«Accidental engineering: 10 mistakes turned into innovation»

«Mark Twain is quoted as saying, “Name the greatest of all inventors: Accident.”

»Here we take a look at 10 major discoveries, inventions, and inspirational moments that were, for the most part, come across by accident.

»Call it fate, call it chance, call it dumb luck, some of the following changed the path of science and engineering in significant ways. Some saved lives and some ended lives – some may have even discovered life – while others won Nobel Prizes and motivated the creation of such prizes, too.

»Read on and be sure to share other incidents of accidental engineering that you are aware of in the comments field.

»Life on Mars? Maybe

»When NASA landed its Spirit rover on Mars in January 2004, it planned for a 90-sol (solar day on Mars) mission. But, aided by cleaning events (a phenomenon where dust is removed from solar panels by wind) that resulted in higher power from its solar panels, Spirit went on to function effectively more than 20 times longer than NASA planners expected following mission completion.

»Two days into its extended mission term in March 2006, Spirit’s front wheel stopped working. The initial determinant caused the rover to drag its wheel as it continued on, somewhat like pushing a shopping cart along with a jammed front wheel.

»What was originally seen as an obstacle turned out to be a lucky break of sorts. The force of the dragged wheel scraped off the upper layer of the planet’s soil, uncovering a patch of ground that is believed to show evidence of a past environment that would have been suited for microbial life. It has been reported that the patch is similar to areas on Earth where water or steam from hot springs came into contact with volcanic rocks.

»NASA used this information in planning for the 2012 landing of Curiosity.

»Keep the feather duster away from Link’s lab

»When University of California, San Diego, graduate student Jamie Link was working on a silicon chip, it fell apart, breaking into little pieces.

»With the help of her professor Michael Sailor she discovered, however, that the tiny pieces were still functioning as sensors.

»While the concept of such “Smart Dust” was not new, Link and Sailor’s dust were the first self-assembling, programmable silicon particles. Each one is a mirrored surface modified to find and stick to a desired target, and to adjust its color slightly to let the observer know what it has found.

»Smart Dust, still in its infancy, is considered to have infinite applications.

»We < 3 Greatbatch

»Penicillin isn’t the only medical breakthrough discovered by accident.

»Engineer Wilson Greatbatch is said to have taken a major step forward in implantable pacemakers by blunder.

»Greatbatch was largely focused on the battery power source for existing pacemaker design. Meaning to build in a resistor to finish the circuit, he mistakenly used a 1-megaohm resistor instead of a 10,000-ohm one.

»The circuit pulsed for 1.8 milliseconds, then stopped for one second, then it repeated, just like a heartbeat.

»Ever flip an omelet? Thank this guy

»Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), what would become known as Teflon, was accidentally discovered in 1938 by Roy Plunkett, while he was working for Kinetic Chemicals in New Jersey.

»Plunkett was attempting to make a new chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) refrigerant when the tetrafluoroethylene gas in its pressure bottle stopped flowing before the bottle’s weight had dropped to the point signaling “empty.”


»Plunkett aimed to measure the amount of gas used by weighing the bottle, so he became curious as to the source of the weight. He broke the bottle apart and found the inside coated with a waxy white material that was oddly slippery.

»Analysis of the material showed that it was polymerized perfluoroethylene, with the iron from the inside of the container having acted as a catalyst at high pressure.

»Kinetic Chemicals, a DuPont company, patented the new fluorinated plastic in 1941, and registered the “Teflon” trademark in 1945.

»Teflon brand PTFE was used in the Manhattan Project as a material to coat valves and seals in the pipes holding highly reactive uranium hexafluoride at the vast K-25 uranium enrichment plant at Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

»PTFE, now commonly used to coat frying pans, didn’t make it into the kitchen until 1954 when French engineer Marc Grégoire created the first pan coated with Teflon non-stick resin under the brand name of Tefal.

»Mr. Engineer meet Mr. Goodbar

»During World War II, an American self-taught engineer named Percy Spencer was working at Raytheon.

»While running tests on an active microwave radar set, he noticed that the Mr. Goodbar candy bar he had in his pocket started to melt. The radar had melted his chocolate bar with microwaves.

»Spencer created a high density electromagnetic field by feeding microwave power from a magnetron into a secured metal box to test his theory. When food was placed in the box, its temperature rose rapidly.

»The first food to be deliberately cooked with Spencer’s microwave was popcorn. The second food to be cooked was an egg, which exploded in the face of one of the experimenters.

»Over the following decades, microwave ovens became commonplace in households.

»I’ve got one word for you ... Plastics

»First discovered in 1898, polyethylene, the most common plastic, was seen by chemists and researchers as having little use, with each discovery occurring by accident.

»In 1933, the first industrially practical polyethylene synthesis was discovered by Eric Fawcett and Reginald Gibson. During high-pressure experiments on ethylene, a test vessel had leaked and a trace of oxygen was present in the chemists’ fresh ethylene sample, acting as an initiator. Polyethylene formed overnight.

»After some convincing by the chemists, their employer, ICI (Imperial Chemical Industries), saw use for the substance and moved toward patents and production.

