Practice of Innovation

"Our most important innovation is the way we work." Observations by Curt Carlson

Silicon Valley’s Epicenter

Cafe Barrone

Cafe Barrone in Menlo Park, CA

Everywhere I go around the world, people ask me to “explain” the magic of the Valley.  You probably know the elements: great universities, billions of dollars of smart money, a comprehensive industrial cluster, a culture of achievement, abundant support facilities, a magnet for smart and diverse professionals, numerous mentors and domain experts, a global perspective, terrific food and other amenities, and great weather and stunning scenery.  At the same time, the transportation infrastructure is marginal and government policies and regulations are only tolerable. There is no “affordable” housing.  It is not perfect, but it is still the most exciting place for systematically creating innovations that change the world.  (more…)

The Value Creation Quiz

Test Your Innovation Quotient - IQ

IQ: Innovation Quotient

The Innovation Quotient allows you to test your knowledge about fundamental innovation concepts and practices. For example, do you know the definitions for innovation, customer value, and a value proposition plus the primary barriers to innovative success?  You can find out if you are a:

  • Professional practitioner
  • Superior performer
  • Competent
  • Apprentice
  • New recruit

Have a good time and let me know how you do.

1.

The mean lifetime of the top 500 U.S. companies today is:



2.

Many technologies are improving at what rate?



3.

A useful definition for "innovation" is:



4.

What's the definition of "customer value"?



5.

The definition of a "value proposition" is:



6.

All significant new innovations should be:



7.

After you have a working hypothesis for your innovation's value proposition, you:



8.

Does your enterprise teach all employees how to be value creators?



9.

When starting a new innovation what do you do first?



10.

"Unknown" customer needs are:



11.

A viable business model is:



12.

Where is the best place to compete?



13.

Fraction of your team who should be able to define what a "value proposition" is:



14.

Value creation requires what intensity of collaborative iteration?



15.

In forming value creation teams, which attribute is least important?



16.

In an enterprise who can be a value creator?



17.

Which of the following is not required to obtain a U.S. patent?



18.

Which of these is true?



19.

These team behaviors help assure productive collaboration:



20.

Do value creation methodologies based on team best practices:



21.

Who created Siri, HDTV, Intuitive Surgical, and the fundamentals of the personal computer interface, including the computer mouse?



22.

In surveys of companies, which of these is not one of the top-five barriers to innovation?



23.

A value creation champion can lack the following:



24.

What practices hurt a team's ability to be successful value creators?



25.

In what areas of society are new innovations possible?





Name:

NAE & NSF Value Creation Best Practices

Value Creation Best Practices

nsf_logo_f_fd498206-e543-4e7f-a92b-7f4885c2ad97The premier R&D and value creation programs at the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) are Engineering Research Centers.  These are initiatives where multidisciplinary teams address grand challenge opportunities with $50M of funding over ten years.  The centers are formed from leading U.S. universities and commercial partners.  The goals of the initiatives are: 1) paradigm shifting research, 2) training of students in team science and value creation, and 2) societal impact, including through commercialization.  A 2017 study by the U.S. National Academy of Engineering (NAE) I was part of made major recommendations for how the centers could be formed and managed to make the biggest societal impact. As shown below, the NSF is now implementing these new practices.   I am extremely excited about this because I believe the changes made will have a major impact on the output of the centers and the ability of students to become successful value creators.  The management of the NAE and NSF are to be congratulated.   (more…)

Best Education for Our Era

The WPI Plan

Laurie Leshin and Curt Carlson.
Laurie Leshin, WPI President, and Curt Carlson.

Executive summary: Technical graduates must be accomplished value creators to thrive over their careers. Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has pioneered the experiential education needed for success in the global innovation economy.  In 2016 the WSJ selected WPI as the top U.S. school for combining teaching and research  (more…)

Innovation and Education

A Defining Convergencescreen-shot-2016-11-03-at-10-52-58-am

This video is of the President’s Distinguished Lecture I gave at Stevens University on October 5th 2016.

It is often said that the key to innovative success is to fail fast.  That is wrong.  It is also misleading and dispiriting.  The key to innovative success is to learn, search, discover, and create fast.  Value creation is a branch of the learning sciences.

Graduates are entering a turbulent and demanding world.  Job growth and prosperity have dramatically slowed and automation may eliminate half of today’s jobs.  We are not currently creating the jobs and prosperity America needs. (more…)

Innovation Definitions

Can We Agree on the Basics?Edit 2 apple-steve-jobs

I was recently asked to define a number of basic innovation terms.  Below are some of the most important.  I would greatly appreciate your feedback.  I will address the issues and thoughts you provide in future posts. (more…)

Customer Value Analysis

DK Untitled
Daniel Kahneman, Nobel Prize winner in economics.

Products, Services, and Prospect Theory

Behavioral science is now an influential part of economics. It needs to become a more important part of the discipline of innovation. Although the discussion below is somewhat speculative, it highlights important perceptual attributes of “customer value.” Prospect Theory inspired this discussion, but the focus is quite different. Therefore I call it “Customer Value Analysis,” a model to help better evaluate the relative merits of different forms and amounts of customer value. (more…)

Siri: A Disruptive Innovation

Adam Cheyer Discusses the Origins of Siri

Siri-Founders
Tom Gruber, Dag Kittlaus, and Adam Cheyer

What does it take to create a world-changing, disruptive technical innovation?   The history and technology behind Siri, the world’s first intelligent computer assistant, is described here by Adam Cheyer, one of the founders of Siri, the SRI company bought by Steve Jobs for use on the iPhone-4.  Siri added tens of billions of dollars of market value to Apple and profoundly changed the way the world thinks about interacting with computers.   (more…)

Finding High-Impact Opportunities

Colliding Exponentials

Jack Ma with Curt Carlson and John Zhang. The book is "Innovation" by Carlson and Wilmot.
Jack Ma with Curt Carlson and John Zhang. The book is “Innovation” by Carlson and Wilmot.

Executive summary:  Solutions to many unmet customer and market needs are enabled by the convergence of exponentially improving technologies.  Convergence science requires intensely collaborative and sustained value creation methodologies. 

 

At the Internet of Things (IoT) conference in China last fall, with a thousand participants and many from manufacturing, I listen to Alibaba’s Jack Ma.  He talked about his early career and some of the mistakes he made.  He then, surprisingly, told the audience that they were all losing money, whether they knew it or not, because most of them were going away. (more…)

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