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Autumn Winter 2013


REVIE W THE innovation Review aims to be the source of the best innovative ideas for people leading, and transforming industry, education and policy. Issue 01

Are you ready for the next game changer?

Ready Shoot Aim: Break the Analysis Paralysis Cycle to Innovate. By Sanjay Sarma, MIT Why Growth Companies Stop Growing. By Dave Power, Harvard University

Can you afford not to Invest in Innovation?


ll recent business surveys have escalated innovation as the imperative for any business to compete and grow in the current economic climate. The pressures from changing market dynamics and the increasing demands from clients and shareholders means that innovation has to be a centrepiece for any business strategy, a point that has been identified by over 63% of CEOs worldwide. However, delivering a sustainable innovation pipeline is a demanding and complicated process. Ensuring your operating profit margins are not lagging behind your competitors requires investment in innovation. It also requires a collaborative approach that galvanises your teams, customers and other stakeholders to be naturally more challenging and enquiring. As a leader, fostering a culture of innovation is a tricky and complex process. NEF Innovation Review, Brite, is a biannual publication which aims to be the source of the best innovative ideas for people leading, and transforming industry, education and policy. Articles for this inaugural issue cover a specific question ‘Are you ready for the next game changer?’. They focus on such areas as new business models, organisational process design for innovation, benchmarked practices, entrepreneurial development, new venture funding models, tools and techniques. While the topics may vary, articles are written for senior managers by exceptional innovators and experts. The ideas presented in these articles can be translated into action and have been tested in the real world. Each article demonstrates fresh thinking and in-depth, rigorous presentation of significant advances in innovative thinking. Professor Sa’ad Medhat PhD MPhil CEng FIET FCIM FCMI FRSA FIKE FIoD Chief Executive NEF: The Innovation Institute


no va t In


Autumn Winter 2013 . ISSUE 1

08. Building Innovation Capacity Lessons from EDF’s Campus. Enabling inclusivity, sustainability and innovation through its people to support enhanced learning in an organisation. By Dave Drury, Campus Chancellor

12. Ready, Shoot, Aim Break the analysis-paralysis cycle to innovate. By Professor Sanjay Sarma, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Director of Digital Learning at MIT

20. Bridging the gap between academia and industry How can you improve the creative and innovative climate of your organisation? Initial stages of a collaborative study to explore factors that make a difference. By Bob Shipway, Strategic Advisor for Innovation and Knowledge Management at MBDA, and Anna Walker and Dr Mark Batey of Manchester Business School

28. Why Growth Companies Stop Growing Do you know what your company’s next S-Curve will be? By Dave Power, President of Power Strategy and author of The Curve Ahead

24. Message from Baku Scientific innovations and their transfer into education. Exploring the role of inter-professional collaboration in innovation. By Professor MikeSaks of University Campus Suffolk, UK

32. Taking the Next Step in Innovation Management A unique approach to innovation and collaboration designed to solve some of the complex challenges of today’s world. By Dr. Simone Arizzi, DuPont International EMEA Technology Director, Geneva (Switzerland), Dr. Michael Blaustein, Managing Director DuPont Ventures, Wilmington, DE (USA), and Dr. Eric Choban, E.I. DuPont Innovation Center Project Leader, Wilmington, DE (USA)

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34. Transforming the Ordinary by Giving People Control Like Never Before How British Gas are revolutionizing the way customers manage their everyday heating by providing greater control and convenience through wireless enabled and smartphone technology. By Nina Bhatia, Managing Director, British Gas Connected Homes

38. Four I’s Where do new inventions arise? Developing technology through a process of inspiration, invention, innovation and implementation. By Dr Mario W. Cardullo, Rocket propulsion engineer on Apollo 11 and inventor of RFID

Editorial Board Dr Alison Todman, NEF Dr Andrew Powl, University of London/NEF Professor Julian Beer, Plymouth University Dr Rosie Bryson, BASF Dr Rob Fraser, Microsoft Julian Hellebrand, Cobham plc Professor Lynn Martin, Manchester Metropolitan University

42. Keep up! Your customers are innovating faster than you are.

48. So, are you ready for the next game-changer? From sci-fi to reality by empowering Innovation. The exciting journey of Team Titan.

By Grant Kemp of Inviqa

Malachy McAleer, South West College Tony Moloney, National Grid Dr Jill Stewart, University of Chester

By Nicholas McGill of Team Titan, University of Pensylvvania, USA





EF: The Innovation Institute is a professional body and a leading provider of SciTech innovation and growth services to business, education and government. Guided by its Innovation Council, NEF: The Innovation Institute influences policy and supports its members, partners and stakeholders to achieve performance excellence and stimulate innovation. Innovation is an important differentiator in a highly competitive market. It has become a more sophisticated function that is mandated by organisations. However, to achieve and maintain innovative cultures and practices requires contemporary management systems and leadership commitment for continuous improvement. Many of today’s innovation challenges require science, technology and engineering to provide potential solutions. NEF’s work to support the development and growth of SciTech skills and capabilities is guided by the NEF Panel of senior representatives from industry. The Panel is made up of over 30 experts in skills and training from leading companies and key employers who support and inform our services, research and policy work. At NEF: The Innovation Institute, we want to inspire and support our partners and members to address business, economic, social and environmental challenges. We have developed and continue to develop programmes and services that aim to connect individuals and organisations to create the conditions for transformation and embrace innovation as a core strategic value in the quest to achieve success and prosperity.

Contact us

Professor Sa’ad Medhat, CEO, NEF: The Innovation Institute Email: 6

Dr Alison Todman, Head of Innovation, NEF: The Innovation Institute Email:


NEF: The Innnovation Institute Bective House 10 Bective Place London, SW15 2PZ 7

Building Innovation Capacity Lessons from EDF’s Energy Campus.


DF Energy is one of the UK’s largest energy companies and the largest producer of low carbon electricity, employing around 15,000 people across

the UK. Dave Drury has a passion for developing people and relishes the challenge of his role as the company’s first-ever Campus Chancellor.

What is Campus and why is it a game changer for EDF Energy? Campus is a concept that is being developed simultaneously in the UK and France. The big idea behind co-development is that it will ultimately enable the sharing of ideas and best practice across the EDF Group. Our training and people development facilities will offer mutual opportunities – encouraging everyone to widen their horizons. In both the UK and France there is a physical hub – a building, the Campus – but it is much more than that. The integrated approach to our virtual and physical Campus will enable the key drivers of inclusivity, sustainability and innovation to support enhanced learning across EDF Energy and the wider Group. 8

The big game changer for me, is the opportunity it creates, not only to look at the educational training or technical infrastructure around the people development model, but in leveraging the existing potential that exists within the culture of an organisation, and particularly the culture of people working in the electricity supply industry.

Campus has been described as a way of strengthening the DNA of the company: what does this mean to you? For me, DNA is something that binds everyone together. At EDF Energy, our common achievement is that we make a product that is essential for society and a key ingredient in everyone’s lives. Wherever I go in the company, I am struck by the fantastic job that people are doing and their sense of social responsibility. So we already have a common thread in our ways of working, behaviours and values. Campus carries the responsibility of strengthening that, and binding each part of our structure to the others, so we are stronger together than we would be standing alone. That is what is so exciting and unique about Campus.


Dave Drury



What innovative ways of learning will Campus offer? One of our mission statements is to offer new ways of learning and to be innovative. Educationalists tell us that a hands-on approach – learning by doing – is the most effective way to learn. To facilitate this, we are developing and utilising modern simulation technologies. For example, one of our most recent programmes is developing simulation technologies for the smart metering programme. This will help our customers understand more about electricity use, as well as assist our metering operatives. We will certainly ensure that Campus leads the way on innovative learning and involves customers, communities, colleges and universities as well as employees. This inclusivity, is I believe, is itself truly innovative.

What are the benefits of bringing together people from different backgrounds, experiences and generations for training? Essentially, it can have an extremely positive business benefit. Across the whole of our sector are some very talented, capable people who could add so much to other parts of the business, but do not always have the opportunity. So by bringing people together, we can release this potential, gain a better understanding of our company and learn about teamwork. Certainly, if we bring nuclear, coal and


gas operators together, there are technical skill-sharing opportunities. One example is our highly successful nuclear apprenticeship scheme: how can we leverage that quality for the whole apprenticeship model? One powerful, longer-term opportunity is the sharing of cultures. The vast majority of our people are proud of what they do and so – within the framework of wanting to do the best we can for the company – there are always opportunities to learn from each other.

How does Campus connect with similar set-ups in France and elsewhere? Our Campus is part of the bigger Campus family established across the whole Group. Its structure and operating ideology are closely aligned to Group Campus and there is a real two-way benefit. We are part of one of the biggest electricity supply companies in the world, rich in European culture, and there is a fantastic opportunity to leverage that. In addition to staff exchanges, we already have strong links with the group leadership model, and with technical training organisations across the French fleet. There are tremendous cultural and technical benefits to be gleaned, as well as a real sense of aligned purpose in what we are doing.

Has innovation been carried across to the physical hub of Campus? We are developing our Campus hub at Cannington Court in Somerset as a place where people will want to go to enjoy a personal development experience. Cannington Court is a thirteenth century building with a fabulous history and now an exciting future right at the heart of the local community. So we want our neighbours to be part of that new lease of life. We have started the main construction and we plan to have the centre fully functional by autumn 2014. Our B2B business has done


“it is not the processes, machinery, nor design that provides the capability to innovate and become game changers – it comes through people.”

sterling work by installing an energy centre that will provide 50% of the complex’s electricity and power needs through renewable energy sources. However, Campus is much more than a building, a place, a process, or even a training and development model. Campus is about looking at the unique social culture we develop in the organisation and, as such, it is about everyone having a say in it.

Why is it important to open up the Campus network to partners from academia, schools and suppliers? Campus has quite deliberately been aligned with partner universities, vocational colleges and schools, to ensure a pipeline right from primary schools through apprenticeships, graduates and training into long-term employment. By promoting STEM subjects we can help meet future workforce demands and benefit the whole of the engineering sector and the wider economic needs of the UK.

With something so potentially all-encompassing, how do you measure success? The concept of Campus is visionary. This shared DNA, this bringing together of people around a common set of values and behaviours to achieve great things throughout the company is a fantastic ideal. However, to make this happen we need some firm platforms to work from. We have therefore put in place a three year business plan - like any good part of the business - that will effectively use the training and

learning development foundations that we already have across the organisation as the platform from which we will drive the Campus ambitions. We are being very professional about the development.