»More research would come during World War II, in which the plastic would play an important role, and common polyethylene production would follow in the late 1950s, but not until the 1970s did the plastic benefit from the incorporation of magnesium chloride for added flexibility. Although that addition was not by accident and indeed intentional.

»Weatherproof rubber

»In the winter of 1839, Charles Goodyear found himself in and out of jail for debt, leaving his starving family to fend for themselves while he experimented and researched with sticky gum rubber.

»The story varies depending on who’s telling it, but Goodyear’s discovery is widely celebrated as one of history’s most serendipitous accidents.

»As the story goes, Goodyear entered a general store to show off his latest gum-and-sulphur formula. When heckled by the locals, he got angry and waved his fistful of sticky gum in the air. Some of the gum flew from his fist and landed on the hot potbellied stove.

»Goodyear went to scrape it off but found that instead of melting as he expected, it had charred like leather. Weatherproof rubber had been discovered. Until then, rubber would melt in hot temperatures and crack in cold temperatures.

»Goodyear himself denied the story saying that, like Newton’s falling apple, it was merely a story and that only those who perseveringly applied themselves made such monumental discoveries.

»A most X-cellent invention

»Be it for medical purposes or airport security, X-rays have proven their worth time and time again since their accidental discovery in November 1895.

»While there were many scientists and engineers studying the field at the time, German physicist Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen (or Roentgen, depending on which history book you pick up) is largely credited with having first produced and detected electromagnetic radiation in a wavelength range today known as X-rays when he was studying the phenomena accompanying the passage of an electric current through a gas of extremely low pressure.

»He happened to observe that, as a cathode-ray tube was being operated in a darkened room, paper covered with barium platinocyanide lying some distance from the tube “lit up with brilliant fluorescence.”

»The fluorescence of barium platinocyanide was used at the time to establish the presence of invisible rays of the solar spectrum. On this occasion, however, the tube had been surrounded by a close-fitting shield of black cardboard.

»He theorized that when the cathode rays (electrons) struck the glass wall of the tube, some unknown radiation was formed that traveled across the room, struck the chemical, and caused the fluorescence. Further investigation revealed that paper, wood, and aluminum, among other materials, are transparent to this new form of radiation.

»Röntgen took the first X-ray photographs of the bones in his wife’s hand and published a paper on his findings in December 1895. He was awarded the 1901 Nobel Prize in Physics for the work.


»Get JJ Walker on the phone, because this next invention is dynamite!

»Swedish chemist and engineer Alfred Nobel was attempting to stabilize nitroglycerin and had to transport the explosive liquid for his work.

»In doing so, one of the cans carrying the nitroglycerin accidentally opened and leaked. The cans were packed in kieselguhr, a sedimentary rock mixture, that quickly absorbed the nitroglycerin.

»Nobel, who had lost his brother to a nitroglycerin explosion, began exploring kieselguhr as a stabilizer for explosives.

»He developed a formula that allowed the explosive to be mixed with kieselguhr without hindering its power and patented the product in 1867, eventually naming it dynamite.

»Nobel intended dynamite for construction practices. But it is said that the destruction that dynamite would bring in coming wars encouraged Nobel to create the Nobel Peace Prize in his will.

»That cool noise is just a side effect

»Velcro, used in everything from sneakers to NASA space suits, was inspired by nothing more than a prickly burr seed.

»George de Mestral, an electrical engineer, returned from a 1941 hunting outing with his dog and noticed burrs stuck to his clothing and the pup’s fur. De Mestral saw how perfectly the burrs bound and broke out his microscope to investigate.

»He discovered Mother Nature had designed the seeds with numerous tiny hooks that could easily attach to fabric or hair.

»De Mestral was laughed at by fellow engineers who saw the fabric swatches with tiny hooks and loops he developed as useless. But he pushed on, moving from cotton to nylon as the material for his invention in 1955, the same year he received a patent.

»De Mestral was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame for his invention in Alexandria, Va.»

EDN, Suzanne Deffree

Innovation Posts Collection December 24 to 27

Carlos Marqueríe, «El Mercado de la Innovación Abierta (2013)

Correio do Minho, «Mosteiro de Tibães recebeu prémio Inovação e Criatividade»

Cynthia Giguere-Martel, «Valoriser et stimuler la nouvelle génération d’entrepreneurs. 16e Concours québécois en entrepreneuriat au Centre-du-Québec»

Darío Drucaroff, «Argentina y su encrucijada en el mapa de la innovación»

Diario de Pernambuco, «Bom Jardim terá Centro de Inovação e Produção para costureiras»

Estadão, «Inovação chinesa»

Etalab, «Dataconnexions #4 : Découvrez les huit lauréats de cette édition!»

