thinkers and be among the first to hear analysis and takeaways from two annual benchmark studies: the CGT Tech Trends Report, which provides original, up-to-the-moment research on emerging and long-standing technology trends; and the Shared Strategy Report, which outlines the efficiencies, improvements and roadblocks across the retail and consumer goods collaborative business and IT environments.

Who Should Attend?
Senior-level CG executives in business and IT roles who understand the need to continually evolve their businesses, including CIOs and SVP/VP or Senior Executives of Business functions including:
• Marketing
• Supply Chain
• Data Management
• Innovation
• Finance
• Operations
• Analytics
• Mobility
• IT e-Commerce
• Business Intelligence/Analytics
• Category Management
• Transportation & Logistics
• TPM/Optimization

October 21 – 24, 2012  |  Ritz Carlton Orlando – Grande Lakes  |  Orlando, FL

Innovation in architecture

July 24, 2012 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Innovation

Radisson Blu Aqua HotelThe Chicago skyline is ever changing, and since November has added a dazzling new addition to the gorgeous architecture. This is an amazing building. The new four-star Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel in downtown Chicago is 81 stories high, and looks very unconventional.

One of the more unique design innovations is the balcony. No matter which balcony you stand on, you’ll get a 180-degree view of the Windy City. I’ve not been inside yet, but after seeing these photographs I want to check it out.

This curving building is the Radisson Blu’s first in North America. It contains 334 hotel rooms all within the first 18 floors, with the rest of the levels used for residents to live in and work from. If you wanted to stay for a night, it will cost you about $200, which isn’t too steep considering what other Chicago hotels charge.

Amenities include an 8,000 square foot gym and basketball court, an outdoor fire pit, running track and a pool with cabanas.

The hotel has a gym that spans 8,000 square feet and even has a basketball court. Outside, there is 80,000-square-feet of space with a fire pit, running track and a pool with cabanas.


Capturing Fingerprints From 20 Feet Away

July 20, 2012 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Biotechnology

English: Picture of a whorl fingerprint patternWithout you ever knowing it, authorities could scan and read your fingerprints from 20 feet away!

Thanks to biometric technology, you could soon gain entrance to your workplace, hotel room or the gym by simply waving your hand toward a nearby scanner at the front door.

IDair, a Hunsville, Alabama-based company, will soon launch a system that cans cana fingerprint from nearly 20 feet away.

Company president and innovator Joel Burcham says it works by photographically capturing a fingerprint in enough detail to match against a database. He says this technology can be enhanced by adding facial and iris-recognition technology.

IDair works with the military, but this new technology could open up doors for the company to work commercially for clients who want extra security.

Drone development is a natural evolution

July 18, 2012 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Biotechnology

The Nano Hummingbird surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft developed by AeroVironment, Inc.

Drones are making a lot of news these days. Not only are they being used as offensive weapons to target insurgents and terrorists, but are also playing a role intelligence and surveillance, whether that be for wartime purposes, criminal information, border monitoring, or even controversial civilian surveillance.

Some of the most interesting developments in drone technology are taking place on a much smaller scale. Tiny remote-controlled vehicles that are inspired by the physics of flying insects and birds are under development.

The race is on to make robotic vehicles that are both agile and diminutive. Darpa has been working on the concept for years. They recently demonstrated flight with their “Nano Hummingbird” vehicle that weighs less than an ounce and uses flapping wings for flight and control.

France has also developed flapping wing miniature drones. The British firm BCB International has demonstrated a functional surveillance drone that holds two video cameras, can hover quietly or perch on ledges, returns home when its battery is low, and weighs only about three ounces.

As you can imagine, such micro air vehicles, or MAVs, will be extremely valuable as they become a practical reality. They are ideal vehicles to surreptitiously scout enemy territory, criminal hideouts, or effectively search among rubble for victims of natural disasters.

They are also filling a functional gap — aircraft can’t hover, and helicopters, relative to their size, can’t go fast. Moreover, neither one is small.

