Archive for January, 2016

10 indulgent US food and beverage trends for 2016

January 28, 2016 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Blogroll, Food & Restaurant trends

One of the areas our IE team watches is the Food and Beverage industry. The trends we’re seeing for the coming year continue to focus on health, but with a decadent spin.

FoodBevMedia has posted these trends that you may want to watch – and sample:

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10 indulgent US food and beverage trends for 2016

#1Avocado for days

The “good” fat in your guacamole and on your toasts will soon become your favorite cooking oil and ice cream flavor!



Another way avocado gets into our system. With New Year’s detox and other cleanses, the juice trend is still going strong – and is the reason why Americans have been eating more fruits and vegetables lately. The great thing about juices is how creative you can get.


Sugar alternatives

Demonizing sugar wasn’t a bad thing, given its “hidden” kinds, in condiments for instance, have led to dramatic increases in obesity, heart disease and cancer over the “fat-free” craze. As we get rid of sugar, sweeteners and artificial ingredients, people will go for naturally sweet foods like honey or peaches as well as sugar-free ingredients like Dijon mustard.

#4Enhanced water

Watch out, sodas! Energy, coco, cucumber or fruit-flavoured, water is making a strong comeback and is the next big market for Pepsi and Coca-Cola.

Organic, low-cal wine 

You heard me. The wine trend keeps on growing, with organic, low-calorie and low alcohol wines available nationwide. Best thing about it? Lots of them are coming from top regions (France, Italy, Spain and New Zealand) at affordable prices.

Read the next 5 here.

Five Strategies for Spotting Trends First

January 25, 2016 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Blogroll

Screen Shot 2016-01-22 at 1.04.17 PMDo you watch trends, or do you delegate that to someone else?  My friend Robert Tucker is encouraging managers to redouble their trend-watching capabilities in response to an ever-increasing degree of technological, social and economic change:

Here’s the good news: with a bit of focused attention, you can build skills in this area such that they become a strength rather than a vulnerability. Not only will it lead to better responsive moves, but at times, your improved capability will enable and empower you to pounce on emerging opportunities. Here are five strategies to guide you in this important arena:

  1. Audit your information diet. Start by doing a simple assessment of the various information sources – periodicals, books, reports, newspapers, email newsletters, etc. that you’re accessing. Think of this as your “information diet.” Just as when we diet, we carefully monitor our caloric intake, become more aware of your “information intake.” For the next week, monitor how much time are you spending on trivial items like Donald Trump’s latest outburst, versus how much you’re taking in that’s substantive, deeply researched and well written. Ask other leaders in your network what they’re reading, and share articles of interest. Suggestion: Make it a point to subscribe to publications rather than only grazing the web. Let them build up– the important analysis and survey results that keep you abreast.

  2. Develop new antenna. It’s been said that “leaders are readers” and I’m continually amazed at how well informed the innovative leaders I meet each year are on a broad range of topics. I first noticed this trait when interviewing 50 leading innovators back in the mid-80s. I’d go out to interview them and they’d start interviewing me! They are, as I noted in Winning the Innovation Game, like vacuum cleaners sucking in the latest trends. They avail themselves to opposing points of view and alternate perspectives. They ingest a wide-ranging number of surveys and reports. But they also get out there to see for themselves, to experience, to press the flesh. They travel extensively and actively question customers, suppliers, industry luminaries, and experts. They are alert to change at all times and notice small details that might easily be overlooked. Suggestion: Do more aggressive “front line observational” research, and ask questions wherever you go.

  3. Use social media as an early warning system. The field of prediction is ripe for reinvention, and that’s exactly what’s going on these days behind the scenes. According to the Wall Street Journal, predicting the future is about to become “embarrassingly easy,” as prediction algorithms– the fruits of the big data revolution– become so widespread that conventional forecasting methods come off as oh so 20th century. Dataminr is a six year old startup that applies advanced analytics to the entire Twitter “fire hose” to detect events likely to move the market. Already, 75 financial clients, including big investment banks and hedge funds, are subscribers. More and more companies are paying attention to Twitter, and to potential wisdom of the crowd forecasting techniques that are possible from this data set. “It’s pretty hard to come up with industries that would be happy knowing later, less and not everything,” said Ted Bailey, Dataminr’s CEO. According to Fortune, Dataminr revealed preliminary reports of Volkswagen’s emissions scandal three days before its stock price plummeted 30 percent. The Twitterverse erupted 45 minutes before the Associated Press tweeted about the Paris attacks. Question: how can you and your organization tap social media as an adjunct to your early warning system?