Europa Press, «Diputación de Granada avanza en la puesta en funcionamiento del centro agroalimentario de innovación del Poniente»

Fabrice Dersy, «Quand les talents font la différence»

Greensavers, «Incubadora de inovação da Universidade de Lisboa facturou €6 milhões em 2013»

Kari Embree, «Pharmapack Europe 2014 focuses on innovation»

Le Moniteur, «Une initiative européenne pour développer l’innovation technologique ferroviaire»

Márcia Galrão com Lusa, «É preciso continuar a estruturar um mercado de trabalho ágil»

Marta F. Reis, «Think tank propõe fundo público para suportar custos da inovação»

Patrick A. Hyek, «Six global trends shaping the business world (Rapid technology innovation creates a smart, mobile world)»

Porvir, «9 passos para deixar a inovação acontecer. A recompensa é uma criatividade libertadora que torna o ensino emocionante e divertido»

Rodrigo de Oliveira Andrade, «Os selvagens do asfalto»

Ron Ruggless, «10 trends shaping the restaurant industry in 2014»

Silvia Torres Carbonell, «Innovación emprendedora, la clave de la competitividad»

Terry Slavin, «Disconnect between profit maximisation and social innovation»


«Pharmapack Europe 2014 focuses on innovation»

«The thirteenth edition of the Pharmapack Europe event will take place on 12-13 February 2014 at Paris Expo, Porte de Versailles. More than 3,000 visitors and 330 exhibitors from over 70 countries will gather in the new exhibition hall to review the latest innovations and trends in packaging and delivery systems for medications and healthcare products.

»For several years, the event was held in the north of Paris, initially at the Cité des Sciences and, subsequently, at the Grande Halle de la Villette, where it grew into a major event. Now, Pharmapack Europe is moving to the Porte de Versailles, in the south of the French capital. This change of location is a natural consequence following the success of the 2013 edition, which drew a record-breaking 3,000 visitors and 305 exhibitors. “As we expect even greater numbers of participants for the 2014 edition, we have opted for a larger space capable of accommodating around 330 exhibitors. In addition, this new site is located at the edge of central Paris and offers easy access, enabling the event to pursue its international development by providing more extensive top-quality services and facilities to suit professionals arriving from throughout the world”, explains Aurore Domange, Event Manager of Pharmapack Europe. In this new location, as at previous editions, visitors to the event will find the same convivial atmosphere that has proven so conducive to effective networking and productive discussions of ongoing and forthcoming projects.

»Meeting current expectations and planning for the future

»As the leading European conference and exhibition in the field of pharmaceutical packaging and drug delivery systems, Pharmapack Europe remains true to its primary objective: to reflect the issues of concern to healthcare industry stakeholders and to showcase the major trends in the sector, both in terms of emerging markets and technological innovation. “The event’s logo has thus been updated to highlight the growing importance of delivery systems, in particular for injectable treatments, which account for around 80% of the healthcare products currently in development.

»These systems, which constitute an essential part of a medication and its packaging, represent a market that is growing strongly and driving innovation forward”, states Aurore Domange. In keeping with its aim to meet the expectations of the healthcare industry, Pharmapack Europe will offer, once again, an edition packed with new features, as well as a top-quality conference and technical symposium programme alongside a first-rate exhibition.

»The theme for the 2014 edition will be compliance and safety. These topics, which are central to current public healthcare challenges, will be addressed by an international panel of industrial, institutional and academic specialists. It is important to note that the 2014 conference programme will provide an opportunity for patient associations, as well as medication manufacturers, packaging specialists and healthcare professionals (hospital pharmacists, doctors, etc.), to express their needs with respect to the new packaging and delivery solutions put forward. “Pharmapack Europe is a showcase for technology and an incubator for innovations in packaging and drug delivery for healthcare products. The event brings together key healthcare stakeholders and offers the opportunity to consider the trends and innovations of the future, taking into account the difficulties faced by carers, patients, medication manufacturers and providers of solutions, from the design phase through to finished products”, emphasises Aurore Domange.

»Semi-scientific conferences focused on innovation

»The 2014 conference programme will highlight the latest innovations in packaging and drug delivery systems intended to improve compliance and delivery of treatments, as well as the safety of patients and carers. More generally, top-level presentations will provide a comprehensive overview of changes to regulations, new market trends, and technological progress towards more effective solutions in terms of reducing costs and environmental impact. Particular emphasis will be given to innovation in delivery systems for injectables.

»All of these issues will be addressed during four thematic sessions chaired by well renowned experts:

»Session 1 - Drug Delivery and Drug/Device Combination Products

»- Joel Richard, Ph.D., Vice President, Peptides, CMC & Engineering, IPSEN

»- Dr. Yves T. Tillet, CEO, White-Tillet Consultants & Experts

»Session 2 - Packaging of Liquid and Injectable Forms

»- Franck Pavan, Business Development Manager, Aquitaine Pharm International, Pierre Fabre Médicament Production

»- Jean-Louis Saubion, Hospital Pharmacist, Clinical Trials Coordinator, Hôpital Universitaire de Bordeaux

»Session 3 - Packaging: Proper medicinal drug use and patient safety

»- Prof. Philippe Arnaud, Hospital Pharmacist, Pharmacy Department Manager - Hôpital Bichat-Claude Bernard AP-HP, ANSM expert.

