Archive for June 13th, 2008

What do I mean by “sweet spot” anyway?

June 13th, 2008 | Category: Targeted technology,Why Technology Innovation?

I’ve realised I’ve used the term “sweet spot” without explaining myself. What I mean by the term is the point where strong business strategy, compelling market insight and technology capability come together. IMHO, only if all three come together can you hope to have a product, business model and marketing concept which really delivers. If the technology underpinning the product, the business model and/or the marketing message¬†is sufficently differentiated, you can deliver a true market breakthrough product. The bit which especially fascinates me is the technology bit, but if you believe Clayton Christensen, you can do a lot (maybe more) with business model and market positioning as well. I use the model to ask the right questions to ensure that technologies I develop are really bang on target. I think it helps a lot.

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How technical systems evolve

June 13th, 2008 | Category: Targeted technology,TRIZ tools

Some of you who know me will know that I am heavily sold into the power of the latest TRIZ (inventive problem solving technique) tools. The laws and lines of technological system evolution were derived from a analysis of literally hundreds of thousands of patents and, used properly, they can really help to identify suitable next generation technologies for a specific company. I recently prepared a brief analysis of an aerospace system to illustrate how this system has evolved.

Key laws which played out here were:

  • Law of increasing ideality
  • Law of non-uniform evolution of systems
  • Law of increasing flexibility
  • Law of increasing controllability
  • Law of shortening of energy flow path

Notice how the each time the system has evolved, a problem (a.k.a. “system conflict”) and a increased technological capabilities have really been at the heart of making the change. If you can get really clear on the system conflicts which exist in a technological system, you can start to identify potential next stage solutions and appropriate technologies.ÔŅĹ


Innovation lifecycle and an annoying quiz

June 13th, 2008 | Category: A bit of fun


I found this cartoon on Metropolitan State College of Denver Innovation website. The website is just kicking off and provided more than a few minutes of fun as well as some serious stuff. The cartoon shows some of the ways innovation can go wrong – I’m sure you can all list¬†many, many more options¬†to snatch¬†disaster from the jaws of victory during the evolution of a new product from initial idea to final market offering. Actually, given the many different factors which can potentially eat into the apple, the job that strong innovators do to keep ideas on track should be roundly applauded. Incidentally, on the same site was a link to possibly the most infuriating quiz I have ever tried. It went on and on and, unfortunately for me, it was totally addictive. I finally got to question 34 and realised that I do have a life to lead. While I was repeatedly failing to complete the quiz, various family members came in to find out what all the screaming was about. Anyway, I think it might be a great tool for breaking¬†down psychological inertia and the like. It annoyed me quite a lot more than somewhat, so don’t say I didn’t warn you. If you would like yo¬†have a go and annoy yourself silly too, just click on this rather unpreposessing link. I take no responsibility for any self harm or voilence to others that may ensue.

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