Graphene will transform your gadgets and your life

Posted by Cheryl Perkins on June 30, 2014

300px-GraphenGraphene is an amazing material that will soon transform our gadgets to be thinner, more durable, and help us surf online 100 times faster.

Imagine something so thin – a million times thinner than paper, according to the American Physical Society.
Read more:

Graphene is really pushing the frontiers of what could be – make that what WILL be!

Juno Power your smartphone to jumpstart your car

Posted by Cheryl Perkins on June 28, 2014

Imagine jump-starting your dead car battery – with your smartphone! JUNOJUMPR is one smartphone accessory in the form of a portable charger, that can also be used to jumpstart a car in the case of a breakdown.  It costs about  $70. Here’s more via the Auto Blog:

Image via Junopower

Image via Junopower

Since we carry and deal with more and more items that need batteries, we have to figure out better and mobile ways of charging those batteries – at least until John Galt arrives and shows us how to harness electricity from the air. In the meantime, the Jumpr from Juno Power is one of those chargers trying to make our lives easier by being able to both charge your small portable electronic devices as well as your car battery.

There’s a 6,000 mAh battery in that sky blue case, which Juno Power says is also good for a 12-volt boost at 300 amps. The company says it’s robust enough “to jumpstart almost all four-cylinder and six-cylinder engines,” but in case you’re wondering how 300 amps can run safely through those tender cables in the image above, it’s possible that Juno Power is playing casual with the meaning of “jumpstart;” elsewhere on the product page we’re told that the Jumpr ” is capable of jumping a completely dead car battery in minutes.” So it sounds like this is less of a jump for your car and more of a series of quick, restorative hops of electricity – or, in other words, something we call “charging.”   SOURCE



The U.S. ranks seventh in the world in high speed Internet connections

Posted by Cheryl Perkins on June 25, 2014

An Internet security services firm puts the U.S. at 7th  in terms of internet connections, according to the Wall Street Journal . It’s interesting to see that smaller nations such as Latvia and Belgium rank higher with connections that are 10 mbps or higher. Check it out here:

The social value of people

Posted by Cheryl Perkins on June 23, 2014

Wiki Commons free photoMost corporations and their stockholders who are struggling might believe that they are in business to make money. But those forward-thinking businesses that are thriving right now know that it’s about much more than that. It’s about the social value of people.

I work with clients around the world to help them understand how to think differently about customers and consumers in order to deliver game-changing innovation to the world. Here is a great article from Harvard Business Review underscoring that fact, that society and people are not afterthoughts or inputs to be used and discarded but are core to their purpose:

How Great Companies Think Differently

A thought-controlled artificial hand restores feeling

Posted by Cheryl Perkins on June 19, 2014
Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

Some of the most incredible innovation is coming in the realm of prosthetics.  Artificial limbs have advanced to the point now that we can make fingers work simply by using our minds.

Recently, a team of Swiss and Italian researches developed the  LifeHand 2, which is a first-of-its-kind artificial hand that restores a sense of touch to patients with a missing limb.  Here’s how describes it:

The limb is wired up to electrodes implanted into the nerves at the point of amputation to allow easy control with no more than a thought. While still in the experimental stages, this new type of prosthetic could allow amputees to more easily lift and manipulate objects without having to carefully watch their every move.   (read more: Thought-Controlled Robotic Arm Returns the Sense of Touch to Amputees)

Here is a video on what this can do:

Where to live and work

Posted by Cheryl Perkins on June 16, 2014

In the United States, there are a lot of surveys taken each year as to the safest cities, the best places to feel relaxed, the towns where your money stretches furthest, and so on. But where are the best metro areas to work?  According to Glassdoor’s second annual Employment Satisfaction Report Card, there are certain companies and certain cities that rank the best for employee satisfaction, compensation and benefits.

Here are some of the best places to live and work, via Fast Company:

Five Tech-Trends That Are Changing the Game

Posted by Cheryl Perkins on June 13, 2014

How will technology like 3D Printing, “Big Data” and other internet phenomenon affect the way companies innovate?

My friend Robert Tucker and I go way back, and I am sharing a recent article he penned about future innovation trends. Do any of these excite you? Concern you?

Five Tech-Trends That Are Changing the Game

images-1In 10 years, over 40 percent of the Fortune 500 will no longer be around. By 2020, more than three fourths of the S&P 500 will be organizations that we have not heard of yet. Predictions like these are common. What if they turn out to be correct?