»- David Dronneau, Technology, Innovation, Process & Solutions Manager in R&D Clinical Supplies, Sanofi

»Session 4 - Future Healthcare Packaging: Materials, Sustainability and Collaborative Innovation

»- Patrick Vuillermoz, General Manager, Plastipolis

»- Dr. Pascal Bezou, R&D Scientific Project Manager/IV Set Project Manager, B. Braun Medical SAS

»Technical symposium for better implementation of serialisation and Track & Trace

»This year, the technical symposium returns with an entire day dedicated to serialisation and Track & Trace, entitled “How to understand and deploy all aspects of Track & Trace in the pharmaceutical industry”. This has proven to be a major issue of late. A series of presentations and round tables will enable participants to discuss the technological and regulatory challenges of implementing serialisation and Track & Trace with the sector’s experts. These meetings with experts will also offer manufacturers of healthcare products the opportunity to seek answers to the problems that they encounter in the field.

»Wide-ranging expertise for the pharmaceutical packaging supply chain

»Pharmapack Europe 2014 will bring together more than 330 suppliers and subcontractors from four continents, in a newly refurbished exhibition hall. The number of companies exhibiting has increased by 10 percent relative to 2013.

»The loyalty rate is also on the up, with 85 percent of exhibitors returning this year. Likewise, the proportion of international exhibitors is growing and is forecast at 65percent for 2014, with record participation from German-speaking countries (Germany, Switzerland and Austria). The exhibition, which will welcome 63 new companies, is enhancing its scope, in particular with companies specialising in polymers, injection moulding for injectable delivery systems and medical devices, labelling systems and serialisation. These expertise, which are developing in parallel with the current trends in the sector, complements the existing range of knowledge on show at Pharmapack Europe, which includes the design and manufacture of primary, secondary and tertiary packaging as well as drug delivery systems.

»Another new feature at Pharmapack Europe 2014 will be an Innovation Gallery, located in the exhibition area. This showcase will focus on the latest innovations developed by the exhibitors, including the products put forward for the Pharmapack Awards. Intended as a technological intelligence tool, the Innovation Gallery will enable decision-makers from laboratories and the medical industry (including managers in R&D, purchasing, procurement, production and business development) to gain a comprehensive and instant overview of the new solutions available on the market.

»Pharmapack Awards 2014: rewarding and promoting innovation

»One of the most awaited moments of Pharmapack Europe 2014 is the Pharmapack Awards ceremony, which will take place at the end of the first morning of the exhibition. The judging panel will present awards for medications, medical devices, healthcare products and veterinary medicines marketed between January and December 2013. Particular attention will be paid to progress in smart packaging and to innovations that result in significant improvements to the correct use of medications and compliance with treatments. Entries must be submitted to UBM Canon (pharmapack@ubm.com) before 23 December 2013.»

Packaging Digest, Kari Embree, Senior Digital Content Editor


«10 trends shaping the restaurant industry in 2014»

«Menu innovation and older consumers’ increased spending are among the top 10 trends shaping the restaurant industry in 2014, according to The NPD Group.

»The Port Washington, N.Y.-based market research firm released its list of predictions for the industry in the year ahead and beyond, ranging from the impact of baby boomers and seniors to the effect of prepared meals at supermarkets on market share.

»“If there is anything that’s a common theme here — maybe more so than in years past — it’s menu innovation, “ said NPD Group restaurant industry analyst Bonnie Riggs.

»New top-selling products of 2013, such as Wendy’s pretzel bun burger and Taco Bell’s Doritos Locos Tacos, were based on innovation, Riggs said.

»“Those that came out with something really different and unique had big hits,” she said. “That’s what it is going to take to get especially the Millennials and younger folks out of the home and back into restaurants.”

»However, operators should also closely watch the increased spending among baby boomers and seniors, as this group is “keeping the industry afloat,” Riggs added. “They are the ones that are increasing their usage of restaurants, while those younger — under 50 — have pulled back dramatically and are still pulling back,” Riggs said.

»Baby boomers’ and seniors’ usage rate of restaurants is now heavier than younger generations, she said, and many of them continue to delay retirement. “They are the driver of any growth that the industry is achieving,” she added. “They tell us they want comfortable seating, less noisy restaurants [and] a menu that is easy to read. We need to pay attention to them.”

»NPD’s top 10 trends it expects to influence the restaurant industry also included:

»• An improving economy. Real disposable income is forecast to grow, inflation will remain moderate, and unemployment will continue to inch down in the year ahead.

»“While consumers’ mindset for cautious, controlled spending is expected to remain in place for some time, our forecast of traffic and dollar growth for 2014 shows improved performance compared to 2013,” NPD said.

»• Segment strengths. NPD forecasts indicate that traffic will build for fast-casual restaurants, sub shops and gourmet coffee/donut outlets.

»“Additionally, convenience stores are likely to experience traffic growth as they take advantage of consumers’ current tendency to ‘trade down’ from more expensive options,” NPD said, adding that food retailers with convenient meal options would capture more visits from traditional restaurants.

»“Those supermarket meal sales are growing at double-digit rates for lunch, and also growing for dinner at rates much higher than for the industry overall,” Riggs said, citing Whole Foods Market and Mariano’s Fresh Market.