What could other businesses or organisations take from the Campus model to drive innovation? It may be a truism, but the capability to innovate comes through people – not through processes, machinery, or design. At EDF we have moved into an area of improving performance, of individuals and the organisation in terms of its process or plant or whatever it may be, but the driver is always the people and how we release that potential through behavioural modelling and behavioural development. Any organisation can do that, but they have to be brave, committed and invest in their people. Then measure long-term success in improved business performance, employee attraction and retention and a sense of pride in an organisation that invests in its people and truly values their individual contribution. 11

Ready, Shoot, Aim Break the Analysis-Paralysis Cycle to Innovate

Professor Sanjay E Sarma Depar tment of Mechanical Engineering Massachusetts Institute of Technology


he ideas I present here are for companies, industries and individuals contemplating a turn from steady state to a more innovative future. Perhaps there is a sixth sense that is telling you that change is afoot. Perhaps you have seen other industries in the throes of change and are wondering if you are next. Many in the technology world will find what I say below old hat. For others this may seem like science fiction. It is those others that I seek to address. It is obvious to all that technology is advancing at a breathless pace today – a pace that continues to accelerate. What may be less obvious is an approaching singularity that leaves very few businesses, even the most traditional ones, immune to the risk of disruption. This might seem an overstatement, at worst an oddity limited to the tech world. I asser t


however that the wizardry of the hitech world is leaking out into the real world; whether you are a doctor or a cab driver, a lawyer or a businessman, tectonic shifts in the tech world will impact you sooner than you think. And you must innovate to survive.

All aboard the Engineering Express Here is why. While amazing new breakthroughs in science and technology dazzle, there is a less heralded but more consequential technical trend that bears watching. In recent years, an explosion in engineering tools is fundamentally collapsing the time between the conception of an idea and the realisation of that idea on a massive scale. What an engineer took several years to accomplish a decade ago she might be able to do in only weeks

today. Need 20 plastic cases for a new Internet-controlled thermostat you just invented? Just design it with a CAD package in the cloud. Then 3D-print it. Need a complex circuit to control the system? Hire a designer in Pakistan for $11 an hour. Delivery time: 5 days. Need that prototyped? Send it off to your favorite PCB (printed circuit board) fabricator and have it expressed to you within a week. Need customers? “Pretail” it on Kickstarter. Need to make a million devices now that you have pre-sold a million units? Find a manufacturer on Alibaba ( com) or work with an emerging class of “plug-in” companies that can act as your vir tual manufacturing arm. Need a complex piece of web technology to run said system? Prototype it using “Ruby on Rails” instead of writing miles of code in C or Java. Need to have it up and running for your first million


customers? Deploy it on the Amazon Cloud. It goes on and on. What I have described is creating an express version in the engineering and product development processes. And the innovations are now building on each other in a sor t of chain-reaction. We are seeing this in its primordial form in our labs at places such as MIT but this chain reaction is bursting out and spreading into the real world. It is also upending the way we innovate.

Impatience as a Virtue Traditional business judgment encourages patience, planning, deliberation, steadiness and a “look before you leap” attitude. All good vir tues, and all sadly outdated. The issue is not the thoughts themselves, but the fetishized weight we give them, and the paralysis and riskaversion they really have come to

represent. The competitiveness of the new world values action over overplanning. It rewards impatience over stodgy patience. It values agility over static steadiness. It values deliberate aggression over passive deliberation. And here is the key: the new way of thinking is not about taking risks, but about controlling risks using quick, small actions and experiments followed by rapid and agile adaptation. In fact, in this age, the risk lies increasingly in not realizing that you are in a manic episode of the Hunger Games. Why do I title this article “ready, shoot aim?” The thought is this: if you have only one bullet in your gun, it makes sense to follow the mantra: ready, aim (carefully) and then shoot. If you have many bullets and they are cheap, then: get ready, shoot first, then correct your aim and shoot again. And repeat. Or your opponents will shoot first,

and one of them will likely hit you. Innovation is transitioning from breachloaded dueling pistols to machine-guns in a sor t of massively multiplayer game.

Massively Parallel Innovation Bottom line in the new world is that regardless of how secure you may feel in your industry, there are probably hundreds, perhaps thousands of people and companies gunning for you indirectly. We are in an era of what I call massively parallel innovation. It occurs in many forms. The open source movement, for example, was a massively parallel innovation deliberately and loosely orchestrated by a few high-minded individuals. For all its might, Microsoft could not fight it or keep pace with it. Apple recognised the phenomenon and 13

created the App Store, which channeled massively parallel innovation for its platform as opposed to against it. Whichever business you are in, take note that around the world are people who are a little more hungry, looking at your industry from a slightly different perspective, trying to figure out how to do it better, seeking some inefficiency or kink in the armor. And when they crack the code, they can jump into the engineering express and become really big really fast – impacting you on a distant shore like a tsunami. There is a whole world of these innovators out there: whether a coder in Tokyo or Singapore, a kid in Boston or Bangalore, or an entrepreneur in Estonia or San Francisco.

The “What if I could Have X” Moment So how are ideas coming to fruition? The issue is that the information age is shining the light on inefficiencies everywhere, not just within the technology landscape. Consider an industry as mundane as taxicabs. The radio cab was the last major innovation and remained the “dominant design” for decades. The arrival of mobile phones didn’t really dent that industry. The arrival of smar t phones, with their built in GPS systems didn’t seem to make much of an impact either - at least not in Boston or London. But interesting things star ted to happen elsewhere. In Singapore you star ted to be able to order a cab merely with an SMS and a location. Back came an ETA and a cab number. Pretty slick, but I still couldn’t use that in Boston. A ripe oppor tunity for disruption, and when the dam broke, it really broke – but someone had to 14

have the right idea. It came in the form of a small epiphany that Garrett Camp and his friend Travis Kalanick had at a tech conference in Paris. Their thinking went like this. What if there was a shared car service with a broker that matches drivers with riders? You could use smar t phones to match them instantly, enabling a car to show up at the click of your fingers. That broker is today Uber, a fast growing company that is upending the taxi industry. It uses smart phones, GPS, mapping, a back end service, and a number of other technologies at the hands of informed wizards, but utterly unknown to the non-tech business world. Non-tech businesses such as the taxicab drivers are now in turmoil through not fault of their own apar t from ignorance of this incredible trend. Uber was the result of what I call a “What if I could have X” moment. The distance between the idea and the scaled implementation of that idea has collapsed. The people who can combine ideas with execution are a new superclass that are leading innovation and disruption across other industries.

Pirates of the Technology World Here is the profound bit. Garrett Camp and Travis Kalanick did not emerge from the taxicab industry. Both were veterans of the hi-tech star tup world. A couple of swings there, successful and unsuccessful, taught them all they needed to learn about business and technology development. Kalanick, for example, also had the cash to sit back and turn his eye towards other areas where inefficiencies could be exploited.

He is what I call a pirate – a member of that superclass I alluded to earlier who are now turning their eye towards other industries where oppor tunities await to be exploited. Camp and Travis were also not the first. Jack Dorsey, cofounder of Twitter, is now busy upending the payment industry with Square, a mobile credit card scanner which plugs into a smart phone or tablet running Android or iOS. Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph, another pair of pirates, founded Netflix, a DVD rental business which the web with the good old postal service, to take on the likes of Blockbuster and other bricks and mor tar rentals. Before Netflix, Hasings and Randolph were deeply embedded in the technology industry writing esoteric software for debugging code. Elon Musk is the flamboyant king of the pirates. A founder of PayPal, he is now the founder of Tesla, a car company,


and SpaceX, a rocket company. There are many more such examples but the repeating patterns are: they are pirates form the tech industry, and they had “I wish I had X” moments, which they conver ted into businesses by jumping into the engineering express.

Lean Innovation It might seem hopeless to take on these swashbuckling, risk-taking, devil-may-care pirates. But wait, there is more. While the Camps, the Kalanicks, the Dorseys, the Hastings and the Randolphs of the world are certainly not risk averse, it would be foolish to dismiss them as suicidal. In fact these individuals have mastered risk mitigation. They (unwittingly, instinctively) practice principles from lean manufacturing, pioneered by Toyota. They do what has come to be called “lean innovation”, and their startups are what Eric Reis calls “lean startups”.

The Japanese automakers brought Western automakers to their knees by doing a few things differently: one was increased quality, and the other was rapid innovation by reduced cycle times. Instead of introducing one new model every two years, loaded with hit or miss features, they introduced lots of small changes quickly, learning, honing and adapting from each experience. Their factories were also lean, enabling them to modify designs and implement changes with agility. The pirates are careful about understanding the industry, about identifying weaknesses and opportunities, about starting with small experiments, about learning and adapting, and about scaling in an informed way. After Garrett Camp and Travis Kalanick had the idea behind Uber, Camp launched an engineering express to put a prototype together, and Kalanick plunged into the cabbie world in San Francisco, ensuring that he understood all the nuances and opportunities. The roll out was city by city. Every time I use Uber, it forces me to enter feedback about the driver and the service, no doubt helping them further fine-tune personnel and procedures. When I went to Milan earlier this year, the system chose me, a previous user rather than a local, to try the system out on a limited basis. The innovation cycle is driven by cautious aggression rather than aggressive caution. The pirates are also ready to

change ideas or direction if the evidence suggests so. No forms, no committees, not egos, and no budget cycles. Agility with deliberation. Here is the thing: because of the engineering express, it is easy to launch, test and cycle.

