Archive for April, 2017

7 Techniques For Getting Creatively Unstuck

April 30, 2017 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Blogroll

My friend Robert Tucker over at Innovation Resource has some great tips for getting “unstuck.”  I’ll share a few of them here, and then link to his excellent article.

If you solve problems for a living, you’ve probably had it happen. Just when you least expect it — and just when you need to be brilliant — you’re suddenly blocked. You pour on the coffee and tell yourself you’ll power it out. But all you produce is the jitters. You try burning the midnight oil, and all you do is exhaust yourself. Face it: your “idea factory” has decided to shut down. You’re stuck.

The condition can be so jarring that authors have a name for it: writers block. For them, it’s the inability to produce satisfactory new work. In some cases, it can last for years, as it did for such luminaries as Stephen King, Harper Lee, and Truman Capote. For the rest of us, it’s usually a temporary condition, but no less frustrating if you’re coming up on an important deadline and your well is suddenly, inexplicably dry.

Getting stuck doesn’t have to become a personal crisis. Not if you have a few tools in your toolkit for just such times. Here are seven surefire ways to avoid the time- wasting, agonizing period of non-productivity known as being stuck — and get quickly back on track:

1. Recognize that you’re stuck. But don’t panic.
“Getting stuck is all part of the process,” the senior engineer at a defense contractor remarked recently. “It doesn’t scare me like it did when I was younger.” Don’t let it scare you either, but learn to recognize the symptoms. If you find yourself aimlessly surfing the Internet and avoiding the project you’re on, this could be a sign. If you draw a mind-map but can only come up with several options, this could be a heads up that you’re stuck.

2. Consciously shift your environment.
Start shifting your environment, your perspective, and your approach to the problem you’re working on till you get back into a flow state. How? Start by changing where you’re working on the problem. Change your physical environment. Go work in the conference room.

3. Consciously shift your approach.
Tried and true problem-solving steps can sometimes be ignored as we try to cut corners and produce brilliant work on the fly. If you’re feeling stuck, revisit these steps: identifying the problem, setting goals, brainstorming possibilities, and assessing alternatives. Solutions to the bigger problems and projects often come, not when we command them to appear, but because we’ve incubated ideas for a period of time.

4. Shift your perspective.
“If stuck, I try to bounce the problem off others, thinking out loud,” observed one manager. “This always worked for me when I used to do software development.” Assumption assaulting is necessary because the human brain is designed for efficiency. It takes what neuroscientists call “perceptual shortcuts” to save energy.

Read the rest here.

Self-repairing fabric has innovative implications

April 27, 2017 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Cool Inventions and gadgets, Cool videos

I just saw this new Nano Cure Tech clothing line, and it’s pretty interesting. The Imperial Motion company is hoping to disrupt the textile industry with a jacket that actually repairs itself.  The wearer simply rubs the fabric together for a few seconds, and the hole completely disappears. You can read more about it over at Business Insider. Check out this video:

Future of farming in India depends on innovation, knowledge sharing

April 26, 2017 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Emerging markets

I came across a great article from The Times of India, that I thought I’d pass along about the inspiration behind innovative farming.  The author describes how the white fly disease affected cotton and forced him to take up research work. From there he developed a network of thought leaders who are changing the way crops are managed. Here is a snippet with a link to the full article:

How did you turn into a farmer scientist?

I developed an interest in agriculture after observing my father Surayya who adopted innovative agricultural practices 50 years ago. He used to supply seeds to the National Seed Corporation. I stopped my studies and followed in his footsteps. Often, scientists from Bapatla Agricultural College visited our farm with students and spoke of innovative farming and research. I learnt from them. I used to visit the college to find solutions for various problems related to plants. I was close to many professors and researchers who taught me. A chemist CV Naidu explained to me about mineral nutrition and how they work on plants. The scientists conducted trials in my farm and I started production of cotton hybrids in the 1980s. In those days, the government was the only source of providing cotton hybrids. But I started supplying hybrids to farmers in AP and Karnataka.

What pushed you to take up research in agriculture?

The white fly disease affected cotton and forced me to take up research work. I contacted Colorado University in the US for pest resistant genes, but my efforts went in vain. I then started working on varieties of chillies. In 1978, I found a fungi which kills bacteria. Dr Mohit Deen, a pathology professor at Bapatla College, helped me to some extent. Professors of Andhra University and Gitam University approached me to develop the fungi. I started research with the help of funds from Nabard. Later, I got patent rights on the fungi which kills insects but is not dangerous to human beings or animals. Some Germans came to my native place and took the soil. Now, it is being used for green house farming in Germany. By 1983, I had developed six varieties of chillies.

How did you became a homoeopath?

I met with an accident and sustained severe head injuries. My uncle Kodandaramaiah, who was a gold medallist from Oxford University and former superintendent of KGH in Vizag, said there was no medicine for it. One of my friends took me to a homoeopath who cured 50% of my ailment. I shifted to Vizag as I was introduced to Navayuga Engineering Company owner Visweswara Rao, who helped me a lot in research work and also in the study of homoeo medicines. I studied books on homoeopathy and started treating my family members. I have treated over 1 lakh people now. Around 50 persons are helping me extend this service since 1993. We are extending services to people free of cost…

Read the full interview here.