»• Protein prices. An expected rise in beef prices and lower chicken prices will be reflected in menu offerings.

»“You’ll see an increased focus on other proteins because of the high cost of beef,” Riggs said.

»• Population shifts and diversity impacts on menus. The influence of the growing U.S. Hispanic population is reflected in the increased popularity of fruits, juice drinks and more flavorful spices and seasonings, NPD said. And the growing Asian population carries its influence on menus, as well, with noodles, rice, specialty sauces, and other foods and flavors.

»• Strong baby boomer and senior spending. Boomers and their older counterparts have been less affected by prolonged high unemployment and the recession, NPD reported.

»“These individuals have continued to visit restaurants at an ever-increasing rate,” NPD said. “While their food and beverage preferences may differ from those of the younger set, many older consumers are bringing their ‘younger’ preferences with them.”

»• Changing incentives. Paper coupons gave way years ago to tiered pricing strategies, combo meal offers, sweepstakes and value menu items. With greater online availability, coupons are again popular, NPD said, but loyalty rewards are also increasing.

»“Going forward, rotating offers and creating new ways to entice consumers to visit must be a part of any operator’s marketing plan,” NPD said.

»• Mobile technology. Mobile devices continue to grow as important tools for consumers, who expect most of their needs to be met with the devices, NPD said. Consumers’ use of mobile devices for ordering and paying for meals and reporting on the meal experience will continue to grow.

»• Healthful menu offerings. Consumers’ interest in healthful meal options is tied to the health needs of boomers and older individuals, the growth in ethnic groups accustomed to fresh food preparation, and greater awareness of the need for and benefits of healthful eating among younger patrons. As an example, NPD found a growing number of consumers who prefer gluten-free foods, not because of required dietary restrictions, but because of the benefits of overall more healthful eating.

»• Fine-dining strength. “Fine dining, from our view, has fully recovered from the recession and is growing,” NPD said.

»The segment will continue to offer more casual décor and accept casual attire.

»• New concepts. NPD said the industry can expect more innovation from new concepts, such as Houston-based My Fit Foods, with more than 60 units, and Chicago-based Lyfe Kitchen, with four units. Both address the interest in fresh and healthful food, as well as portion options.

»“This plays into giving consumers more choices and healthier options,” Riggs said. “These concepts allow consumers to buy different sized portions: small-, medium- and large-sized. You can eat very healthy. There’s a lot of innovation and flavor profiles in those offerings.”»

Nation’s Restaurant News, Ron Ruggless


«Six global trends shaping the business world (Rapid technology innovation creates a smart, mobile world)»

«Summary: Smart technology offers the promise of remote access to health care and education, while blurring boundaries between industries. The power of the individual will grow and new competitors will emerge, disrupting industries and creating new business models.

»Over the past 25 years, the digital revolution has changed the way we work and play almost beyond recognition. Yet the smart, interconnected world we live in now is still neither as smart, nor as connected, as we would like it to be.

»Consumers want more powerful devices and applications, while businesses seek more cost-effective technology to cope with increasingly complex challenges.

»Satisfying these demands will lead to explosive growth in data and analytics, to new competition in almost every field, and to the disruption and realignment of many industries.

»Specifically, we expect to see the following changes:

»Businesses will compete on analytics to differentiate themselves

»The growing number of embedded sensors collecting information about the world, and the rise of social networks that store the data people share, will generate immense quantities of information. IDC, a market research firm, suggests that the amount of digital information created each year will increase to 35 trillion gigabytes by 2020, requiring 44 times more data storage than in 2009.

»For example, telematics applications, similar to global positioning systems, will allow organizations to send, receive and store information via telecommunications devices while controlling remote objects.

»Although commonly associated with the automotive industry, telematics applications are being developed for use in medical informatics, health care and other fields. Despite these advances in technology, simply collecting and managing the massive volumes of data will provide minimal value.

»The real payback comes when business intelligence is applied to enable companies to make better strategic decisions.

»Business intelligence, which enables organizations to gather quantifiable data on each area of the organization and analyze it in a way that yields information they can act on — helping them enhance decision making, improve performance, mitigate risk and sometimes even create new business models —; is growing in importance.

»Smart mobility will change the way people interact

»Increasingly, smart devices — portable tools that connect to the internet — have become a part of our lives. In the last quarter of 2010, sales of smartphones outpaced those of PCs for the first time, according to data from IDC.

»By 2014, more smart devices could be used to access the internet than traditional computers. The move to an increasingly mobile world will create new players and new opportunities for a variety of industries.

»We expect that new emerging market companies will be significant competitors, growing rapidly in part because a lack of legacy systems will enable them to profit more quickly from new technology as it becomes available.

»Emerging markets will create plenty of opportunities related to smart technology, and they will not be limited to for-profit enterprises

»In Kenya, for example, mobile phones are being used to collect data and report on disease-specific issues from more than 175 health centers serving over 1 million people. This technology has reduced the cost of the country’s health information system by 25% and cut the time needed to report the information from four weeks to one week.