That’s the question I’ve been pondering since speaking at IBM’s Big Data Conference in Toronto last week. IBM is making a big push into analytics, and the field is taking off. Since their near-death experience in the ‘90s, when the market shifted away from mainframes and the company was caught flat-footed, IBM has done an exemplary job of embracing marketplace shifts. They’ve also gotten better at shedding. They sold off parts of their business (such as their PC division, and most recently their server division) to focus on higher value work such as Big Data. Clearly, this shedding and embracing skill is one that all firms will need to master in order to survive in the Age of Disruption.

How to do this is the question. Start by tracking the trends, especially technological, which are the fastest moving. Below are five that my team and I have been monitoring of late. Whether you’re with a small or mid-sized business, or a huge multinational, as you read thru these five tech megatrends, ask yourself: what might we need to shed (or stop doing) to take advantage of this development? And what do we need to embrace (or start doing) to capitalize off this trend?

Read the rest of the article here:

Transforming the Front-End of Innovation: a New Digital Paradigm

Posted by Cheryl Perkins on June 4, 2014

I am pleased to be participating in an upcoming live web event that I am sure you will find helpful for front-end innovation insights:

These days everything we do in the innovation realm is influenced and powered by digital technology. It is redefining the way new ideas are explored, gathered, evaluated, and promoted;  impacting culture and processes as well as challenging legal frameworks. I’ll be part of a roundtable discussion that will address huge challenges we all face in this new frontier. I hope you can join me for fresh perspectives on:

  1. How to increase the volume of high-quality new ideas entering the organization in an efficient manner without increasing costs or requiring expensive expert resources.
  2. How to recognize which cultural elements to act upon in order to be ready for digital transformations. What cultural treats keep prevailing cultures moving forward?
  3. How to deal with intellectual property and freedom-to-operate challenges that arise in new digital environments.
  4. How to define holistic strategies for innovation programs which take transformational digital elements into account.

Some other takeaways I’m sure you’ll enjoy:

  1. Learn how new digital technologies are transforming the front-end of innovation.
  2. Learn how to deal with pressing IP issues in the existing, as well as the emerging, open innovation environments.
  3. Get valuable insights and best practices for building holistic strategies and processes which will benefit from the emerging digital environments.

Check out the rest of the panel of experts who are thought leaders in our industry and join me on June 19th!


Experimental road lights the way

Posted by Cheryl Perkins on May 28, 2014

This sounds like a great idea with many other applications. What do you think?

Glow in the dark roads sound like science fiction, and unfortunately, at least for the moment they are being banished back into that realm. An experiment in the Netherlands with self illuminating roads has been shelved for the time being, because the lines don’t hold up to high degrees of moisture.

Read more:
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Read more here:

THINC! Innovation Awards

Posted by Cheryl Perkins on May 23, 2014

ThincA lot of thought leaders focus on those who make national headlines for their innovation efforts. Big-name corporations are continually coming up with new ideas and new products, but we also need to look in our own backyards and recognize the incredible ingenuity coming from local and regional companies near to us.

I am fortunate to be a part of what’s known in Northeast Wisconsin as The New North. Here, local innovators are applauded for the game-changing contributions they make. A week ago I was thrilled to see the winners of the first Insight Innovation Awards. Our company, Innovationedge, is a longtime friend and collaborator with Insight Publications, and I include their fantastic news here:

Winners of first annual Insight Innovation Awards announced at THINC! event May 20

Five regional companies and organizations were named winners of the first Insight Innovation Awards at the third annual THINC! event held 3-6 p.m. May 20 at UW-Fox Valley.

Winners by category were: People – Holy Family Memorial, Manitowoc; Process – Breakthrough Fuel, Green Bay; Product – The Solberg Company, Green Bay; and Planet – MEGTEC, De Pere. St. Norbert College received a special award, Integrating Innovation.

Coordinated and hosted by Insight Publications LLC, Appleton, THINC! (Technology & Human Innovation Networking Conference) was designed to shine the spotlight on innovation in the 18-county New North region. A total of 43 companies were nominated for the Insight Innovation Award.

“Seeing the depth and breadth of innovative practices and associated business results across our region was very reassuring and exciting,” one of the judges said. “All the applicants should be proud of their work and the winners that represent the ‘best of the best’ should be especially pleased in being recognized as leading the region in innovation.”

TEC (The Executive Committee) sponsored the keynote speaker, Efrem Z. Stringfellow, Microsoft Vice President, Central U.S. Region. Other program sponsors were WMEP, Wipfli, Tushaus, Miron and Ark Media Group. First Business Bank and New North, Inc., sponsored the networking reception.


Holy Family Memorial

Twelve years ago, Holy Family Memorial made a commitment to radical change, when the health-care organization launched an initiative to move from a “sick care” to a “wellness” focus, emphasizing patient safety, quality and cost containment. The changes they made resulted not only in measurable, positive patient outcomes and employee job satisfaction but also saved an average of more than $4.3 million annually.

