Technology improves our lives in many ways, but overreliance on it can cause us to "dumb down." Technology has a tendency to fill in or take over certain tasks for the consumer, relieving us of cognitive activities that we once did ourselves. These cognitive activities get weak or atrophied. We get lazy and dependent on the new technology to do our work for us. We become dumb.
Business schools and companies need to create more internships dedicated to innovation. Most MBA internships continue to focus on traditional core functions like marketing, finance, and strategy. A few schools have innovation internships, but they focus on the technical and design points-of-view. The mainstream, non-technical B-School programs are missing an opportunity.
Innovation internships are a great way to infuse an organization with innovation process and techniques. The best internships allow the intern to learn from the company and the company to learn from the intern. The key success factors are: Selection, Sponsorship, and Structure.
This chilling conclusion about the fate of artificial intelligence seems to put an end to the idea that we can automate innovation. Since this book was first published in 1972, not much has changed, and the field of artificial intelligence seems to be in decline.
For a machine to innovate, it would need to:
1. Take a product or service and break it into its component parts
2. Take a product or service and identify its attributes (color, weight, etc)
3. Apply a template of innovation to manipulate the product or service and change it into some abstract form
4. Take the abstract form and find a way for humans to benefit from it
I like the odds of a machine being able to do the first two steps. Imagine a computer that had the ability to “Google” a product or service to create a component list. Try it yourself. Search Google for “components of a garage door.” You should be able to find several websites from which a component and attribute list could be developed. There are other resources available to machines to derive lists such as patent filings, engineering specifications, instruction manuals, etc.
Innovating is mental, visual, and vocal. Here is a new product to help capture...and coordinate...all three. It is called the PulseTM by Livescribe. The PulseTM is a smart pen that records and links audio to what your write, so you never miss a word...or an idea.
The PulseTM will become a great tool for conducting innovation workshops. One of the more challenging issues in conducting workshops is capturing ideas. No matter how diligent the team is in collecting ideas, many subtle insights and ideas are missed. Even if an innovation workshop is recorded on audio tape or video tape, it would be nearly impossible to connect the spoken words to the drawings and notes taken by the participants. The PulseTM SmartPen solves that.
Newspapers are dying. Their business model is burning to the ground. They cannot fend off the Internet and other threats despite their virtual monopoly and economies of scale in printing and distribution. Advertisers are moving on. Yet while traditional newsrooms are shrinking, journalism is thriving and the consumption of news is skyrocketing. Why are newspapers shutting down?
Congratulations to the team at Invention Machine for hosting this week’s conference, Power to Innovate, at the Seaport Hotel in Boston. The theme of the conference centered around the Innovation Intelligence EcosystemTM and how companies can boost performance by coordinating information, communities, and innovation activities. Invention Machine’s premier product, Goldfire, is at the center of this ecosystem.
The iPhone is an incredible platform for innovation. As it becomes more popular, it invites even more innovation. Many of the iPhone's functions demonstrate the Task Unification template of the corporate innovation method called S.I.T.. Task Unification is a pattern of that assigns an additional job to an existing resource or component within a product or service. To use Task Unification is practice, we start by listing the components of the product or service. Then we assign non-intuitive tasks to some of the components randomly. The idea is to create weird, ambiguous "virtual products" that don't seem to make any sense. Then we work backwards from this hypothetical "solution" to a possible problem that it addresses. Linking the solution to a problem creates an idea.
Here is a new iPhone application that uses the structured innovation method, S.I.T., to create ideas for your next party. The Party Idea Generator, P.I.G., leads you through a series of steps to trigger original party ideas. It has ten different ways to start inventing, and you can add more. It also has over 150 pre-generated triggers and ideas to get you moving. My favorite feature is the special "Huh?" button organizer in case you get stuck. If you want to learn the essence of structured innovation, try this app. It is both fun and useful.
My crystal ball is no better than others. Rather than predict innovations, I predict what characteristics they will have and how they might be invented.
1. Mobility: Future products will incorporate some degree of mobility and integration into the mobile lifestyle. Smart phones fuel this. But mobility is not all about communications. Future products will take advantage of the data created by people as they move through their day. The innovation templates, Task Unification and Attribute Dependency, are excellent tools for identifying these opportunities.