The Empire Strikes Back No listing of trends in innovation would be complete without mention of the world. It used to be (in the last 300 years) that innovation was largely the province of the major powers: US, Europe and Japan. The empire watched and followed. This has changed in the last decade. Creativity, star tups, engineering and design and scaling are all world businesses now. The first industrial revolution reached its peak with the introduction of interchangeable par ts. The second industrial revolution, largely unheralded and uncelebrated, is in my opinion the lean revolution, which was lead by Japanese companies such as Toyota. The lean revolution made quality portable, and no longer was quality the preserve of exacting cultures such as Germany or Japan. Suddenly, quality became a science and could be achieved in a factory anywhere. This has made manufacturing portable. The third manufacturing revolution, in my mind is the one we are currently in – the one in which people 15

are interchangeable. This means that innovation, manpower, and all tasks related can be sourced anywhere. Ideas could come from anywhere. Engineers can be placed anywhere. Manual tasks can be done anywhere. If you have any doubts, try out services such as oDesk ( which uses the web to connect freelance service providers from anywhere to companies that need said services. We recently recruited an engineer in Pakistan to write firmware for a project at $11 an hour using oDesk. No fuss, excellent product. Every week I meet an innovator from India or Singapore or Brazil with an interesting idea that could have implications for the US. This is called “reverse innovation”.1 I recently met a young Estonian who star ted a disruptive cloud-based CAD company called GrabCAD (www., which crowd sources CAD designs from around the world. This is a form from of self-referential world innovation that crowd-sources from the world! All the world is now in on the act of innovation. This underscores the massively parallel nature of innovation.

Listen Up, Companies. Develop your Offense So what do companies need to do to compete in this world? Basically, large companies need to operate like small companies. There is no formula, but here are some steps I recommend.

1. Be Paranoid First, paranoia is underrated. If you believe that you can wait until you see the threat, you are waiting two long. It is like seeing an Inter-Continental 16

Ballistic Missile: when you see it, you have a couple of minutes before the thermonuclear explosion. How far can you run? I recommend Andy Grove’s book on the topic: “Only the Paranoid Survive.” Grove, then CEO of Intel, channeled his paranoia to guide Intel from the dying market of memory into a lucrative new market: microprocessors.2 Ironically, decades later, it has been the lack of paranoia that has caused Intel to miss the smar tphone revolution. There is no point being paranoid without a method for coping with it. I recommend two books: “Lean Star tups” by Eric Reis and the classic, “The Innovator’s Dilemma” by Clayton Christiansen.3,4 I consider the latter one of the great breakthroughs in business thinking of the last 50 years.

2. The Best Defense is a Good Offense Executives are often at a loss when I tell them they may be under a threat. “Who? Where?” they ask me, often looking around instinctively. It is heard to sit and guess where to look. The solution, in my view, is to take on the role of the pirate. Play offense and figure out how you would attack a player in your own industry. Foster’s book is prophetic in describing this approach.5 Attacking is an instinct that can be developed over time, but if you have not done it before, it is easier to brainstorm with someone who is entrepreneurial. I recommend, for example, befriending entrepreneurs, not in a smarmy way, but by genuinely showing an understanding and an appreciation for their drive and skill.

Entrepreneurs are not that difficult to find these days. They attend talks by other entrepreneurs. They hang out at coffee shops and at incubators. Some may be succeeding, and others may be failing. They all have the spirit of entrepreneurship. Brainstorming with entrepreneurs is a good way to get the juices flowing. Often I am asked about confidentiality. Confidentiality, in my view, is overrated. If your idea is so easy for someone to duplicate, you probably would not have succeeded anyway. Furthermore, the benefits of discussing your idea are far greater then the risks of “letting the cat out of the bag.” Once you start the journey, your idea will likely morph and change anyway. Third, bring entrepreneurs into the fold. If you can afford it, hire them as consultants. Acquire companies. Give them contracts. Fund them. In other


words, get in the game. If you cannot beat them join them. Turn them from entrepreneurs into “intrapreneurs”.6

3. You Have Nothing to Lose But Your Shackles The first instinct of institutions to disruptive thoughts or to innovative people is to expel them. The antibodies can come from a variety of sources. Sales is one primary source, and the fear of cannibalization of sales is a major impediment. IT departments are often another. Many good ideas are killed by IT which demands that the new idea be compatible with the company’s legacy IT platform. These are very effective ways to not get on the engineering express. Platform loyalty has a time and a place but dogmatic adherence is a great way to kill innovation. Innovative companies are ruthless in breaking rules to get the

job done. If your platform – whether it is sales or IT or marketing – is not up to the task of implementing the idea in the quickest, leanest way, go outside the platform. Do not hesitate to try even your competitor’s platform because quick learnings are more impor tant than Pyrrhic moral victories. This is the reason why innovation must be protected from corporate “antibodies” – the misguided institutional autoimmune reaction. This is also the reason it is often easier to launch a new idea as an independent company or to create a skunk works (though skunk works remain within the reach of corporate antibodies).

4. Launch Some Innovative Projects and Be Ready to Fail (But Learn) Entrepreneurs such as Kalanick and Hastings do not fear failure. Many entrepreneurs have fought battles and lost, and lived to fight again. Entrepreneurs who attacked the energy and efficiency markets failed en masse, and came to be referred to as “tourists” rather than pirates. But they dusted themselves off, learned from their mistakes and moved on to other, softer targets. It is impor tant for companies to launch innovative projects to develop the habit and the culture of innovation. It

is equally impor tant to be prepared for failures, but to quickly learn from these failures to adapt and try again. Remember, learning is expensive and painful, but death is more expensive and painful (just ask Blackberry and Nokia). Eventually, the act of trying will inform your judgment and enable true innovation. You may also recognise your competition this way, and identify talent you want to recruit into your company for the next foray.

5. Incumbents Have an Advantage; Take Advantage! The ironic matter is that incumbents have massive advantages. First, they often have size and can absorb the cost of innovation – if they don’t let the size get in the way. Second, they usually have deep knowledge of the industry – as long as they do not let that knowledge limit their vision. Finally, they have customers on whom they can try their ideas. Finding the first customer is often the biggest problem star tups have. This, of course, is assuming that the sales force does not sabotage the project because it might hurt short-term commissions. In many ways, large companies are perfectly placed to innovate. They have everything working for them and only one thing working against them: 17

their legacy. Innovation and change by large companies is not unknown. Just ask Intel (in an earlier avatar), Apple, Samsung and Corning. Often it takes a near-death experience to do so (ask Apple). Near-death experiences are dangerous because ‌ they often result in death. This is why paranoia is impor tant, and it is the CEO who needs to create the culture of urgency and action. Innovation begins, and ends, at the top.

Coda MIT is a leader of innovation. Do we listen to the advice I am ladling out so liberally? Do we need to be paranoid? Can we change? After all, the World Wide Web has impacted many other surrounding industries such as publishing, media and training. Are we immune? In 2012, MIT launched MITx, an effor t to offer learning using digital tools to completely transform the way students learn on campus, and the way students might be able to learn around the world. MITx was launched almost overnight. The time from its announcement in the end of December, 2012, to the launch of the first massive online class, 6.002x, Circuits and Systems, was just 3 months. More than 150,000 students took the class. In the summer of 2012, MIT and Harvard launched edX, an independent not-for-profit entity that would offer free courses to the world. They each invested $30M into edX. Today, edX has over 2 million enrollees and courses from 30 universities offered to students in 195 countries. edX is in fact only one of several companies that are 18

exploring this space. Coursera, Udacity and NovoEd are others, though edX is the only not-for-profit entity, and whose platform code has been open-sourced to enable massively parallel innovation. Anant Agarwal, an MIT professor who happens to be an entrepreneur, spearheaded EdX. In shor t, MIT did to itself the very thing that I am describing in my ar ticle: it embraced innovation, it jumped on the engineering express, it leveraged an intrapreneur, it protected the idea from institutional antibodies, and so on. (As a matter of disclosure, I sit on the board of edX and run the Office of Digital Learning at MIT. However, I write this article in my personal capacity). MIT is 150 years old, and a member of an industry that has remained largely unchanged since 1088 CE.7 It is also doing rather well. Yet, MIT showed paranoia and it acted with alacrity. The leadership came from the top, directly from the Provost and the President of MIT. Some have accused MIT of shooting from the hip. I am proud of MIT for having done so.

Postscript I first thought of writing this ar ticle a few years ago, but fought the urge. Too aggressive, too breathless, I worried. When Marc Andreessen, himself a pirate who created the first browser (Mosaic) and started Netscape, wrote about the massive advances in software, I shrugged it off.8 When the Economist wrote about how 3D printing was changing the world, I shrugged it off again.9 Getting there, but not there yet. Around that time, I star ted teaching an executive

education class at MIT called “Radical Innovation.�10 In the class, I encouraged attendees to explore these concepts aggressively, but not to go overboard. Much has happened in the intervening two years. Motorola, founded in 1927, was acquired by Google, an upstart software company founded in 1998. Nokia, a shape shifting and innovative company founded in 1865, was acquired by Microsoft. Motorola and Nokia were innovative companies, and yet they stumbled in the face of the innovation tsunami. Things have really star ted picking up as consumers have star ted to give more credence to new businesses that speak to them directly. A number of new companies such Airbnb have star ted star ted disrupting traditional businesses such as hotel and travel. Today, I feel that a more general singularity is upon us. So while


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the breathless tone of this ar ticle may not be my natural style, I feel it is now justified.

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you don't have to leave the corporation to become an entrepreneur." University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership Historical Research Reference in Entrepreneurship (1985). 7

The University of Bologna is thought to have

been founded in 1088 CE, and is considered the first western-style university. Taxila University in modern-day Pakistan traces its history back to at least 1000 years previously. 8

Andreessen, Marc. “Why Software is Eating the

World.” Wall Street Journal, August 20, 2011. 9

“The Printer World: Three-dimensional printing

from digital designs will transform manufacturing and allow more people to start making things.” The Economist, February 10, 2011.


programs/courses/radical_innovation.html 19

Bridging the gap between academia and industry: Anna Walker1, Bob Shipway2 and Dr Mark Batey3

Introduction What constitutes a creative culture? What is the link between creative culture and innovation performance? What role does individual creativity play in team innovation? These questions and more are being investigated in research collaboration between MBDA and Manchester Business School. MBDA is a large European defence organisation with an extensive history of innovation. There have already been a number of significant achievements since the start of MBDA’s Innovation Programme in 2000. To continue, and expand on this success, MBDA is working with Manchester Business School to significantly enhance its understanding of innovation. This 20

industry-academia collaboration offers a unique opportunity to evaluate the company’s climate for creativity and innovation. This collaboration has two aims. In the short term, to diagnose the climate of the company and use this understanding and information to inform decisions about where attention should be focused. Longer term, this information will help drive innovation to the next level within MBDA.