»Technology blurs boundaries

»Many industries will be disrupted by the consequences of technology innovation. The “blur” created by digital technologies will intertwine geographies, economies, industries, products and even private and business lives. Technology insiders have long spoken of “true convergence,” and this is it.

»As smart devices become increasingly accepted, companies will move into adjacent markets to exploit new revenue models such as mobile commerce and mobile payment systems. Already, a number of data and tech giants are jockeying for position.

»As these waves of disruption continue, whole new markets will be created even as long-established businesses are destroyed. In this changing environment, network providers, for example, will be faced with a choice: either evolve into the role of innovation provider, or be content simply to serve as a utility.

»Over the long term, the ultimate blurring of boundaries might take the form of Web 3.0 — often called the “semantic web” — a term that refers to functions and activities involving the integration of machines, the web and human beings. Currently the stuff of science fiction, the semantic web is nevertheless an area to watch.

»Cloud computing takes off — finally

»Analysts have been talking about cloud computing for years, but cloud-based services are finally starting to take off.

»By 2016, Gartner, a consultancy, expects all Forbes’ Global 2000 companies to use public cloud services, transforming much of the current IT hardware, software and database markets into infinitely flexible utilities.

»When cloud computing becomes widespread, it will transform businesses and business models, potentially reducing both initial and recurring costs for IT buyers, increasing their flexibility and lowering their risks. What’s not to like about an infinitely scalable, pay-as-you-go business model?

»Despite concerns related to data security, privacy and business continuity, its value proposition makes the success of cloud computing inevitable. Over time, cloud-based services will grow increasingly sophisticated and evolve into full-scale business processes as a service.

»The power of the individual will spur innovation

»Google, Facebook, Twitter, smartphones, tablets and e-readers — technologies that originated in the consumer space — are now reshaping the way companies communicate and collaborate with employees, partners and customers.

»Through the new possibilities for “social listening,” businesses are able to better understand what their customers and employees need and want.

»More change can be expected when the generation that has grown up with new technologies and instant information gratification joins the workforce.

»For example, by 2014, Gartner forecasts that social networks will become the main form of business communication for 20% of employees worldwide.

»Government’s role in innovation grows

»Governments will increasingly become involved in technology, investing in a broad range of applications — from home-grown innovation incubators to local manufacturing sites that create jobs and manage geopolitical risk.

»In cloud computing, for example, governments are taking the lead, much as the US did in the development of the internet.

»In China, the Beijing Academy of Science and Technology has built the country’s largest industrial cloud-computing platform, designed to serve small- and medium-sized enterprises in government-supported industries, including biotech, pharmaceuticals, new energy and knowledge-intensive manufacturing.

»At the same time, governments haven’t forgotten their regulatory role. As citizens share more personal data on websites such as Facebook, many governments are considering regulations to protect citizens’ privacy and corporations’ data.

»The EU is developing stricter privacy rules, including an “online right to be forgotten,” which would require websites to delete data permanently at an individual’s request.

»However, the public pressure to strengthen privacy protection through legislative means is likely to vary by region. Consumers in regions such as North America, for example, seem willing to trade some privacy in return for customized service.»

Ernst & Young Global Limited, Patrick A. Hyek, Global Technology Sector Leader, Ernst & Young


«Disconnect between profit maximisation and social innovation»

«Investments that pay dividends to society will take time to bear fruit, accountants need to develop new metrics to value customer-centric businesses

»If social innovation is changing how companies do business, there will need to be new ways of measuring success.

»One of the strongest messages that came out of the Guardian Sustainable Business workshop last week was the disconnect between the profits-obsessed myopia of the corporate world, and the fact that investments that pay dividends to society will take a long time to bear fruit. They will also be difficult to put a financial figure on.

»One participant said: “If your incentive structure is to get a return in three years, it clearly doesn’t facilitate long-term investments. The big problem is measuring the impact of long term social investments. How do you quantify it and assess whether it is delivering or not?”

»Paul Ellingstad, who leads social innovation programmes at IT giant Hewlett-Packard, said many of the companies that have made the early running in investing in social innovation, such as Unilever, Nestle, Proctor and Gamble, Cisco, IBM, and his own company, “are going on faith that the business case will be borne out”.

»For social innovation to succeed, he said, accountants will have to develop new metrics putting a value on nebulous issues such as health impacts or pollution.

»“The model of being fixated on maximising profits for shareholders has been successful through a spin of accounting techniques and not accurately quantifying what until now were considered externalities,” he said.

»He admitted that coming up with new metrics would not be easy, but there were parallels with how companies are now beginning to put a value on customer satisfaction and loyalty.

»“It has taken a long time to be able to quantify the value of customer-centric business models. By the same respect, it will take time for new social metrics to develop.”

»Charmian Love, co-founder and director of Volans, said some CEOs are doing their best to fight the short-termism of the City. She said Paul Polman, chief executive of Unilever, was notable in refusing to give quarterly share guidance to the City, while Kingfisher boss Ian Cheshire has announced that DIY chain B&Q would stop selling patio heaters for environmental reasons, despite the fact they were profitable.

»But the true champions of social innovation could be beavering away in less lofty positions than the CEO’s office. “I truly believe accountants will save the world,” Love said.»