  4. Recalibrate your forecasting skills. University of Pennsylvania professor Philip Tetlock wants to know what makes some people better than others at seeing into the future. With funding from DARPA, Tetlock and his team have been hosting forecasting tournaments in order to identify what separates good forecasters from the rest. In these competitions, thousands of everyman prognosticators volunteer to answer roughly 500 questions on various national security topics, from the probably movement of Syrian refugees to the near term stability or instability of the Eurozone. In his book Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction, co-authored by Peter Scoblic, Tetlock reports that the tournaments identified a small group of people who generated forecasts that, when averaged, beat the crowd by well over 50 percent in each of the tournament’s four years. How did they do it and whence are their powers? Turns out these adept forecasters buried among us are: philosophically cautious and humble, comfortable with numbers but not always math whizzes; pragmatic and capable of considering diverse points of view, and open minded. They are intellectually curious and enjoy puzzles and mental challenges. Key takeaways: if people feel they will be held accountable for their views they tend to avoid cognitive pitfalls such as overconfidence and a common failure to update beliefs in response to new evidence. Lesson: with effort, we can all improve our forecasting abilities. Tetlock’s research suggests basing forecasts on facts and logic, and being alert to personal bias and guessing. His research stresses the need to think in terms of probabilities and recognize that everything is uncertain except history.

  5. Take action on trends. Although Blackberry’s co-CEOs watched Apple announce the iPhone in 2007, they dismissed it as a niche product. They didn’t consider it again for another six months, losing valuable time. Even a cursory look at disrupted companies shows that their leaders were vaguely aware of the threat to their business model. They waited too long, then  mounted halfhearted responses to the threat. It’s natural human tendency to want to delay action till others have gone ahead and paved the way. But the advantage that comes to those that spot trends early is that we take early action. We alter our processes, we change our business model. We diversify. We enter new markets, whether adjacent or in new territories.

Read Robert’s blogs here.

3-D printing constructs actual homes

January 24, 2016 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Innovation In The News

Would you live in a home made completely out of paper? It’s not flimsy by any means, when you consider the technology of 3-D printing that can make the architecture sturdy and even beautiful.

Machine Design reports that several companies are building livable homes like these from the inside out using 3-D printing:

Courtesy of

The idea of a 3D-printed house began with a simple concept, using a programmable Cartesian coordinate system to extrude cement into layers creating a small, single-story living space. In another approach, some designers made 3D-printed parts that could then be assembled into a building. This technique can be done on-site and can offer supply-chain benefits, as well as solve some problems when printing cement, such as trying to print a second floor, overhangs, or balconies.

WinSun is one of the companies producing the modular cement designs and in the last year used 3D-printing techniques to print a five-story building, mansions, and other houses in China. While some companies are working on designs to print on-site, others will print parts and then transport them. Transporting prints can have some of the same problems a traditional supply chain must deal with, including the possibility of parts and trusses breaking. However, WinSun says by using this technique it improved process efficiency by 10 times, shortened production time up to 70%, and decreased labor cost by up to 80%.

An Italian company named World’s Advanced Saving Project (WASP) is working on a more mobile design. Allowing on-site printing could generate an entire building rather than the modular design. This approach limits the building’s size, but other techniques could increase the build space. Engineers have presented ideas of tracks or wheels to move the whole printer to construct larger buildings.

Read the article here

CreoPop 3D Pen uses cool nanotechnology

January 22, 2016 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Cool Inventions and gadgets, Cool videos

Screen Shot 2016-01-22 at 12.28.02 PMHere’s an exciting invention that uses nanotechnology and 3D printing – as a pen. It’s called CreoPop, and it’s not like most 3D pens I’ve seen.   With CreoPop’s 3D printing pen in hand, you can create multi-dimensional pictures and structures freehand, in real time.

CreoPop uses nanotechnology to provide an exciting range of inks including glittering inks, glow-in-the-dark inks, temperature-sensitive inks, aromatic inks and more.

Co- Founder Andreas Birnik says 3D pens mostly work by melting plastic for the ink, which can make both the pen and ink dangerously hot. But CreoPop uses cool ink and is safe for children to use. The light-sensitive ink is hardened by an adjustable UV light which cures the ink and allows building dimensionally, unlike other 3D pens that melt filaments of plastic to dangerously high temperatures in order to extrude molten plastic.