Benefits There are four benefits unique to this industry-academia research collaboration. First, it is interdisciplinary. The combination of psychology and

innovation management provides a fuller understanding of creativity and innovation. Often, innovation is conceptualised as a process with minimal consideration of the psychology, or the people side within the process. Second, it looks at individual, team and organisational levels in an attempt to provide a systematic understanding of creativity and innovation. Due to the inherent complexities of this kind of research, multi-level research of this kind is unusual. Third, it combines quantitative survey methods with a qualitative narrative methodology. Using narrative information is an exciting and innovative way to triangulate with survey data. Lastly, we developed two new


Understanding Creative and Innovative Climate

measures for innovation; the Front End Innovation Scale (FEIS) and the Creative and Innovative Climate Scale (CICS). Both were developed using psychometric principles meaning they are more reliable and valid than many similar measures. Accurate measurement is vital as it leads to improved understanding of complex issues like creativity and innovation.

Climate vs Culture Why do we focus on climate and not culture? Although everyone talks about culture, culture cannot be measured. Perceived climate, on the other hand, can be measured, given that climate is the ‘measurable manifestation’ of culture1.

Why is Creative and Innovative Climate important? Creative and Innovative Climate is important because it makes creativity and innovation more likely to occur. A climate supporting creativity and innovation leads to greater innovation, because individuals and teams feel motivated and supported to have ideas and implement them2,3. A lack of a supportive climate hinders a team’s ability to create and innovate; team creativity enhances innovation only when organisational climate is supportive 4. and individuals are unlikely to be creative unless the climate supports creativity 5,6. Therefore, climate is important because it can facilitate or hinder creativity and innovation, both of which positively relate to organisational performance7.

Author affiliations: 1, 3 Manchester Business School, University of Manchester 2 MBDA 21


What is it?


The organisation’s approach to risk and the level of risk aversion within the organisation Idea generation, and the process by which the organisation facilitates idea generation How the organisation recognises and rewards both creativity and innovation activities The level of control an individual feels they have over their work, and their perception of whether senior management supports or hinders this control The understanding that members of a team understand and agree with the team’s objectives The level of trust and interpersonal understanding within the workgroup The extent to whicah the organisation has positive relationships with other organisations, suppliers and customers, and uses these relationships to develop new products, processes or services

Idea Generation Valuing Creativity and Innovation Autonomy

Goal Awareness Team Cohesion External Collaboration Resources

The availability of the materials and facilities an individual may need to complete their work Internal Networks Whether individuals know people from different parts of the organisation to their own, and the extent to which the organisation encourages these interactions Achievement Individuals and teams taking responsibility for success and considering their work important for the success of the organisation Internal Different parts of the organisation working together throughout the Collaboration innovation process, to set organisational strategy and goals Expertise The organisation’s willingness to draw on experts and a variety Table 1. of knowledge sources when needed, from within and outside the Creative and Innovative Climate Factors organisation

What is Creative and Innovative Climate? An extensive review of the academic literature on creativity, innovation and psychology, in addition to an analysis of existing measures of climate identified the twelve most important factors for Creative and Innovative Climate. These are presented in Table 1. These factors form the basis of the new Creative and Innovative Climate Scale developed as part of this research programme. By industry and academia collaborating we have been able to blend the latest in academic thinking on Creative and Innovative Climate, with an opportunity to thoroughly test out 22

this thinking within a large multinational corporation. In essence, a virtuous circle of Original Thinking from Manchester Business School, twinned with the demands for common-sense, practical and efficient application from MBDA. If you would like to discuss anything in this article further, please contact Anna. or Bob.Shipway@


References McLean, D. (2005). Organizational culture’s influence on creativity


and innovation: A review of the literature and implications for

Profiles Anna Walker is currently finishing her PhD at Manchester Business School, focusing on creativity and innovation. Her research is conducted in collaboration with industrial partner MBDA.

human resource development. Advances in Developing Human Resources: p. 7, 226-246. Baer, M. & Frese, M. (2003). Innovation is not enough: Climates


for initiative and psychological safety, process innovations and firm performance. Organizational Behavior: p.24, 45-68. Luoma-aho, V., Vos, M., Lappaliainen, R., Lamsa, A., Uusitalo, O.,


Bob Shipway is Strategic Advisor for Innovation and Knowledge Management in MBDA. He is an experienced manager within the design, manufacturing, and related disciplines. He has extensive practical knowledge of applying innovation and creativity to improving individual and organisational performance.

Maaranen, P. & Koski, A. (2012). Added value of intangibles for organizational innovation. Human Technology: p.8 (1), 7-23. Somech, A. & Drach-Zahavy, A. (2013). Translating team creativity


to innovation implementation. The role of team composition and climate for innovation. Journal of Management: p.39, 684-708. Ma, H-H. (2009). The effect size of variables associated with


creativity: A meta analysis. Creativity Research Journal: p.21, 30-42. Unsworth, K. & Clegg, C. (2010). Why do employees undertake


Dr Mark Batey is a senior academic at Manchester Business School. His research focuses on creativity, innovation and leadership. He has also worked with a range of companies including Bank of America, Channel 4, Rolls Royce, Johnson & Johnson and Tesco.

creative action. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology: p.83, 77-99. Hassan, M., Malik, A., Hasnain, A., Faiz, M. & Abbas, J. (2013).


Measuring employee creativity and its impact on organization innovation capability and performance in the banking sector. World Applied Sciences Journal: p.24, 949-959. 23

Message from Baku: Scientific Innovations and their Transfer into Education Professor Mike Saks, BA, MA, PhD, FIoD, FIKE University Campus Suffolk, UK

Professor Mike Saks is international Research Professor at University Campus Suffolk, where he was until recently Provost and Chief Executive. He also holds Visiting Chairs at the University of Lincoln and the University of Essex.


recently travelled to the city of Baku in Azerbaijan to attend the third International Humanitarian Forum, by special invitation. The forum was introduced by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan is a former Soviet country of predominantly Muslim faith, and one of the richer countries in the world due to its extensive oil reserves. It is striving to chart an innovative liberal path to progress, based on multiculturalism. Its success to date in so doing is highlighted by the dramatically rapid rate of infrastructural and cultural development in Baku itself, which hosted the Eurovision Song Contest in 2012 and is scheduled to provide the context for the inaugural European Olympics in 2015. The forward-looking, innovative nature of the current government of Azerbaijan, from a past where human rights issues have been raised is, however, most strongly crystallised by the expansive International Humanitarian Forum that I attended. The President of the Republic of Azerbaijan opened the Forum to its wide-ranging list of participants, which included fourteen Nobel Laureates and former State Presidents from Bulgaria, 24

Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Romania, Serbia and Turkey. In total, 70 different countries were represented. Opening speeches on the first day of the Forum not only demonstrated the gravitas of the conference, but also the energy brought to the table in portraying innovative, synergistic and dynamic ways for both Azerbaijan and the rest of the world to make further progress in future. Following a day of inspirational presentations from the high profile speakers, the Forum moved into ia further day of round table presentations and discussions covering an exhilarating range of areas of relevance to innovation in fields such as enterprise, health and governance in the contemporary world. These encompassed, amongst others, converging technologies, sustainable development, landmark achievements in molecular biology and biotechnology, the challenge of multiculturalism, national identity in a postmodern era, humanitarian aspects of economic development and the mass media in the globalising information network. At the centre of these round table discussions were international political

players as well as leading figures from universities in Azerbaijan and more globally - from Australia and Canada to Italy, Russia and the UK. I had the privilege of being one of the UK participants along with well-known academics like Professor Robert Skidelsky, Director of the Centre for Global Studies at the University of


Warwick. As such, I assumed the role of co-moderator and paper giver for one of three sessions specifically centred on Scientific Innovations and their Transfer into Education – which involved the participation of delegates spanning from Nobel Laureates in Physics to Rectors of Universities in Azerbaijan and Ukraine. These workshops on scientific

innovations and their implications for higher education provide the focus for this article. Here we were treated to a kaleidoscopic overview of innovative technological changes in the natural sciences and their positive implications for education, from recent applications of nanotechnology and mathematical models to new developments in

“Educators need to do more to foster interprofessional education in the curricula to prepare professional groups to engage in integrative practice.” 25

health and social care at local, regional engineering and ICT, including in cloud and national level, though, there are computing and open learning. These downsides such as the time taken highlighted – as did a presentation the in facilitating this arrangement and previous day by a Nobel Prize Winner the complex cross-organisation and on STEM cell science – the huge impact cross-professional communication of some of these transformational involved. In these humanitarian scientific terms, inspirational developments on not management only education, but “In terms of and leadership also the general wellin the workplace being of humankind. transferring is identified as Relatively few scientific necessary if interof the papers professional working were focused innovation into is to occur. However, on the impact in higher education, the main corollary of humanitarian terms of innovative advances inter-professional the social scientific research conducted is in the social sciences, education needs that educators need although a number of contributors did to be theoretically to do more to foster inter-professional touch on subjects oriented, practice education in the such as history curricula to prepare and law, as well based, pivoted professional groups as educational on service user to engage in technologies. It was integrative practice. for this reason that engagement, In terms of my own paper, which centred on on-line transferring scientific is summarised here, innovation into higher was pivoted on techniques, case education, recent a particular form study focused and studies suggest that of social scientific inter-professional innovation and based on mixed education can most its transfer into methods.” usefully facilitate intereducation, namely, professional working that of interby being theoretically professional working oriented, practice in health and social based, pivoted on care. This area, in service user engagement, centred on onits various forms, has been increasingly line techniques, case study focused and researched and positively evaluated by based on mixed methods. More detailed social scientists in the UK, not least for questions about the translation into its potential to provide a personalised higher education, though, remain to be and co-ordinated user focus and more addressed through careful longitudinal cost-effective services increasing the research and evaluation. At what stage, work satisfaction of the professionals for example, should inter-professional concerned. education begin – at undergraduate or While an inter-professional approach post-registration level? How extensive may counter the frequently silo-based does it need to be and what form culture of professional groups in 26

should it take? Wider questions exist too concerning the framework of policy regulation that best encourages inter-professional education and practice for humanitarian ends. In facilitating further developments, educators in health and social care must fulfil the formal requirements of professional bodies, commissioners and the directives of the European Union. Here the Council for the Advancement of Inter-Professional Education has been a prime mover in inter-professional working. This body in fact, jointly with the World Health Organisation, recently issued a report supporting interprofessional education positively to change the face of collaborative practice between professional groups on an international stage.


