We all know that superbowl ads aren’t cheap. So picture this, I’m watching the super bowl, and an ad comes on for a mobile game app bearing the headline “Free to play”. I didn’t think much of it, until another “free-to-play” game app was advertised and my son told he me loves it.
Some Of The Most Disruptive Innovations Are From Lone Inventors
I was at an ideation session the other day where we gathered many people from all over the organization to come together and collaboratively develop forward-thinking productizable and patentable ideas. This client placed a high value on ideas generated collaboratively (who doesn’t nowadays?), even though they also had an individual inventor program.
Politics and Elections: There Has Got To Be a Better Way
Soon, Americans will go to the polls in their mostly yearly practice of getting interested in the workings of the state, and make a choice which they will have to live with for the next four years or so. In think, in this election especially, the world is watching, reviewing, and in some ways, trying to understand what seems to be an arcane electoral process which was put together over 200 years ago, by different men in different times. Even the dates were picked allowing for the kind of travel at the time – nowadays, why would it take two months for someone to move from wherever they lived to the White House?
Journalism is Dead. Can we revive it with the crowd, part 2?
Back in 2013, I wrote a post about the death of the above, mostly through the unbridled bias which I seeing at the time. If you ask me, true journalism is when a reporter simply reports – they look at the facts of whatever the situation is, then report those facts. Even though outfits like Fox News use the term “We Report. You Decide” they, like pretty much other media outlet, never really does the former.
There are still some things only humans can do
I remember visiting Yahoo! back in 1995, just before everything exploded here in Silicon Valley – I, along with a number of cable TV execs (we had come down from Toronto to meet with reps from @Home, Netscape and Yahoo! to get the lay of the land prior to launching our own cable internet service in Canada – think Xfinity. In the end we never met with Netscape, this being about a week before they went IPO and they ended up not having enough time for us) in our tight business suits and ties walked into the back of that industrial unit in Mountain View. I distinctly remember a few things from that meeting – how stodgy I felt in my suit and tie while everyone else was in ripped jeans and t-shirt (yep, even Jerry Yang, who we met with that day), when we walked in the first thing we saw was not a formal business reception desk, but someone in the lobby sitting at a workstation with a huge screen, surfing the internet. She was looking over links to add to Yahoo!, which at the time wasn’t even a search engine, but just a hand curated directory. She had a big dog lying across her lap and she was surfing away as we walked in. Someone met us in the lobby and escorted the 6 of us in stodgy suits and ties into a small conference room to the right. They told us to go to the kitchen if we wanted anything to drink and to help ourselves from the fridge there – I remember opening it and it was full of Jolt Cola and Twinkies (Jolt used to be the go-to drink for developers pulling all nighters – guess you could consider it the first energy drink – pre-Red Bull and Rock Star). Anyways, I had no idea where this was all going to go, but to us Canadian execs, used to corporate IT, it was a really different work environment from the one we were used to. (In retrospect, I should have probably asked Jerry for a job right then, but who knew, right?) We discussed creating the first non-US version of Yahoo!, Yahoo! Canada. Talks went well.
Is a recession in the cards?
Many pundits and investors, ranging from George Soros to Christine Lagarde to various analysts from various banks and investment companies have sounded the bell that a recession worse than 2008 is on its way this year (and just in time for US elections, how handy. But I digress.)
Are We Turning Into A Collective Consciousness?
Recently, I have been binge watching Star Trek: Voyager (such a geek, right – love those 90s hairstyles). One of the key premises of Star Trek (all versions save for the new JJ Abrams dreck) is that individuals can always triumph over a “collective”. The Borg was evil because it was a collective. When you were assimilated by the Borg (resistance is futile) you were robbed of your individuality, which meant being robbed of your humanity, since your humanity was inextricably tied to your individuality. The message: Individuality is good, the collective is bad.
The room was hushed.
The presenter had completed a very thorough presentation of using their tool to develop a robust innovation program, with all the fixings: the goals were clearly set out, the right people were involved at every level of the organization (yep, they had not one but two executive sponsors), the plan to reward the inventors was fully fleshed out and funded, the processes used to capture and review the ideas was set, a plan to funnel those ideas into the product or patent pipeline was nailed, and the marketing plan to communicate everything was detailed out. The program was launched, ran well with only a few minor glitches, and both the prototype and patent pipelines were full of interesting ideas. Employees had enjoyed the program, competing and collaborating with each other to know out some fantastic ideas, which were now sitting, ready to be built in the product pipeline, and invention disclosure forms were being filled out for some of the more far forward thinking ideas, so that they could capture the IP even they weren’t able to build the products immediately. News of the program had leaked into the press, and even analysts were looking at the company in a new light – could they innovate their ways out of the doldrums they seemed to be in.
How Wreckable Is Your Innovation Program
There are probably a few hundred ways in which to wreck your internal innovation program, so it took me a while to distil this down to a few of the most important ones. I also talked to a number of other innovation executives and got some great insights.
Ochlophobia – or sometimes known as Enochlopobia or Demophobia: Extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to crowds.
Interesting term, since the modern Greek word that I’m familiar with “enochlo” means to bother or bug someone. So “enochlophobia” in modern Greek translates to “fear of being bothered” 😉