Size yields advantages in not only in detectability, but in recognition as man made even if seen. Imagine a tiny military vehicle the size of a fly that can fly inside a cave and gather real-time intelligence on what is transpiring there.

The inspiration for these next generation of drone vehicles comes from nature. One area that I am becoming increasingly involved with for insights into product development and innovation is biomimicry — looking to nature for solutions. Here with these new super miniature MAVs, the effort is being dubbed nano-biomimicry.

Using nano-biomimicry, work is under way to develop drones with birdlike and insect-like wings for flight, bug-like eyes for visual surveillance, batlike ears for navigation, and even bee-like hairs or filaments for detection of chemical or biological threats.

Humans have been flying for about a hundred years, so no doubt we can learn a lot from the 400 or so million years of the evolution of flying birds and insects. The problem of flight has been solved ingeniously by nature. Insects are able to take off almost immediately at flight speed, can hover, and have an incredible ability to quickly land with precision and blend into the surroundings.

Beyond the development of engineered miniature vehicles, there is even talk of hijacking real insects, tapping into their nerves with electrodes and “remote controlling” their movement. It sounds like science fiction for sure, but the possibility is real. Scientists have already developed such systems for rats and sharks.

With ongoing military engagements, recent concerns over border protection, and increased funding for Homeland Security-related efforts, the demand for miniature drones and vehicles, in many forms, is only going to grow.

In the research and development world of drones, much like high-tech electronics, smaller most definitely has its advantages.

A new generation of Big Brother surveillance cameras

July 16, 2012 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Innovation Sites

CCTV camerasI’ve long said that there is no such thing as privacy. The more technologically advanced we become, the more we are watched. Some people think this is a good thing to combat the increasing threat of terrorism around the world.

But what if you could catch and avert a crime before it was carried out? One company, BRS Labs, has developed the “pre-crime” software and surveillance camera that can tell authorities if someone is a terrorist or a criminal before they even commit a crime.

The Texas-based company recently launched its AISight software which tells cameras what “normal” behavior is, so that the camera can detect suspicious behavior. It is being used in government buildings, train stations, tourist attractions, military bases, airports and other places that could be targets.

Once suspicious behavior is detected, a human security officer gets a text or other message alert.

The cameras are already being used in 12 San Francisco train stations, each with up to 22 cameras trained on the public at all times. The cameras can track up to 150 humans at once and can build up a “memory” of any suspicious behaviors detected.

Paradise finding ways to be more green

July 9, 2012 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Green Innovation
English: Date palm tree বাংলা: খেজুর গাছ

I recently spent some time on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. It is a beautiful island of diverse landscapes, very friendly people, and laid-back attitudes.

However, when it comes to energy and efficiency innovation, Hawaii is moving rather quickly to create and commercialize clean energy sources. The island already leverages high levels of solar and wind energy in addition to being an early proving ground for innovative grid technologies.

“Our island environment is not only the basis for our quality of life, it is also the lifeblood of our economy.” Says Gov. Neil Abercrombie. “We look at environmental issues with future generations in mind, and as we explore Hawaii’s boundless, clean energy potential, we trust they will benefit from our stewardship.”

Many here in the public and private sector are focused on innovating and deploying clean technology to reduce greenhouse emissions, diversify income streams away from agriculture, and create jobs opportunities. The ability to export technologies and import substitutions is considered key in search to provide energy security in Hawaii.

I was impressed with the diversity of the energy initiatives on the islands, from energy storage, demand response technologies, to advanced materials and increased efficiency next-generation biofuels.

On the islands, energy use is highly variable in non-metered homes, where is not monitored. A local company called Concentris Systems is demonstrating a smart metering technology for the military housing community where energy use is tracked and controlled remotely through the web and through mobile devices. Using networked devices that resemble traditional wall sockets or power strips, the goal is to provide a “Smart Grid” that will react to changes in power demand and route power as needed without the need for new metering, special appliances, or costly rewiring.