This report recognised that promoting inter-professional collaboration in health education and practice is an innovative strategy that will play an important role in mitigating the global health workforce crisis, not least at a time when there is a world shortage of health workers and increasingly complex health issues with an ageing population. In this light, many societies are seeing as a social good the increasing incorporation of interprofessional education into universities and other learning establishments willing to change culture and educational curricula. This is supported by managers and champions through such means as staff training, the reorientation of programme content and the adjustment of learning outcomes. In conclusion, the Baku experience

suggests that we should celebrate, and be inspired by, international humanitarian achievements in relation to scientific innovation in both the natural and social sciences, even aside from whether they have been transferred into the higher education sector. In relation to interprofessional collaboration and other relatively novel concepts discussed at the Forum, it should be noted that there has been international sponsorship from bodies like the European Commission to the United Nations – and especially in this context from UNESCO, with its dual educational and scientific brief. Through such support and other means the application of innovative ideas generated by creative minds can be cultivated in a fast-changing world for the benefit of humankind. 27

Why Growth Companies Stop Growing (and what to do about it!)


rowth companies are fast growing, middle-market companies, typically with $10-$200 million in revenue and annual growth targets of 20% or more per year. They are the engines of growth and wealth creation, contributing more than two-thirds of new jobs in any economy. Unfortunately, most of these companies stop growing, and many are sold, before they reach their full potential. Can anything be done to avoid this untimely fate? Thankfully, the practices of successful growth companies such as Amazon, Google and provide a roadmap for long-term success. Here are the five steps that growth company leaders can take to sustain growth: • Anticipate The S-Curve • Stretch The S-Curve For As Long As Possible • Discover The Next S-Curve • Adopt An Innovation Process • Protect Innovation Initiatives


Anticipate The S-Curve Every business model matures, following the familiar S-Curve. There are many factors that contribute to this predictable maturity: the market becomes saturated, competitors emerge taking market share and driving down price, new operating challenges emerge as the company scales and the business outgrows the skills of the team responsible for its early success. Maturity can happen quickly, as it did with floppy disks, or over a longer period of time as with HP 35 calculators. However, growth companies are often blindsided by the impact on company momentum. A decline in growth rates can make it more difficult, for example, to attract new capital or hire the best talent. In less than four years, Groupon’s Daily Deals business went from hyper-growth to decline—a nearly perfect S-Curve.





Growth Discover The Next S-Curve

The shape of the S-Curve is not fixed. You can, and must, stretch the S-Curve to extend the life of the core business through better execution in a number of areas: developing new distribution channels, enhancing the core product, reaching new market segments and geographies, changing pricing and packaging, and acquiring direct competitors. Some businesses such as Subway stores and Chobani yogurt can have a long run with their original product. Others find new market segments the way Harley Davidson chose to reach out to women buyers with its “Do not just go along for the ride” campaign. But no business will grow forever. At some point it needs a new source of revenue.

To sustain growth, companies need to invest and develop new products and services that drive the next wave of revenue growth—the next S-Curve. Ideally, the new S-Curve will deliver enough new revenue to offset any decline in the core business. Do not wait too long to start searching for the next S-Curve. It is difficult to know when the current S-Curve will slow down; more often than not, executives are taken by surprise. It is even more difficult to know how long it will take to find the next S-Curve. For most companies it requires a portfolio approach, making multiple bets on innovation initiatives in the hope that one will pay off. Over the long run, one new S-Curve may not be sufficient. Each new S-Curve falls victim to its own maturity curve. Apple Growth



Stretch the S-Curve



Growth 29



Growth stunned the business world when its iPod and iTunes business grew to 50 percent of company revenues only four years after launch; since then, however, Apple’s music business has hardly grown. Fortunately Apple had a couple of additional S-Curves in its back pocket: the iPhone and iPad.

Adopt An Innovation Process Developing new products and services with some predictability requires more than a lone genius in an R&D lab. It requires an ongoing process of exploring and evaluating new product and service ideas, fueled by adequate resources.There are four important steps to this process.These are what I call the Innovation Power Tools: Learn, Design,Test and Model. Learn: To initiate the innovation process, companies need to learn what customers need by observing and listening to them. Do not expect customersGrowth to tell you what the product will look like. That is your job. Design: Once you understand what the customer needs, design your new solution around the experience you want to deliver. Too many companies fail by focusing on the product rather than the customer experience. Customer experience is the new IP; I would rather have a great customer experience, one that is difficult for competitors to copy, than a patent. That is why Amazon had to buy Zappos—they were unable to match the online shoe-buying experience. Test: This next step is so easy that it may seem like cheating. So why do more companies not take advantage of it? Test your new product and service ideas with customers before you build them. To do this you create a simple prototype, or what the new lean company strategists call a minimum viable product. Dropbox, the Internet file sharing leader, attracted customers and investors to its business without a working product; instead it created a videotape of screen shots that showed how easy it would be to use the product (if it existed). Model: Do not assume that your current business model will be the best one for a new product or service. Better to take 30

a fresh look at all elements of the business model: pricing, distribution and partnerships for example. turned the software industry on its head by declaring that software should be delivered as a monthly service. Skype made international conference calling free, but they make money on connections to landline and mobile phones.

Protect Innovation Initiatives Leaders play a critical role in the innovation process. They communicate the vision, create a culture that rewards both success and failure and provide air cover for fragile innovation projects. A company vision can clarify the direction and intensity of innovation efforts. With one famous 1996 memo to all employees, Bill Gates declared that unless Microsoft embraced the Internet it would lose its leadership position. Today, everyone at Facebook knows that a strong mobile platform is key to its future. The key to creating an innovation culture is not just putting up “Innovation” signs and celebrating success – it is also about rewarding bold initiatives that fail. Google is among the best at supporting bold initiatives and taking care of the teams whose projects turn out to be, let us say, ahead of their time. Innovation initiatives are vulnerable to the changing demands of the core business. If a company is at risk of missing its quarterly revenue goal or product delivery date, operating managers may look to the innovation teams for additional resources. Leaders need to provide air cover for innovation initiatives by declaring that these resources are off limits. They also need to urge patience on the part of investors and shareholders. Jeff Bezos has made clear to Amazon investors that if they are looking for quarterly earnings per share, they should look for another company to invest in.


Do you know what your company’s next S-Curve will be? Dave Power, President of Power Strategy and author of The Curve Ahead, has guided growth companies as an operating executive, board member and advisor for over 25 years. He also teaches Innovation and Strategy and Design Thinking at Harvard Extension School. Dave was CEO of Novera Software, Chief Marketing Officer of RSA Security and a General Manager at Sun Microsystems. He was also a partner at Fidelity Ventures and Charles River Ventures where he was an investor and board member at many growth stage companies. Dave earned engineering degrees at Tufts University, and an MBA from Stanford Business School where he was an Arjay Miller Scholar. Dave is a Certified Gazelles International Coach. Follow Dave @wdavidpower.


Taking the Next Step in Innovation Management DuPont Innovation CentrE DuPont’s Innovation Centre initiative introduces a unique approach to innovation and collaboration designed to solve some of the complex challenges of today’s world.


upont is a global science-based company with approximately 10,000 scientists and engineers working in more than 150 research facilities. DuPont’s interests include advanced materials, industrial biotechnology, agriculture, and nutritional sciences. In 2011 DuPont developed and implemented an Innovation Centre initiative. Innovation centres are environments used by companies to showcase their latest offerings. They are also laboratory spaces designated to application development or basic research implementing a company’s innovation strategy. Creating an understanding of customer needs enables scientists to increase innovation performance. This is particularly true in situations where discussions concerning market needs take place in developing areas of the world, while science and technology experts are located elsewhere. The aim of our Innovation Centre was to bring the needs of various markets closer to scientists and engineers in our research and development laboratories across the world. DuPont’s specialised Innovation Centres are designed to stimulate creativity and ideation. They enable us to provide solutions to problems within the market focused areas of food, energy, or protection that are relevant to the location of each specific centre. This is achieved by working in collaboration with customers, partners, governments, and other organisations to uncover 32

market specific problems and identify customer needs. Innovation Centres share common features visualised in Figure 1. These elements consist of: (i) Reception Area to separate the Innovation Centre from the outside world, (ii) Innovation Space, where new ideas are generated and developed through interactive multimedia displays showing scientific capabilities and the latest applications of DuPont products, and (iii) Collaboration Space, where ideas generated in the Innovation Space are transformed into specific development projects. Within this setting, customers and partners are able to virtually interact and engage with our technical community across the world using state-of-the-art equipment. Because of the multiple scientific competencies of DuPont, it is common for visitors already familiar with DuPont’s capabilities to discover new areas of potential collaboration. This generates innovative ideas to address their needs. To date, DuPont has created a network of 12 Innovation Centres across Asia, Europe, and the Americas. Three are located in Europe, specifically Moscow, Geneva, and Istanbul. They allow customers, governments, nongovernment organisations (NGOs), universities, and other strategic partners to collaborate with DuPont, solving regional and global issues that ultimately improve the lives of people everywhere. Based on our experience with thousands of Innovation Centre visitors, we have identified the following three best practices to facilitate projects following initial discussions: (i) Advance preparation of the

meeting to identify the key topics of joint interest, (ii) Engagement of internal people, local or remote, who have suitable technical background for the topics of interest to be involved in ideation and knowledge-sharing, (iii) Agreement on a set of future actions, resulting from the Innovation Space discussions. Statistics collected in each centre help us to assess frequency of visits, key themes of interest, and the number of development projects created, thus providing valuable data to improve innovation productivity. Over the past year we have engaged over 10,000 visitors, generated over 2,000 ideas, and initiated 300 currently active projects. We are trying to find the right solutions to the biggest challenges our customers are facing by working inclusively and bringing our unique integrated science approach to life. In these Innovation Centres, such solutions are initially conceived and developed together with customers, partners, governments, and other organisations, thus constituting a truly collaborative model in the management of innovation.


Fig 1 Core elements of a DuPont Innovation Centre Reception Area, Innovation Space, Collaboration Space.