The Guardian, Terry Slavin

Innovation Posts Collection December 17 to 20

Atlantico, «La désindustrialisation nous condamne-t-elle à vivre dans un désert d’innovations ?»

Davi Lira, «Rede social democratiza acesso à inovação acadêmica»

Dean Takahashi, «IBM reveals its top five innovation predictions for the next five years»

El Economista, «Brasil fica na penúltima posição em ranking de competitividade entre 15 países, aponta CNI»

el Periódico, «Barcelona busca evolucionar de la mano de la innovación abierta»

Elena Arrieta, «BBVA da un paso al frente en big data»

Europa Press, «Organizados por la Asociación Internet & Euskadi: El blog de Caja Laboral bancaparaempresas.com y la red social Spotbros, premios Buber Sariak 2013. Galardonados también la web de difusión de patrimonio Reharq.com; el portal del movimiento asociativo vitoriano y Euskalkultura.com»

Gabriela Costa, «Mudança na comunidade educativa faz-se com inovação»

Gabriela Costa, «Luís Simões: Trabalho, persistência e complementaridade»

Hostnews.es, «Thinktur impulsará la creación de una plataforma tecnológica europea y latinoamericana del turismo»

Kevin Gavin, «Pittsburgh: A Hive of Learning Innovation. The Pittsburgh region will continue as a “Hive Network”»

Litza Mattos, «Sem investimento e inovação, combate à criminalidade cai»

Marco Vaza, «A melhor táctica é marcar um autogolo»

New Indian Express, «Second Innovation Lab of India Opens for Bangalore Kids»

O País, «PTF emociona embaixador de Portugal»

Patrick Van Campenhout, «Près de 2 milliards pour l’innovation et les PME belges. C’est la part du programme de développement européen de 79 milliards d’euros»

Pierre-Marie Mateo, «L’économie israélienne dépend du succès de l’innovation technologique»

SourceWire News Distribution, «Tech innovation gives children in hospital a magical escape at Christmas»

Tribuna do Norte, «Inovação, superação e projetos em cinco histórias de sucesso empresarial»

Yves Vilagines, «Air Liquide inaugure un “fab lab” à Paris»


«IBM reveals its top five innovation predictions for the next five years»

«The IBM “5 in 5″ is the eighth year in a row that IBM has made predictions about technology, and this year’s prognostications are sure to get people talking. We discussed them with Bernie Meyerson, the vice president of innovation at IBM, and he told us that the goal of the predictions is to better marshal the company’s resources in order to make them come true.

»“We try to get a sense of where the world is going because that focuses where we put our efforts,” Meyerson said. “The harder part is nailing down what you want to focus on. Unless you stick your neck out and say this is where the world is going, it’s hard to you can turn around and say you will get there first. These are seminal shifts. We want to be there, enabling them.”

»(See our complete interview with Meyerson here).

»In a nutshell, IBM says:

» • The classroom will learn you.

» • Buying local will beat online.

» • Doctors will use your DNA to keep you well.

»• A digital guardian will protect you online.

» • The city will help you live in it.

»Meyerson said that this year’s ideas are based on the fact that everything will learn. Machines will learn about us, reason, and engage in a much more natural and personalized way. IBM can already figure out your personality by deciphering 200 of your tweets, and its capability to read your wishes will only get better. The innovations are being enabled by cloud computing, big data analytics (the company recently formed its own customer-focused big data analytics lab), and adaptive learning technologies. IBM believes the technologies will be developed with the appropriate safeguards for privacy and security, but each of these predictions raises additional privacy and security issues.

»As computers get smarter and more compact, they will be built into more devices that help us do things when we need them done. IBM believes that these breakthroughs in computing will amplify our human abilities. The company came up with the predictions by querying its 220,000 technical people in a bottoms-up fashion and tapping the leadership of its vast research labs in a top-down effort.

»Here’s some more detailed description and analysis on the predictions.

»The classroom will learn you

»Globally, two out of three adults haven’t gotten the equivalent of a high school education. But IBM believes the classrooms of the future will give educators the tools to learn about every student, providing them with a tailored curriculum from kindergarten to high school.

»“Your teacher spends time getting to know you every year,” Meyerson said. “What if they already knew everything about how you learn?”

»In the next five years, IBM believes teachers will use “longitudinal data” such as test scores, attendance, and student behavior on electronic learning platforms — and not just the results of aptitude tests. Sophisticated analytics delivered over the cloud will help teachers make decisions about which students are at risk, their roadblocks, and the way to help them. IBM is working on a research project with the Gwinnett County Public Schools in Georgia, the 14th largest school district in the U.S. with 170,000 students. The goal is to increase the district’s graduation rate. And after a $10 billion investment in analytics, IBM believes it can harness big data to help students out.

»“You’ll be able to pick up problems like dyslexia instantly,” Meyerson said. “If a child has extraordinary abilities, they can be recognized. With 30 kids in a class, a teacher cannot do it themselves. This doesn’t replace them. It allows them to be far more effective. Right now, the experience in a big box store doesn’t resemble this, but it will get there.”