Another interesting example of local energy innovation is the work of an organization called Better Place. Better place is a provider of electric car networks that are focused on making electric cars more convenient. Better Place is working with hotels and businesses throughout the islands to install an infrastructure for what will be the largest electric vehicle-charging network in Hawaii.

Using this network, drivers will be allowed to charge their cars free at more than 130 charge points throughout the islands. Once complete, Hawaii have more public charge points per capita than any other state.

Beyond charging stations, Better Place is leading the way to have battery “switch stations.” Battery switch stations provide a novel innovative model for electric cars where the ownership of the car is separated from the ownership of the battery. When the battery funs low, just pull in to a switch station, replace the depleted battery with a fully charged one and immediately be on your way. Denmark, Israel and Australia are to be among the first with Better Place switch stations this year.

These are just some examples where collaboration and risk taking are accelerating the deployment of new technologies on the island.

“Hawaiian time” is often spoken of jokingly as casual and carefree. In Hawaii, energy innovation certainly isn’t being done on Hawaiian time.

Raise your glass to innovation

July 3, 2012 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Culture of Innovation
English: Wine grapes. Español: Uvas de vino ro...

Last week I was in the San Francisco area on business and over the weekend took the opportunity to visit Napa Valley wine country. Even here, where centuries of tradition and art are still applied to the production of wine, technology and science are also at work. I suppose that isn’t too surprising, as it is only about an hour’s drive to high-tech Silicon Valley.

From using hand held light analyzers to determine when a grape is perfectly ripe to planning vineyard irrigation for optimal stress of the vines, a good wine today is made not only from good grapes, but from good information – and lots of it.

The quality improvement pioneer William Edwards Deming reportedly once said “In God we trust; all others must bring us data”. A few miles north of Napa County, Kaj Ahlmann is taking that advice to heart at his Six Sigma Ranch vineyard and winery.

Coming from a background of mathematics and statistics while working in the insurance business, Ahlmann is looking to apply the principles of the mathematical approach known as Six Sigma to the art of grape growing and the process of winemaking. During his career in the corporate world, he saw firsthand the benefits of using Six Sigma methodologies and realized that it could also be applied to something a little more exciting than insurance – winemaking.

Six Sigma is an internationally recognized methodology created by engineers to manage the quality process in a variety of industries. Manufacturing, engineering and healthcare have all utilized Six Sigma approaches to deliver high quality products and better serve their customers.

Underlying the technique is a gathering of immense amounts of data related to a process and a rigorous analysis of the data to guide decision making.

At Six Sigma Winery, analytical methods are applied all across the winemaking process – from soil to sipping. Whether choosing the vineyard sites, selecting the vines to be grown, irrigating, pruning, harvesting, grape sorting, fermenting, aging, or bottling, data acquisition and analysis are a part of everyday life at Six Sigma Ranch.

Data is even analyzed for relationships between critic ratings and price, and correlations between rating and wine chemistry. Analytical chemistry is used to look at the amount of chemicals like tannin and anthocyanin and how those vary within different types of wine, whether it be Pinot Noir or Cabernet Sauvignon

While all this may sound sterile, the results are demonstrating success. The effort is making for a more consistent, high quality product. Several of Six Sigma’s red wines have been awarded “Best in Class” awards over the last few years.

And for those worried about scientific approaches replacing the creativity and art of winemaking, that is still a long way off. Today’s winemakers see modern methods as tools that are merely helping them come closer to their visions for each of their wines.

It’s an innovation we can all raise a glass to.

Ford’s new Keyless Entry logs you in and out of social media

July 2, 2012 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Cool Inventions and gadgets

Imagine what would happen if your mere presence near your computer automatically triggered logging in to your Google, Facebook and Twitter accounts? Check out this new app that works with your mobile phone to fire up your computer’s social accounts whenever you are near. While the app is for desktop or laptop use, it was developed by an unlikely source: the Ford Motor Company!

It’s called Ford KeyFree, and it was developed as a Chrome extension. While you are near your computer, you stay logged in. The minute you and your phone walk away, all of your social accounts log out automatically.

The extension will be available soon.

What do you think of the new “keyless entry” technology?