The cordless design charges via USB. That leaves you free to draw without a cord getting in the way. And CreoPop offers a variety of fun inks that can give your creations extra special effects:

The product’s makers used crowdsourcing to get started, and will target four markets:  3D printing enthusiasts, arts and crafts, the toy market, and the education market with art classes.


From beverage to bench: An innovative approach!

January 16, 2016 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Green Innovation, Guest Bloggers

Consumers of fast food meals are used to the drill: You eat, you throw your garbage away and you leave.  But what about all those styrofoam cups? You can’t recycle expanded polystyrene, and it does not decompose in landfills. Good news:  Chick-fil-A restaurant has found a way to answer that dilemma with an innovative solution. Click here to see it:

The restaurant has been doing this since 2012, when it first decided to do something about waste in the landfills. Here’s what the company says about its dedication to green innovation:

From the beginning it’s been a love-hate relationship. Customers love the foam cup’s ability to keep drinks cold without getting soggy (we get lots of messages about cups), but hate the environmental impact of throwing them away.

So in 2012, Chick-fil-A became the first fast food company to take on polystyrene. Agile entrepreneurs helped us find our way in creating the voluntary foam recycling program many restaurants use today. Foam cups collected from the restaurants that opt in for the program are used to make benches and writing pens.

The process is complex. The journey requires three facilities located across the country. So go ahead, toss your cup – lid, straw, liquid and all – into a foam cup recycling bin, and pull up a seat to see the fascinating process that gives foam cups a second life.  Via Inside Chich-fil-A)

For your tablet: TORCHGRIP’s Innovative universal grip-stand

January 15, 2016 Pat Clusman No Comments » Cool Inventions and gadgets

Screen Shot 2016-01-15 at 9.58.00 AMEvery once in a while, a product comes along that makes you say, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Innovationedge is working with a local Appleton start up, TecDriven, LLC that is marketing one of those products. TecDriven has launched their first product called TORCHGRIP Classic. TORCHGRIP is a removable, multi-function tablet accessory for devices like the Apple iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab and the Microsoft Surface. With the TORCHGRIP accessory attached, you can hold and maneuver your tablet comfortably and securely with one hand. TORCHGRIP’s unique design allows you to rotate the tablet into portrait or landscape orientations for optimal viewing. Holding your tablet with a TORCHGRIP attached is ideal for those that need to access or show content on their tablet while on the go (i.e., Sales Professionals, Teachers, Waiters, etc.)

TORCHGRIP also works as a versatile tablet stand, giving you more ways to use your tablet on a variety of surfaces. Unlike many tablets with cases propped on a surface, TORCHGRIP allows you to rotate the tablet into portrait or landscape orientations for optimal viewing. This comes in very handy when using the tablet to view photos or videos, or as a reader, recipe book or looping presentation device.

This is an ideal accessory for households with youngsters that use tablets. The TORCHGRIP gives small hands a firmer hold on the tablet when transporting it and as a tablet stand it allows them to view and interact with the tablet on a variety of surfaces like a table or counter top, on the bed or on the floor.

Screen Shot 2016-01-15 at 9.57.35 AMThe TORCHGRIP kit comes with everything you need to get started, a base ring with pre-attached 3M VHB adhesive ring and one removable grip. The TORCHGRIP Classic offering is a black on black or a white on white grip. I opted for the white on white grip to complement my Samsung Tablet. TecDriven also currently sells a TORCHGRIP Classic grip only product, in white on black.

While the base ring is permanently attached to the tablet, shell, or case, the accessory is designed to be compact with an easily removable grip. In fact, TecDriven is planning to release a variety of interchangeable grips designed to suit your personal preferences. TecDriven also sells an adhesive transfer kit (adhesive ring, plastic blade and instructions) to move your grip to a new device. The unique thing about TecDriven is they are leveraging an ecosystem of local partners in Wisconsin and beyond to bring this accessory to market. The product is proudly made in the USA.

After working with the team at TecDriven for the past year and using TORCHGRIP for about a month, I would say it single-handedly changes the nature of the tablet. I hold and use the tablet for an extended period of time without fatigue. I have more confidence transporting my tablet around with one hand, and collaborating while using the tablet with co-workers and family members is much easier. TORCHGRIP may not be the perfect accessory for everyone, but it sure is a great tablet accessory for this mobile user.

Find out more at

Pat Clusman is the Chief Operating Officer at Innovationedge. Follow Pat on Twitter @pclusman. Disclosure: TecDriven, LLC is a client of Innovationedge.

What are the edgiest innovation ideas of 2016?

