Archive for March, 2017

Micro Wind Turbine offers energy and a charge in remote places

March 31, 2017 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Cool Inventions and gadgets, Cool videos

Imagine being far from civilization with a fully-charged smart phone from an energy source you can carry with you!  Help may be on the way, thanks to this invention. The Micro Wind Turbine is a portable energy source for remote regions and enables people to charge USB devices from just about anywhere.

The Micro Wind Turbine was tested in the Swiss Alps. Check out this video showing the fully functional prototype:

According to inventor Nils Ferber,

The construction of the vertical axis rotor is based on the principle of tension and compression and unfolds within seconds by simply pulling the telescopic shaft apart. It can capture the wind from all directions and is directly mounted to the generator axis that is placed in the lower part of the shaft. The produced energy will either be stored in an integrated battery pack or can be used directly to charge devices on the built-in USB port.

The current design is opimized to be used for smaller USB devices and can be handled by one single person. It produces a constant output of 5 Watts at a windspeed of 18 km/h. Nevertheless, the system is easily scaleable and the size could be adapted for varying scenarios or a communal use.

Ferber says he is now looking for partners to develop the concept further and refine it towards a marketable product.

How a strong-armed robot can assist first responders

March 20, 2017 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Cool videos

In a disaster, rescue operations can take more strength than humans can muster. The Raytheon Sarcos Guardian HT – Big Arm is a dual-armed robot that can lift up to 400 pounds, as well as assemble things delicately.

In addition to industrial use, manufacturer Sarcos says it can be useful in first responder and logistics situations, for palletizing and de-palletizing, loading and unloading supplies, and even disaster recovery/humanitarian assistance like moving rocks and debris in a controlled manner.

Check out this video:

Study: Consumers not being turned on by connected home

March 15, 2017 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Consumer "Identity"

A recent study shows consumers aren’t warming up to the idea of so-called “smart homes,” where everything from their appliances to lighting to their air conditioning is voice controlled and connected.  Beyond the early adopter crowd, most consumers would prefer to keep things under control manually, according to survey of nearly 10,000 consumers in the U.S., the U.K. and Australia.

Only about 10 percent of households currently have connected home solutions. The poll took place during the second half of 2016:

The people who tend to get most excited about remote-controlling their physical environment are typically nerds. And nerds are necessarily a sub-group of consumers — albeit, the same sub-group closely involved in coming up with tech concepts to market to consumers in the first place. (Which perhaps explains some other recent tech missteps — e.g. overestimated demand for smart watches/wearables.)

“Although households in the developed world are beginning to embrace connected home solutions, providers must push beyond early adopter use,” says Amanda Sabia, principal research analyst at Gartner, commenting on the research in a statement. “If they are to successfully widen the appeal of the connected home, providers will need to identify what will really motivates current users to inspire additional purchases.”

Read the study results here.

Cheryl Perkins to speak at Texas Open Innovation Conference 2017

March 13, 2017 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Conferences, Speaking Engagements

I am pleased to announce Innovation Edge’s participation in this year’s Texas Open Innovation Conference, a two-day event that will feature innovation experts from across the country. It’s a great opportunity to be part of a forum for models of collaboration and partnerships.

The Conference will take place on March 28th and 29th in Houston, Texas. Business, government, and academia will come together to exchange knowledge and advance technology and ideas.

I’ll be kicking off Day One of the conference with my presentation on Open Innovation Strategy. I’ll be sharing with leaders my experience in working with companies who want to successfully forge those alliances that work together, side by side, to bring new ideas, products and services into the marketplace.

Specifically, I will provide participants with new knowledge, skills, and tools for open innovation, including:

  • Strategic approaches for delivering new products, partnerships, and potential solution pathways as well as defining how to minimize risk.
  • Leadership behaviors and values to help those in today’s global environment to create an organizational culture of embracing open innovation from the outside, and inspiring and motivating team members.
  • How to Prevent “Innovation Fatigue,” a strategy to give teams the tools they need to build trust in the value of open innovation while managing risks on schedules, cost, and quality of outputs to achieve balance.

I hope you can join me at the event! You can save 20% on registration by using my promo code: speaker



A Day in the Life of a Plant Manager in 2020

March 10, 2017 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Culture of Innovation

Imagine a factory of the future. A “smart factory.” 2020 is only three short years away, but already some are looking to a future that most likely will be enabled by augmented reality, predictive analytics, and perhaps things we haven’t imagined yet.

I thought this article about a day in the life of the factory of the future was a good read, so I’m sharing just a snippet of it. But you will want to read the entire article.

The digital twin has been a somewhat dramatic change for product engineering. In the past, PDFs of signed paper drawings were the master record of product design information, but the digital twin made the 3D model the master. This initially upset many product engineers, who were resistant to change and could not foresee all the downstream benefits. However, now that they have adapted to the new way of working, the morale is better than ever. The tedious and administrative work required to create, print, gain approval, scan, and archive a paper drawing is now eliminated and engineers focus their time on more critical design work. And, the greater searchability of the product lifecycle management (PLM) system makes it much faster for an engineer to access any information or model required for reference.

A Business Case for Strategic Partnerships and Alliances

March 8, 2017 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Open Innovation, Publications

I am pleased to announce my contribution to a new book titled, Orchestrating Sustainable Innovation: A Symphony in Sound Bytes. I am excited to share my learnings and strategies for Open Innovation through partnerships that many consider “out-of-the-box.”

