Practice of Innovation

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

Teaching Future Innovators

Curtis Carlson speaking at the annual KEEN conference.

Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network (KEEN)

The KEEN annual conference is sponsored by the Kern Family Foundation.  It is one of America’s most important foundations, helping students across America learn how to be successful value creators and entrepreneurs. These are increasingly critical skills for all professionals in the global innovation economy. (more…)

Customer Value

The Primary Enterprise Function

Peter Drucker famously said, “Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two – and only two – basic functions:  marketing and innovation.  Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs.”  Few companies have a thoughtful value-creation process and even fewer are truly customer focused.  Achieving that starts by employees understanding the meaning of “customer value”  The attached viewgraphs (below) address some of customer value’s most basic features.  This presentation was developed with Harry Cook when we were on the GM Science and Technology Advisory Board.  The applied examples are all due to Harry.  Any additional thoughts or comments are greatly appreciated. 

Customer Value Curtis Carlson 2019

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…)

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