Biomimicry, spiders, and biodegradable shoes!

April 24, 2017 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Biotechnology, Cool videos

Imagine a running shoe that will biodegrade in 36 hours after you dispose of them. Just put them in your sink, and back to the earth they go!
The shoe company Adidas is going to introduce these shoes sometime this year. The innovation is the result of the company’s partnership with Munich-based biotech company AMSilk, for Adidas’s new Futurecraft line. The shoes, while still prototypes, will someday reach the next level of sustainability, using biomimicry in the form of a spider-inspired fabric that is 100 percent biodegradable and bio-sourced. Says Adidas:

The material is a sort of biomimicry inspired by spider silk. The Biosteel yarn is created using natural carbon sources that are fermented and converted into a white powder. It’s already been rolled out in a number of forms for medical serves like implants and surgical meshes and has been utilized for beauty products. The company’s third division is focused on textiles, which is where Adidas comes in.  (source)

Check out this video concept:

How Uber will turn its app into a “content marketplace” during rides

April 19, 2017 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Disruptive Innovation

Are you one of the millions around the world who get where you’re going via Uber?

Uber is a wildly popular app-based transportation company valued as high as $68 billion and growing. According to TechCrunch, Uber is posed to make big changes to its app, to turn it into a “content marketplace.” Uber will reportedly provide consumers with a feed of entertainment and other features with potentially dozens of third party content partners.

The marketplace will be based on a new version of Trip Experiences, enabling users to get more information on the trip and on Uber partnerships. Says TechCrunch:

In the future, when a user gets into an Uber, the Uber app will turn “into a rich feed of cards,” in the words of Uber itself: a series of third-party apps will provide you with more information about the area or specific place you are going; some entertainment while you’re traveling; work and productivity integrations; and communications with the place where you are going specifically.

TechCrunch says Uber won’t charge developers to be a part of the new Trip Experiences feature, nor are there plans for Uber to include advertising in the feed.

Get more details here:

The future of drinking water?

April 14, 2017 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Cool videos

Imagine running a race and instead of being handed a water bottle, volunteers hand you a clear water bubble. Do you eat it, or drink it?

Three design students from London first created a prototype of an edible water bottle in 2014 as an alternative to plastic bottles. Today the product is gaining traction, and its designers are ready to bring it to market.

The gelatinous packaging, called the Ooho, is both compostable and edible.

“When people try it for the first time, they want to eat it because it’s part of the experience,” says Pierre Paslier, cofounder of Skipping Rocks Lab, the startup developing the packaging. “Then it will be just like the peel of a fruit. You’re not expected to eat the peel of your orange or banana. We are trying to follow the example set by nature for packaging.”

Online videos have gone viral, and now consumers are excited to try it.

Get more info here.

Lowe’s new in-store navigation app is wowing consumers

April 9, 2017 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Cool videos

Motion tracking has been helping customers navigate store aisles to find what they need,  and Lowe’s home improvement stores are bringing this technology to the forefront via a new app.

They’re calling the new app, “Lowe’s Vision: In-Store Navigation.” The app utilizes Google’s Tango augmented reality technology and motion tracking and depth perception. This will guide customers through the store using a “mixed reality interface.”

Lowe’s says this technology is now being used in two of its stores: in Sunnyvale, California, and in Lynwood, Washington. The app lets shoppers with Tango-enabled smartphones search for products or add them to a shopping list.

Check out this video; it’s pretty cool!

Read more about it here.

How The Blockchain Will Secure Your Online Identity

April 4, 2017 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Blockchain

I’ve been keeping my readers updated on the newest information we have about Blockchain technology. A blockchain is a data structure that makes it possible to create a digital ledger of transactions and share it among a distributed network of computers. It uses cryptography to allow each participant on the network to manipulate the ledger in a secure way without the need for a central authority.

How does this relate to your online security? Forbes contributor Jonathan Chester recently explained:

Have you ever been the victim of identity theft? It is an ugly experience.  Calling up credit card companies to change all your cards and dispute charges.  Resetting passwords to all of your applications.  Always worrying whether someone may call up your cell phone provider with your leaked information to commit a SIM porting hack, meaning they would have access to all of your text messages. Once someone has access to your texts this is the gateway to getting into many online services, even if you were being diligent and using two factor authentication.

We increasingly rely on the internet for communicating with friends or family (e.g. Yahoo hack), staying in contact with professional associates (e.g. Linkedin hack), banking (e.g. JPMorgan hack), and even confirming credit card purchases for face to face transactions (e.g. Oracle hack). Our user names, passwords, and personal information are being stored on centralized corporate servers, many of which remain ripe for the picking, despite the attention on this class of problems over the last several years. Once your personally identifying information genie is loose, it’s extraordinarily difficult to put it back in the bottle.

Ideally the only risk you should have when it comes to managing your digital identity is whether or not your personal systems have been compromised, instead of worrying about every corporation you’ve ever dealt with in the past. In the offline world, you update your proof of identity every few years, receiving a drivers license, ID card, or maybe a passport if you travel internationally. When you go to a club, they check your age on your ID. When purchasing an Amtrak ticket you prove who you are. You are authenticated and the person who checked your ID immediately forgets your details.

Read the rest here.