The authors, Marilyn J. Blocker, MSM, MBA, Megan Mitchell, and Andrea Zintz, Ph.D., invited innovators to write a chapter on their success stories and business experiences, including a section titled, “Leveraging and Managing Innovation: People, Partnerships, and Processes.” That’s where my chapter, “A Business Case for Strategic Partnerships and Alliances,” resides.

Here is an excerpt:

“Nowhere is an effective partnership more evident that in the interactions of members of jazz ensembles, where players listen carefully to one another, take turns with solo performances, and support each other by building on each other’s ideas. However, times have changed. Co-creation is also evident in today’s symphony orchestras, wherein some orchestra leaders collaborate with musicians on the type of music to be played and even how it’s to be played…”

I explain in this chapter how Leaders can facilitate differentiated and meaningful innovation by forming strategic partnerships and alliances with inventors and other entrepreneurs, suppliers, vendors, academic institutions, and other organizations—including competitors. Although it isn’t always easy to find and successfully engage the right partners, they can help organizations create more innovative cultures from the “outside in.”

Open innovation takes commitment and time on your part, but the results are worth your investment. Partnering can extend reach and capability by enabling businesses to experiment with lower risk and fewer internal resources. By sharing risk, leaders can often redeploy current resources for other possible innovations.

I go into more detail about how leaders can deliver differentiated and meaningful innovation through strategic partnerships and alliances that can leverage unique capabilities and competencies.

One of the biggest questions I often hear is about how leaders can ensure that potential partners have the required competencies. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to write this chapter, as choosing the right partners is crucial to the success of open innovation. If you’re wondering what the key challenges or pitfalls you may face in forming partnerships, or how to nurture and sustain your mutually beneficial partnerships, I encourage you to get a copy of this book when it comes out.

To see who’s featured in this book, click here. Click here to learn more about some of the enablers needed to effectively orchestrate innovation.

Look for the publication date soon!

What can blockchain do for the environment?

March 7, 2017 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Blockchain

If blackchain is a word that is new to you, check out my previous reports herehere and here.

“In a nutshell, blockchains — or “mutual distributed ledgers,” as they are sometimes called — are simply self-governing, tamper-free, online databases that nobody owns, yet everybody can trust,” says Alistair Dabbs over at Ensia. He recently shared how people with interest and influence related to the environment are waking up to blockchain’s potential to boost the sustainability of industries such as forestry, energy, fisheries, organic food and mining, as well as improve carbon accounting, air pollution monitoring, material recycling and more.

You can read his article here. Check out this image he shares about how to visualize this technology:

Click to visit the full site.

Six Innovation Leadership Skills Everybody Needs To Master

March 5, 2017 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Partnerships
My friend Robert Tucker has penned a great article about how innovators can thrive in a changing world, by learning to master six critical skills. His article was first published at Forbes, and I am sharing an excerpt here with a link to the article:

You don’t need a crystal ball to see that the world of work is changing. According to an important new study from McKinsey Global Institute, almost half the jobs people currently perform have the potential to be automated by currently existing technology. It sort of makes you wonder: what kind of work will be left for humans to do?

The answer: innovation. Clearly, to thrive in this new world of work will require different skill-sets, mindsets, and tool-sets. Chief among them: the need to bring people together as a team. The need to demonstrate deeper empathy. The ability to get new things done.

Innovation in the next economy is about much more than inventing. It’s about figuring out how and where you can add unique value. It’s about how fast you can unlearn, relearn and master new skills. It’s about how you engage others at a deeper, more humanistic and passionate level.

Here are six critical leadership skills that will help you turbocharge your career in the coming days:

1. You Continuously Embrace The Opportunity Mode Of Thinking

Innovation in the new workplace is not what you do after you get your work done; it’s how you approach your work. In its simplest form, innovation is coming up with ideas and bringing them to life. To solve problems. Create opportunities. Instead of innovation being a department (new product development, research and development, IT, etc.), it is quickly becoming everybody’s business.

In Opportunity Mode you are passionately alert to possibility, to unmet needs, to the power of imagination, and to the thrill of turning vision into reality. Where others see problems, you sense potential. When others stress over details, you see the big picture, the progress being made, the vision of how things can be but are not yet. You realize that your perspective and attitude determines everything. And you know progress will happen, if only you keep the mood right and press ahead.

Action step: Exercise your imagination muscle. To shift perspective at any time during your day, invite yourself to come up with additional solutions to a challenge you currently face. Ask yourself (and your team members): what are five alternate ways to address this problem? What 10 things are working well in my life, team, job or organization right now? Learn to be aware of what mode of thinking – Defeatist, Dreamer, Sustainer or Innovator – you are in at present, and invite yourself to shift.

2. You Are Adept At Assaulting Assumptions

Assumptions are like barnacles on the side of a boat; they slow us down. In my work with hundreds of teams, ranging from C-suite executives to graduate students to mid-level managers and front line employees, I’ve developed some simple but powerful techniques to help people blast away at assumptions. This proactive bombardment of new stimuli is essential because the brain, left to its own devices, routinely takes what brain researchers call “perceptual shortcuts” to save time and energy.

Years of experience in an industry, profession or job can also be a deterrent. “It’s always been done that way” or “we already tried that” are often a sign that you and your team could use a technique to move beyond habitual thinking blocks in order to imagine alternate possibilities. Innovation begins where assumptions end. In today’s hypercompetitive world, we can either assault our assumptions, or somebody else will do it for us and reap the benefits.