Dr. Simone Arizzi, DuPont International EMEA Technology Director, Geneva (Switzerland) Dr. Michael Blaustein, Managing Director DuPont Ventures, Wilmington, DE (USA) Dr. Eric Choban, E.I. DuPont Innovation Centre Project Leader, Wilmington, DE (USA)


Transforming the Ordinary by Giving People Control Like Never Before By Nina Bhatia,

Managing Director, British Gas Connected Homes


he rate of change in technology over the past fifteen years has been phenomenal. At the turn of the century broadband internet did not exist, the expression ‘wi-fi’ would have confused most people and while Apple was revolutionising the personal computer with the iMac, the iPhone was barely a blueprint in a California lab. The contrast with today could not be more stark. At the latest count, broadband internet has reached 75% of UK homes and about the same proportion of us will have a smartphone in 2014. Wireless technology has become ingrained in every part of our lives – whether we are using online banking to check our balances or logging on to a supermarket website for the weekly


shop. Rather ordinary activities have just become cleverer: people are paying for their parking online, avoiding the risk of tickets and having to carry piles of coins around; we are hailing taxis with the tap of a smartphone, safe in the knowledge that a named driver is on their way and we can track them. I am completely comfortable managing large parts of my life from the device in my handbag. In fact, I prefer it. We are in an ever more connected world and the opportunities have never been greater. Innovation in media, transport, retail and leisure has been breath-taking. Yet, there is one area of our lives that has been – so far – largely left behind: the home. The only area of our home that has

really embraced connected technology is the living room. Homes today are packed with surround sound systems and HD televisions; we are streaming music and watching our favourite TV shows on-demand. Remember the London 2012 Olympics? The experience was totally different to 2008, not least because of flexible channels and the ability to generate our own individual record and experience of the events themselves. New technologies reflect and respond to unpredictable lives and our need to multi-task. They give us choices we increasingly expect to have as standard. Yet outside the living room we have not kept pace. The way we heat, power and light our homes has not changed


for decades. In fact, the last mainstream innovation in this area of our homes could be described as the mass adoption of central heating in the 1970s. This all comes at a cost, both financially and in terms of the daily balance of our lives. British Gas research found that eight million homes leave their heating on when they leave the house and that, on average, people waste £150 per year heating their homes when they do not need to. We have found that the thermostat baffles and confuses – many of our customers do not understand how to use it and some do not even know where it is! In an age when time and finances are particularly stretched for many, this lack of control simply is

not good enough. There is a huge opportunity to turn our homes from inactive bricks and mortar into places that work for us, that sync with the daily nuances of our lives. We are on the cusp of the biggest transformation and modernisation of the home for all of us: the connected home. Broadband and smartphone penetration means the infrastructure is in place. You have to lay the roads before you can expect the cars to come, and, in the UK now, we have the framework for the connected home to thrive. At British Gas, we are extremely well placed to help bring about this change. With over 200 years of heritage we have been innovating since we introduced gas lamplighters in the 1800s. 35

We installed the first gas meter. Today, up a dedicated ‘Connected Homes’ we have 3.6 million customers managing division working in its own space their energy online and over one million with product managers and software smart meters already installed. With developers building products using lean 11,000 engineers stepping over the agile methodology, just like many of our thresholds of more than 50,000 homes counterparts in Tech City and Silicon every day, we are uniquely placed to Valley. understand how our customers’ homes In September of this year, we work, what they want and what they launched the first product under the need. Hive umbrella, Hive Active Heating™. We have all the ingredients and now This product allows you to control your it is about joining the dots. Over the home’s heating and hot water wherever past couple of years we have been you are – via smartphone, laptop, tablet introducing innovations to help people or PC. understand their Hive Active energy bills and more Heating™ is simple importantly, their and easy to use. usage. It communicates Earlier this year, we wirelessly with launched a new brand a hub that plugs for our connected into your home homes products and broadband router. services – Hive, by Our experienced “If a meeting British Gas. engineers take you Why have we finishes early and through the whole done this? It marks process, including you are heading our arrival in the downloading the connected home ‘Hive’ app to your home,you can market - still an smartphone and switch on the emerging category giving a demo of how in the UK - and it works. heating so you importantly, shows What is great about arrive to a warm that products and the product is that services with the Hive you can set schedules house.“ brand are available for your heating and to both British Gas hot water that suit and non-British Gas you. If you know you customers. will always be out This new brand has late on a Tuesday, you given us a dedicated can programme the focus and enabled us heating to switch on to attract specialist later than normal. In talent. The challenge fact, you can set up of ‘transforming the each day to reflect ordinary’ in energy and heating has your routine. attracted people from some surprising Yet the real magic starts when places – Sky, O2, LoveFilm, Hailo your plans change. We all live busy, – to name a few. It seems the tech unpredictable lives and we want the community is really interested in this flexibility to change our plans when it area after all. suits us. We have also changed the way we If a meeting finishes early and you are are working to develop these types heading home, you can switch on the of products and services. We have set heating so you arrive to a warm house. 36

If you are out with friends and decide to stay for one last drink, you can push back the schedule so you are not heating your home unnecessarily. Or – and this one we did not expect when we created the product – if you are on the couch and simply unable, or can not face moving to adjust your heating, you can do it from there, just as you use the remote control to change the channel on the TV. Many of our customers admit to adjusting their heating or hot water from their beds! And yet... it makes sense. The hot water function offers the 13 million UK homes with hot water cylinders the option to click ‘boost’ on the way home (not insignificant if you have just stepped off a muddy football pitch on a cold winter’s evening). And this is just the beginning. We are developing the product to give our customers even more comfort, convenience and control. And of course for some customers, this will translate into the opportunity to save money too. It would be great if your smartphone, through GPS technology, knew you were on the way home and prompted you to turn up your heating? What if your control not only extended to your wider home, but to each of the individual rooms within it? And what if your boiler could self-diagnose when it was going to have a problem, meaning it could be fixed before a breakdown caused you any distress? Watch this space for products that take on these inspiring challenges and more. The connected homes category has seen many false dawns and for quite a few years, connected equipment has been a rather costly, niche interest, failing to gain wider adoption in the market. I believe this is about to change and am confident British Gas will play a major role in transforming ordinary, but important, functions in the home and delivering innovative products to the mass market. This is only the beginning. We are determined to find newer, better and more imaginative ways to put control


of the functional aspects of our homes in the hands of the consumer. That is why we are continuing to source the best talent to join our team, and it is why we are reaching out to the start-up community to avoid missing a trick. We recently held our first ever ‘Startup Showcase’, inviting entrepreneurs from all over the world with an interest in connected home technology to share their ideas, win some valuable investment and a chance to trial their product with British Gas customers. The turn-out was incredible. On the day, we had 26 enthusiastic participants all brimming with new ideas – and only served to underline the point that now is the time, that we really are on the cusp of a connected home

revolution. The winner, online heating analysis company MyJoulo, offer people a simple and effective way to understand their energy use, something many of us have never been able to do before. Which brings me back to the overarching point here. We want to wake up the home, give people greater control and offer more convenience in day-today life. This is not about shiny gadgets or expensive technology for the few. Instead, it is about giving millions of consumers what they want and when they need it: simple, clever innovation to improve their everyday lives. Transforming the ordinary. We want to give people control of their homes in a way that is never been done before.

For more on Hive, by British Gas, or to book a Hive Active Heating™ installation, visit You can follow Nina Bhatia on Twitter at


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Mario W. Cardullo, BME, MME, MEA, PhD, P.E., AF AIAA, SM IEEE, FIKE Dr. Cardullo is an engineer, academic and entrepreneur. He has a broad background ranging from rocket propulsion engineer on Apollo 11, conceiver of mobile communications satellites in 1969 while at COMSAT, inventor of the modern RFID, nano RFIDs, new lighting systems and a writer of textbooks covering technology, entrepreneurism and global finance.



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spurs not just one new cycle, but numerous repeating cycles, as Technology develops through a process of inspiration, the innovation is adapted and applied within new contexts or invention, innovation and finally implementation. As Figure as new alternative technologies emerge. 1 shows, the process is a virtuous cycle since as technologies are implemented they eventually inspire new inventions, compliments and market entries. Thus, Watt’s steam engine Inspiration eventually resulted in the first production of electricity when Where do new inventions arise? Additions to humanities’ combined with the development of the dynamo which turned tool kit are not born “de novo” but come about to solve steam into electricity. There problems. This has been the case are numerous cases where since homo-erectus first arose in the process has led to higher the African plains over 1.8 million standards of living for society. years ago. Today, this is still the Since inspiration is usually process by which new inventions born out of solving problems arise. that arise from the inability Technological progress occurs of other things to provide both in an evolutionary and in solutions. Technological a cascading manner. Similar to evolution moves from evolution, technology moves invention or discovery by means of incremental through innovation, until the improvements from the basic natural limits on advancement inspiration. In cascading manner, are reached, ultimately which many have termed radical becoming a technological or revolutionary, a new concept Figure 1 artifact*. But those artifacts * Artifact is a term used by Kauffman Four I’s – A Virtuous Cycle for Market Entry are themselves products of (Kauffman 1995) for items created by of a New Technology Homo Sapiens, i.e., humanity this cycle. The Four I’s cycle




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Innovation is the commercial application of an invention, such as a new idea, method, or device. Innovation by its nature involves taking risks. Technological enterprises prosper in a constantly changing environment of novelty and innovation, which endows many of them with spectacular growth trajectories2. Innovation is an economic or social term rather than a technical term, and can be viewed as changing the yield of resources3. If the innovation is sufficiently important it is called a basic innovation and can create a new industry or transform an existing industry. The thesis of Schumpeter was that the innovating entrepreneur caused dynamic disequilibrium in an economy that changed the rules of the game, by taking innovation to commercialisation and embedment in an environment

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One of the greatest achievements of the nineteenth century was the invention of invention1. An invention is born when it is proven to work within a limited environment such as a laboratory. By the time of World War I, invention had become synonymous with research; a systematic and purposeful activity. A technological invention is defined as the creation of a new product, process or service. However, for an invention to become an innovation it must be commercialised. Whilst the inventors still are forming technological entrepreneurial enterprises, the preponderance of new market entries comes from the innovator/entrepreneurs. Invention is more than ensuring the end result. A technological invention rarely becomes an immediately successful product, process or service. In many instances, inventors fail in achieving the financial success even if their invention eventually is a major technological leader. Since the airplane was first flown in December 1903 at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, it took more than thirty years before commercial aviation achieved a general market penetration.