The organization has recently begun to help other entities in its community begin their own journey toward Lean, including the city of Manitowoc.

Our judges, who awarded Holy Family with the Insight Innovation Award in the “People” category, were impressed by the depth in which this organization engaged its 1,200 employees with incremental improvement and “Blue Ocean strategy” as they embraced an internal mantra of “Inspired Caring.”


Breakthrough Fuel

Breakthrough Fuel, winner in the “Process” category, was founded on a single innovative idea: How to leverage technology and information to help shippers reduce their energy cost, consumption and emissions.

Judges were impressed that the company, which employs 43 people, has made innovation a core part of its business with a commitment to release a new, innovative solution to the market within every 14 months. Each year, it invests nearly 10 percent of its revenue and time into innovative projects, research and development.

Breakthrough Fuel created a business model that allows its clients (large shipping organizations) to align reimbursement for fuel to the actual cost that is paid for that fuel by their transportation partners. It has been awarded two patents and has others pending for the technology that enables it to serve its clients. In a nutshell, it eliminates the distortion created by traditional fuel surcharge programs, and with its technology helps its clients reduce the cost, consumption and emissions in their supply chain. The resulting transparency has created stronger partnerships, reduced waste and led to new fact-based approaches to problem solving.


The Solberg Company

The Solberg Company, recognized globally for its environmentally-friendly firefighting foam concentrates and foam suppression systems hardware used in industries ranging from aerospace and aviation to petrochemical and utilities, caught the eye of the judges for a product it introduced one year ago.

Called RE-HEALING Foam, the high-performance, environmentally-friendly foam concentrate is the first significant innovation in firefighting foam since the 1960s, when synthetic-based foam concentrates replaced foams based of animal proteins. Synthetic products have since proven harmful to the environment and are under an EPA 2015 Stewardship Program to change their chemical compositions.

Solberg’s RE-HEALING impressed the judges, who named it the Insight Innovation Award in the Category, “Product,” because it has allowed the company to achieve full EPA compliance before a 2015 deadline – something its competitors have not yet claimed.  As a stand-alone division of Amerex Corporation, Solberg employs 34 globally, including 14 in Green Bay.


MEGTEC Systems

A global manufacturer of environmental solutions and engineered product, MEGTEC Systems employs 600 people worldwide, including about half in De Pere.

Although the company got its start in the paper and printing markets more than 45 years ago, it has transformed into a sustainability-focused company providing capital equipment solutions for air pollution abatement, sustainable industrial processes and end products linked to clean technologies.

The judges were impressed that MEGTEC was able to take its core competencies in drying and air pollution control to expand its market focus and develop innovative solutions for air pollution control equipment and machinery.

Today, the company produces lithium-ion battery electrode materials for electric cars, wind and solar energy storage, membranes for water purification, and other advanced materials. Its R&D pilot facility in De Pere is one of only several in the world that allows customers to test and develop products on production-size equipment for energy storage applications. It has generated more than $60 million in additional revenue in the past six years in this new business segment.


St. Norbert College

Contest judges created a special award to recognize the organization-wide commitment St. Norbert College has made to folding big ideas into everything it does: Integrating Innovation.

In 2013, St. Norbert President Tom Kunkel invited a member of his cabinet to take on the challenge of creating a team to further foster an innovative culture at the college and identify strategic opportunities. “The Big Ideas Group” was charged with soliciting forward-thinking ideas. Everyone – from students and faculty to alumni, trustees and Norbertines – was asked to submit ideas. In less than 90 days, 250 ideas flooded in. From these, five clusters of innovation were chosen; the best will be incorporated into the Strategic Plan for the college.

All of this is happening within the backdrop of major changes and enhancements at the college. Within the last five years, more than $100 million in construction has taken place, the Medical College of Wisconsin will have a campus at St. Norbert and the Donald Schneider School of Business and MBA program was recently announced.


Nominees were invited to apply for the awards. An independent panel of judges narrowed applicants to 15 finalists. They scored each finalist based on four criteria:

1) How does the innovation differentiate the applicant?

2) What positive, tangible results came out of the innovation?

3) Is the innovation sustainable?

4) How did the innovation help the applicant’s customers?

Besides the winners, finalists were: Appleton Group, LLC, Appleton; Aver Informatics, Inc., Green Bay; Bay Tek Games, Pulaski; EDCi (Electroline Data Communications Inc.), Appleton; Menasha Corporation, Neenah; Omni Resources, Inc., Appleton; Orion Energy Systems, Manitowoc; Paper Transport, Inc., Green Bay; Séura, Green Bay; and Xensr, Green Bay.

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