January 6, 2016 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Uncategorized

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Is it 3-D printing? Nanotechnology? Green innovation?  The technology gurus over at have put out their Top 10 edgiest innovations for 2016. You may be surprised by some of the answers given by the 197 scientists polled in this survey. Which ones stay with you? Which ones can you harness for your own innovation endeavors? Says the Washington Post:

This year’s two-part question was: “What do you consider the most interesting recent [scientific] news? What makes it important?”

Not surprisingly, this year’s set of 197 responses converged around a few key themes – the human brain, the human genome, space exploration and artificial intelligence. Based on these responses, here are 10 of the edgiest innovation buzzwords that have the greatest potential to change the trajectory of innovation in 2016.

1. The wisdom race

Given all the apocalyptic scenarios we’ve been hearing about artificial intelligence over the past year, it’s not surprising that there’s been a lot of thinking about how to prevent one of those scenarios from actually occurring. Max Tegmark — the MIT physicist and cosmologist who has used mathematics to explore whether humanity might be living inside the equivalent of a Matrix-style computer simulation — calls this the “wisdom race.” What he has in mind here is a counterpart to the AI arms race, a “race between the growing power of technology and the growing wisdom with which we manage it.”

With the introduction of most new technologies, humans are reactive rather than proactive, says Tegmark. Think of how the invention of fire led to fire alarms and fire extinguishers, or the invention of the automobile led to seat belts and air bags. What’s needed with AI is a more proactive approach so that we aren’t forced to learn from our mistakes later. “Either win the wisdom race and enable life to flourish for billions of years,” says Tegmark, “Or lose the race and go extinct.”

2. Reusable rockets

At the end of 2015, both SpaceX and Blue Origin demonstrated the ability to return rockets safely to earth after use. That could be big for the future of space exploration, opening up a New Space Age fueled by cheaper costs and reusable rockets. As science historian George Dyson points out, “The launch business has been crippled, so far, by a vicious circle that has limited the market to expensive payloads — astronauts, military satellites, communication satellites, and deep space probes—consigned by customers who can afford to throw the launch vehicle away after a single use.”

3. Blockchain technology

If you thought blockchain technology was only for cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, you’d be wrong. As Melanie Swan of the New School for Social Research suggests, we’re on the cusp of a new “Crypto Enlightenment” driven by blockchain technology. It’s an entirely new paradigm driven by value rather than information: “Blockchain technology (the secure distributed ledger software that underlies cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin) connotes the Internet II: the transfer of value, as a clear successor position to the Internet I: the transfer of information.”

The implementation of blockchain technology across financial assets such as currencies or mortgages is just the beginning, says Swan, “This means that all human interaction regarding the transfer of value, including money, property, assets, obligations, and contracts could be instantiated in blockchains for quicker, easier, less costly, less risky, and more auditable execution.” Blockchain technology, says Swan, could even lead to new models for governance, given its focus on distributed consensus. In fact, investor Marc Andreessen thinks the blockchain could be the biggest invention since the Internet itself.

4. Optogenetics

Optogenetics is a relatively new field of biotechnology that gives researchers the ability to transform brain activity into light and light into brain activity. Optogenetics made headlines at the end of 2015, when Karl Deisseroth and Edward Boyden won a $3 million Breakthrough Prize in the life sciences for their pioneering work in the field.

Using optogenetics, suggests Christian Keysers, a Dutch neuroscientist, it could be possible to use light to trigger feelings or emotions, to change what’s happening inside the brain, to treat depression, or perhaps even to wipe out or implant memories in others (along the lines of Total Recall). The potential for optogenetics is just now being understood: “Being able to record and manipulate brain activity will change who we are. It will serve as an interface through which computers can become part of our brain, and through which our brains could directly interface with each other.”

Neuroprediction, which is the use of human brain imaging data to predict how a person will feel or behave in the future, almost sounds like something straight out of Minority Report. Thought crimes, anybody? If you accept the fact that human thoughts and choices are based on underlying biological processes, though, it might be possible to predict future behaviors by being able to measure and monitor those processes. In some cases, says Abigail Marsh, an associate professor at Georgetown University, neuroprediction could be used in the criminal justice system to handle problems of sentencing and probation.

Read the next 5 at The Washington Post.

A step closer to artificial cell division – by blowing bubbles

January 5, 2016 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Uncategorized

By blowing extremely small bubbles, researchers from the Kavli Institute of Nanoscience at Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) have found an efficient way of producing so-called liposomes – microscopic bubble-like structures often used to deliver medicine, but also a key to generating artificial cells.