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where it did not exist previously4. James Watt was one of the first to couple scientific research to technological invention and development3. However, it was the joint venture between James Watt and John Roebuck a leading English entrepreneur of the eighteenth century, initially failed when Roebuck became bankrupt. This did not deter Watt, who then formed a par tnership with Matthew Boulton in 1775 in Cornwall, England. Together Boulton and Watt learned about installing and improving steam engines in their joint venture and in 1786, Boulton and Watt opened the Albion Flour Mill in London, England. The mill used two of Watt’s new steam Expertise engines. Technically the mill was a great success and Technology, customers, markets, expertise, ushered in the Industrial Revolution. However, it burned patents, trademarks, trade secrets down in 1791, long before its capital debt had been repaid. In spite of this, Boulton and Watt’s reputations attracted a Market number of young men toInvention work for andImplementation learn from them. Penetration One of these young men was William Murdock who commercialised the concept of gas lighting. The concept Market space, of gas lighting using coal gas had beencompetitors, the idea suppliers of Phillipe Lebon, a Frenchman, and F. A. Winzer,Economic a German.Power Thus, the invention and commercialisation by Watt had a cascading impact on society. This cascading impact of inventions is one of the engines that subsequently have driven the growth of modern society. Another example of this cascading impact of invention is William Shockley and his associates who spawned an economy not just a new enterprise when they discovered the transistor and then formed Shockley Transistor Corporation, also known as Shockley Laboratories, to commercialise the invention. These inventor entrepreneurs also made possible a totally new world that is still High influencing society. Shockley and his associates’ discovery, Future Technology which was honored by a Nobel Prize in 1956 for physics, New Mar and the subsequent commercialisation of the transistor,Emerging was Low Existing indeed a strategic inflection point. In 1957, eight members of Shockley Transistor Corporation, who became known as the traitorous eight, left to establish Fairchild Semiconductor Company. The eight founders were: Gordon Moore, Sheldon Roberts, Eugene Kleiner, Rober t Noyce, Victor Grinich, Julius Black, Jean Hoerni and Jay Last. William Shockley had recruited these eight from various research facilities on the East Coast of the United States. However, due to Dr. Shockley’s erratic management style these eight engineers and scientists became disgruntled and left the company. They formed Fairchild Semiconductor Company to develop and manufacture silicon


appears to have sprung from nothing, but in fact can be traced to prior advances that reached a critical level and cascade to form the new concept or invention. As problems occur, many individuals find themselves requiring either to find a way to overcome or remove the problem. Many become frustrated, whilst others see possible solutions and or opportunities engendered by the problem. Not all possible solutions are feasible, but it is the search for solutions which may elevate or solve the problem that focuses the human mind. This focus in the long run moves toward eventual solutions and maybe to new and possible important discoveries.


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Expertise Technology, customers, markets, expertise, patents, trademarks, trade secrets



Market Penetration

Market space, competitors, suppliers

Economic Power Fig. 2 Innovation Feedback Process (Adapted from Theis 1996) 9

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semiconductors. Fairchild Semiconductor Company and its founders, in turn became the basis of the West Coast semiconductor industry. The introduction of the PC by Apple Computer followed by IBM’s introduction of their PC created an entire new industry, while the development of the World Wide Web totally transformed the Internet industry from a government and academic communication medium, into a rapidly growing information industry sector that has High radically changed the way the we conduct business and live Future our lives today. Technology New Market However, innovation does not always result in lasting Emerging Low growth, even if it does change the world in which it is Existing embedded. The effects are transient and the advantages gained from a specific innovation diffuse away. Thus, a new technological enterprise must build a seamless and systematic innovation process, from its conception. Innovation is seen by the enterprise’s outside environment as the facets of the enterprise, from its structure through to its actual technological output. Figure 2 shows the innovation process as a feedback process. Successful innovation implies a double feedback process consisting of: • Obtaining technology, marketing and customer exper tise. • Successful innovation generating the sound financial foundation for subsequent innovations. The level of the innovation can be considered: Incremental, New generation or Radical. An incremental innovation is where the basic technology remains essentially the same and the innovation contributes minor modifications to performance, flexibility, appearance and other characteristics. An incremental innovation is more suitable for an established technological market space. An example is the computer software market space where incremental innovations are used to move from one version to the next. 40

A new generation innovation takes a technology to a new level of effectiveness but follows the general technology developmental vector. A radical innovation is where the technology being introduced is considerably different from anything that went before the earlier models. The introduction of the use of the jet engine in commercial aircraft in the 1950s quickly changed the market for aircraft propulsion systems from propeller driven to jet engines. In some cases, a radical technological innovation may be introduced into a market that did not exist before the innovation was introduced such as the radio frequency identification (RFID) tag5. In this case, risk due to market uncer tainty is very high6. The concept of the RFID arose from a chance encounter. An in-flight discussion with an IBM engineer in July 1969, who was working on a railroad car optical tracking system indicated a number of problems. This inspired Cardullo to think of a RF solution similar to the simple transponder known as ‘Friend or Foe’ system employed in World War II to solve this unmet need. Later in 1969 making a presentation to a potential backer for a technology company, one of the items presented for implementation was sketch for the RFID. This resulted in the formation of a new company to commercial this and other concepts presented. Similarly, in 1995 while viewing a new technology for a high density digital storage system using ultraviolet (UV) lasers, Cardullo was again inspired to think of using lasers or other UV sources to produce light instead of ionized mercury. However, it took over a ten year wait for another invention of UV diodes, before this concept could result in a new invention and seek to build a commercialised product. hence inspiration can come from many sources and result in major inventions that then are commercialised and provide substantial innovative changes in the directions of technology. The nature of the market for a new technological product, process or service can be categorised as existing or new. A new technological enterprise can find entering an existing market easier, but one filled with competitors. While a new market might be harder to enter and risky but may offer higher returns. This is like the analogy of going to an orchard and finding that tree where the fruit has not yet been picked and choosing the fruit closer to the ground, leaving the fruit that is higher for others. It is easier to be the first, then to be a follower provided that the market space is ready. It takes a great deal of searching and innovative effort to find these oppor tunities. Entering an existing market space implies that market data are available. In the case of a new market, data are usually not



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available and a great deal of assumptions with associated uncer tainties must be considered. Figure 3 shows the dimensionality of innovation. The rapidity of change forces new technological enterprises to recognise that technological innovation is a double-edge sword. This may give a new formative enterprise a competitive advantage, it similarly serves to assist existing and potential competitors. Technological innovation creates new market oppor tunities, it also requires rapid adjustments, i.e., today’s innovations can be quickly superseded by a competitor’s innovation.



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One of the main factors that influence an enterprise’s strengths is strong implementation 8. Strong implementation takes an understanding of the market in which the innovation is to be embedded and a determination that indeed it needed Expertise by the market, i.e. potential users. Technology, customers, markets, expertise, The challenge patents, is to find markettrade applications and trademarks, secrets implementation strategies for the new technology. In many instances a team can proceed to this portion of the cycle Market Invention Implementation without an understanding of the market and the needs of Penetration the potential customers and decision makers. Technological innovation that is undertaken should focus on achieving a Market space, pioneering application as soon as possible. competitors, suppliers

entrepreneurial enterprises, the preponderance of new market entries come from the innovator/entrepreneurs. In many instances, inventors fail in achieving the financial success even if their invention eventually is a major technological leader. The empirical data indicates that inventors rarely are the innovators or those that build the enterprise. The founders of Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft are not the business leaders whom bring the greatest growth to the inventions or innovations. However, each portion of the Four I cycle has a need for an individual or groups of individuals within an organisation whom can contribute the most to that part of the cycle. The problem arises because many inventors/innovators/ entrepreneurs they can accomplish all portions with the same results. This is in most instances is fallacious and takes individuals such as Bill Gates to recognise that business leaders such as Steve Ballmer can take an enterprise beyond the startup stage. Even these leaders are eventually replaced. It takes a continual revitalisation of the virtuous cycle and individuals to grow technological achievements.

References Drucker, P.F., Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Practice and Principles.


1985, New York, NY: Harper and Row, Publishers. Bahrami, H. and S. Evans, Flexible Re-Cycling and High Technology


Entrepreneurship. IEEE Engineering Management Review, 1996. 24(2): p.

Economic Power

Lessons Learned


While the inventors still are forming technological


Cardwell, D., The Norton History of Technology. 1995, New York, NY: W.

W. Norton and Company: p. 565. Rickets, M. ‘Theories of entrepreneurship: historical and critical


assessment’ Chapter 2, In M. Casson, B. Yeung, A. Basu & N. Wadeson, editors, The Oxford Handbook of Entrepreneurship. 2008, Oxford: Oxford University Press: p.33-58. Drucker, P.F., Post-Capitalist Society. 1993, Oxford, England: Butterworth


Herneman. Cardullo, M.W. and W. Parks, Transponder Apparatus and System, USPTO,


Editor. 1973: USA. Balachardra, R. and J.H. Friar, Factors for Success in R&D Projects and



New Product Innovation: A Contextual Framework. IEEE Transactions on



New Emerging




Engineering Management, 1997. 44(3): p. 276-287. Cardullo, M.W., Technologica; Entrepreneurism: Enterprise Formation,


Financing and Growth. Engineering Management Series, ed. J.A. Brandon. Porter, M.E., Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and


Competition. 1980, New York, NY: The Free Press: p. 396.




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Vol. 5. 1999, Philadelphia, PA: Research Studies Press Ltd: p. 447.

Fig. 3 Dimensionality of Innovation (Cardullo, 1999)7 41

Keep Up! Your customers are innovating faster than you are. By Grant Kemp of Inviqa.

“Pebble is a smart watch that connects to the user’s Smartphone over Bluetooth.”


hree years ago, families all over the country started unwrapping magazine-sized, white rectangles. The press scoffed at them and many businesses just laughed them off as a novelty. Little did retailers, book sellers, TV producers and computer makers realise how wildly their businesses would be disrupted over the next few years as a result of these same rectangles. Since the Ipad was first released in 2010, any business has been able to see firsthand the effect the explosion of tablet sales that has happened over the past few years. Tablets are up and are increasingly being chosen by customers as the defacto way that they choose to browse and interact with the companies they like.

