Practice of Innovation

"The way we work is our most important innovation." Observations by Curtis R. Carlson

Are Amazon, Facebook, and Google Good for Society?

A Behavioral Economics Perspective

Amazon, Facebook, and Google (AFG) and other social networks are collecting information on us to increase the value of the advertisements and products they sell.  Some worry in a vague way about how this is reducing our personal privacy.  Others increasingly worry that our personal information is being used to manipulate us and to control the flow of information across society.  

In a previous post, I described how behavioral economics (specifically Prospect Theory) applies to products and why Steve Jobs’s fanatical dedication to perfection was so unique and valuable for Apple.  The same basic ideas from the behavioral sciences apply to other areas, like giving bonuses a bit at a time or why bad news should be confronted all at once.   (more…)

Is Teaching Entrepreneurship Helping or Hurting?

Focus on Value Creation

Curt Carlson National Academy presentation: “Innovation for Impact”

Summary:  Today’s innovative performance is generally poor, but it can be greatly improved.  Entrepreneurship is the driving force of an innovative economy, but most professionals are value creators, not entrepreneurs.  The initial stages of value creation are where much of the failure resides.  More effort must be placed on the core concepts and processes of effective value creation, which is the precursor to all major innovations.  Value creation is a discipline that can be learned and applied.  It is a discipline that all professionals, and all would be entrepreneurs, should master.  Doing so would have a large positive impact on America’s growth and the creation of additional meaningful jobs. (more…)

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 - IQIQ: 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 for "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 fundamental team 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?





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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…)

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