Enter the Tablet Tidal Wave Tablets have gone from being a rarity to accounting for 30% of visitors to many large websites. Suddenly that all-singing and dancing website is not going to hack it for their customers. If the website buttons aren’t easily “tapable” or even do not display properly, it’s a major turn-off for tablet users. Optimizing their web content for tablet and mobile devices is now just as important for businesses as having a website was 5 years ago. 42


Businesses are racing to respond to this tablet tidal wave by embracing new innovative ideas however for many, it will be too late. Amazon has successfully embraced this wave by innovating and releasing their Kindle eBook readers and tablets which have positioned them for growth in many markets. TV executives have also innovated and come up with the idea of “second screen” applications which is driving people to try use tablets as an extra way to interact with TV shows. Sadly it has not worked out quite as well for others who didn’t embrace the change. Book shops are closing as text books, magazines and books migrate into the digital format. It is affecting large companies too: the only thing that has really changed on the Dell website since 2010 is that they have had to reduce prices and presumably margin to compete. Whilst companies scramble to catch up, web customers are moving on and embracing the new tech. This tablet growth looks set to continue with ABI Research saying, that tablet sales are going to climb a further 28 percent this year to $64 billion. Next year it could be as high as 150 billion dollars, whilst PC sales continue to slump.

Smart phones to Smarter Everything As innovators, the interesting lesson to learn is that the world is embracing and adopting technology at a faster and faster pace. Mobile phones achieved mass market in 20 years. Smartphones will achieve mass market in half the time, and tablets look set to rocket past even the Smartphone record. The next wave of tech is likely to be adopted at an even faster rate, so it is important we are all ready for it. The good news is that the next wave has already started. An interesting by-product of Smartphones is that the sensors that make them “smart” can be put into pretty much anything. Sensor and communication technology is reducing in price and becoming more portable which is going to bring on an entirely new class of smart devices. The next generation of smart devices threaten to impact companies just as much as Smartphones have. Smart washing machines, smart fridges and even smart windows are already being shown off by the likes of Samsung and LG. Parrot’s AR Drone and Sphero are showing what happens when you put accelerometers, Wifi and Bluetooth into toys and are already gaining in popularity. These advancements pale in comparison with the even more disruptive “wearable technology” sector. There are already several leading products that are pulling in early adopters: Google Glass (, Google’s smart glasses, allow users to record video, take pictures and even run apps overlayed over their field of vision. The way a user interacts with the glasses is via a series of gestures and using voice recognition.

There are already several leading products that are pulling in early adopters: Google Glass (google. com/glass/), Google’s smart glasses, allow users to record video, take pictures and even run apps overlayed over their field of vision.

Grant Kemp, Omni-channel practice manager of Inviqa. Grant is a long term veteran of the mobile market having produced applications and mobile websites for many large brands in Europe. Grant is active in the developer community and runs the UK Hackathons and Jams meetup group. Inviqa is a software engineering company offering web, mobile web and mobile application solutions for medium and large enterprises.

Pebble ( is a smart watch that connects to the user’s Smartphone over Bluetooth. It was pitched to users of the crowdfunding website kickstarter, and managed to earn $10 million dollars backed by people who wanted the product. Users can receive notifications on the watch, interact with apps, or even remotely activate the camera. Even Nike has also got in the act with their fuel band ( which is a smart bracelet that tells the user how active they have been that day. Nike has a multitude of apps and websites that connect to the device and allow users to track their progress. On a recent trip to Google’s main launch conference in the USA, I was surprised to see so many people wearing smart technology like glasses and watches on a daily basis

and around the streets of San Francisco. For them, these accessories were an essential part of what they did and gave them value. The future customer is going to be interacting with companies using a multitude of devices and they will need the experience to be optimised for those devices. It will either be you or your nearest competitor who are first to meet your customers’ needs. Now is the time for innovators and businesses to work out what impact these new technologies will have on their operations. Will they innovate like Amazon and Google and be able to benefit from these new technologies or like Dell and be threatened by it? What was science fiction a few years ago is now a reality and part of business’ digital strategy. The time has come to innovate and embrace the forthcoming digital revolution. 43

So, are you ready for the next gamechanger? To round off this issue of Brite we are pleased to showcase a game-changing innovation developed by four mechanical engineering students at the University of Pennsylvania, winners of the 2013 James Dyson Award. This international award celebrates, encourages and inspires the next generation of design engineers and the prize money funds further development of the winning project. The Titan Arm is a low-cost upper-body exoskeleton that augments human strength and provides rich data feedback that can be used to inform users about performance. The suit was developed for use in occupational lifting and healthcare and the potential it offers has already attracted attention from around the world. In the true spirit of innovation, the developers aim to open source their plans to the research and manufacturing communities. What James Dyson has to say about it:

“Titan Arm is obviously an ingenious design, but the team’s use of modern, rapid – and relatively inexpensive – manufacturing techniques makes the project even more compelling.” The following article charts the journey of this exciting innovation so far. Team Titan includes Nick Parrotta, Elizabeth Beattie, Nick McGill, and Niko Vladimirov



Empowering Innovation: Development of the Titan Arm Nicholas McGill of Team Titan


ower suits have long been relegated to the realm of the silver screen (RoboCop, Avatar and Iron Man etc), but years of research have lead to modern day devices that are solving some of the most complex problems vexing the field. Exoskeletal devices, which have been in development since GE’s “Hardiman” in the 1960s, have come a long way and for a multitude of uses. But what are they? An exoskeleton is a structural device that attaches to the body’s natural limbs and is able to transmit torques and forces in order to complete tasks. Real life applications range from augmented military attire to rehabilitative therapy. I became enamored with these gadgets last year, and took a deep dive into the existing technology. As part of my senior design project, our team embarked on an endeavor to build an upper body exoskeleton. Researching the field, our group immediately became inspired by the work of Ekso Bionics and ReWalk — these companies had managed to give the wheel-chair bound a chance to stand up and walk again. The machines were not focused on making users superhuman — just human again, with the ability to see face to face and embrace loved ones. The message was powerful — what could we design to improve the lives of others? We decided to focus on the upper body, where less research had been carried out and the concept had the potential for tremendous impact. We named the project the Titan Arm, after the Greek deities of incredible strength and stamina. The project goal was a proof of concept design with two use cases in mind: physical therapy and occupational lifting. The aim was to both prevent injuries in the workplace caused by undue strain on the body, as well as to rehabilitate from injuries that do occur. Upper body injuries plague the working world. Overexertion was the most disabling work injury in 2009 in the USA, resulting in a total loss of $12.5 billion in lost days of work that year1. Based on the 2010 US Bureau of Labor Statistics report, freight movers missed a collective total of 65,040 work days, 32% of which was due to overexertion. Similarly, for nurses who missed a collective total of 53,030 days from work, musculoskeletal injuries were 49% of the cause2. 45



A mobile device that augments strength could help reduce strains that lead to injury, lost work days, and forfeited compensation. Our take on this issue was to add strength to the arm. In our development cycle, we focused on the elbow joint for the bicep curl and extension. By using a backpackmounted motor and cable drive system, it was feasible to add more strength to the user. In turn, the rigid backplate and series of straps reinforced good posture for the user in avoiding strain related injuries. When recovering from debilitating injuries, physical therapy has become the standard and is crucial to recovery. The number of patients requiring care is far overshooting the number of therapists available. By 2050, the number of senior citizens in the US is estimated to reach 80 million. In addition, over 700,000 Americans suffer from strokes each year, many of whom suffer permanent limited mobility3. The increase in the aging population greatly impacts Japan as well, with the over-65 population to increase to 30% by 20254. An exoskeleton could provide a way to tackle this problem of healthcare, allowing a physical therapist to give care to many more patients than before. A medical device like this also has added benefits of quantitative data tracking. Titan focused on joint tracking for the entire arm, with data streaming and logging over time. This information becomes quite valuable for the patient to track their own progress daily, weekly, or monthly, almost turning physical therapy into a game-type scenario for improving. It also provides a way for patients to see the benefit of the often-times difficult and painful exercises they are performing. Therapists, in turn, could track patients remotely, removing the necessary constraint for in-person checkups. For a person whose life has already been interrupted by a debilitating injury, the necessity to travel to the clinic every week or so becomes an additional hassle. Good form could also be reinforced through the use of haptic interfaces — not unlike the rumble packs in video game controllers. Based on a user’s movement and trajectory, vibrational feedback could help alert the user to out-of-line motion. Already, some devices on the market work to help patients better follow their exercises. After months of work (and a spring break spent in the machine shop and prototyping labs), the Titan Arm was flicked on for the first time. That flip of the switch was just the start of a project that has become grander than any of the expectations of our team. The concept of exoskeletons seems to have struck a nerve, and people want to see more. From across the globe, emails have streamed in, penned by excited technologists with helpful suggestions, research professors interested in its future, and potential beta testers hoping to help out. 47

What does the future hold for exoskeletons? It is likely that exoskeletons will become more commonplace, especially in the medical world. More and more universities have been investigating robotic therapy. Penn Medicine in Philadelphia has recently opened up its own Robotic Rehabilitation Lab, joining the likes of University of Michigan and Berkley in investigative research for tracking user improvement through quantitative means and training sessions. Beyond just assisting with exercises, robotic therapy seems to be helping the brain rewire itself in the case of stroke. Brain plasticity is reorganisation of neural pathways in the brain based on experiences. For stroke victims, limb control can be severely impacted based on damaged neurons, making it difficult to perform activities of daily living (ADLs). At MIT, the MANUS project focused on the effects of brain plasticity due to robotic rehabilitation, and found positive correlations. A company has developed out of these studies, Interactive Motion Technologies, to develop robotic tools for neurorehabilitation professionals6. Exoskeletons will also benefit from the use of new input devices, such as brain or muscle impulses. The Myomo mPower 1000, a powered arm brace, can detect even faint muscle activity and amplify it using a motor in order to complete a task7. It is intended to increase arm movement for those affected by brain injury such as stroke, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, and more. 3D scanning and printing also provides an exciting way to customise these devices. Imagine getting measured and fitted, just like a tailored suit, for a powered exoskeleton. It would fit like a glove, removing any discomfort in daily use. With so much going on for exoskeletons, it is hard not to get excited.

References 1

“Pain in the Workplace.” In the Face of Pain. Purdue Pharma, n.d. Web.

6 June 2013. 2

“Nonfatal Occupational Injuries and Illnesses Requiring Days Away From

Work, 2011,” US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012. 3

American Heart Association. 2003. Heart disease and stroke statistics.

Web. 6 June 2013. 4

Japan’s National Institute of Population and Social Security Research.







Brite NEF Innovation Review Journal  
Brite NEF Innovation Review Journal