»Buying local will beat online

»Online sales topped $1 trillion worldwide last year, and many physical retailers have gone out of business as they fail to compete on price with the likes of Amazon. But innovations for physical stores will make buying local turn out better. Retailers will use the immediacy of the store and proximity to customers to create experiences that online-only retail can’t replicate. The innovations will bring the power of the Web right to where the shopper can touch it. Retailers could rely on artificial intelligence akin to IBM’s Watson, which played Jeopardy better than many human competitors. The Web can make sales associates smarter, and augmented reality can deliver more information to the store shelves. With these technologies, stores will be able to anticipate what a shopper most wants and needs.

»And they won’t have to wait two days for shipping.

»“The store will ask if you would like to see a certain camera and have a salesperson meet you in a certain aisle where it is located,” Meyerson said. “The ability to do this painlessly, without the normal hassle of trying to find help, is very powerful.”

»This technology will get so good that online retailers are likely to set up retail showrooms to help their own sales.

»“It has been physical against online,” Meyerson said. “But in this case, it is combining them. What that enables you to do is that mom-and-pop stores can offer the same services as the big online retailers. The tech they have to serve you is as good as anything in online shopping. It is an interesting evolution but it is coming.”

»Doctors will use your DNA to keep you well

»Global cancer rates are expected to jump by 75 percent by 2030. IBM wants computers to help doctors understand how a tumor affects a patient down to their DNA. They could then figure out what medications will best work against the cancer, and fulfill it with a personalized cancer treatment plan. The hope is that genomic insights will reduce the time it takes to find a treatment down from weeks to minutes.

»“The ability to correlate a person’s DNA against the results of treatment with a certain protocol could be a huge breakthrough,” Meyerson said. It’ll be able to scan your DNA and find out if any magic bullet treatments exist that will address your particular ailment.

»IBM recently made a breakthrough with a nanomedicine that it can engineer to latch on to fungal cells in the body and attack them by piercing their cell membranes. The fungi won’t be able to adapt to these kinds of physical attacks easily. That sort of advance, where the attack is tailored against particular kinds of cells, will be more common in the future.

»A digital guardian will protect you online

»We have multiple passwords, identifications, and devices than ever before. But security across them is highly fragmented. In 2012, 12 million people were victims of identity fraud in the U.S. In five years, IBM envisions a digital guardian that will become trained to focus on the people and items it’s entrusted with. This smart guardian will sort through contextual, situational, and historical data to verify a person’s identity on different devices. The guardian can learn about a user and make an inference about behavior that is out of the norm and may be the result of someone stealing that person’s identity. With 360 degrees of data about someone, it will be much harder to steal an identity.

»“In this case, you don’t look for the signature of an attack,” Meyerson said. “It looks at your behavior with a device and spots something anomalous. It screams when there is something out of the norm.”

»The city will help you live in it

»IBM says that, by 2030, the towns and cities of the developing world will make up 80 percent of urban humanity and by 2050, seven out of every 10 people will be a city dweller. To deal with that growth, the only way cities can manage is to have automation, where smarter cities can understand in real-time how billions of events occur as computers learn to understand what people need, what they like, what they do, and how they move from place to place.

»IBM predicts that cities will digest information freely provided by citizens to place resources where they are needed. Mobile devices and social engagement will help citizens strike up a conversation with their city leaders. Such a concept is already in motion in Brazil, where IBM researchers are working with a crowdsourcing tool that people can use to report accessibility problems, via their mobile phones, to help those with disabilities better navigate urban streets.

»Of course, as in the upcoming video game Watch Dogs from Ubisoft, a bad guy could hack into the city and use its monitoring systems in nefarious ways. But Meyerson said, “I’d rather have the city linked. Then I can protect it. You have an agent that looks over the city. If some wise guy wants to make the sewage pumps run backwards, the system will shut that down.”

»The advantage of the ultraconnected city is that feedback is instantaneous and the city government can be much more responsive.»

VentureBeat, Dean Takahashi


«Second Innovation Lab of India Opens for Bangalore Kids»

«Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum, on Thursday started the second ‘Innovation Lab’ in the country.

»The lab, which is the brainchild of the National Innovation Council, will be established in all metropolitan cities to provide students place and equipment to innovate.

»“Many students who showcased their experiments had a glint in their eyes. This shows that they are excited about science. However, you have to go beyond what you have shown today. You have to challenge your mind and ask what you can do differently,” said Biocon chairperson Kiran Mazumdar Shaw. She was speaking at the inauguration of the lab after watching several demonstrations by students.

»Shaw said the city needed innovation as Information Technology (IT) was not being used enough to find solutions for Bangalore’s problems.

»“We are the hub for IT innovation but we still don’t use enough IT. We are missing out on opportunities to find simple technology- based solutions for our problems,” she said.

»The lab will be open to students on weekends and holidays. Interested children can register to become a member of the lab.

»“There will be a resource centre for information, an idea lab where you can work on ideas you have come up with, a ‘Tod, Phod, Jod’(break and make) and a Kabad se Jugaad (make from scrap) area where you can dismantle several instruments and put them back together to understand how they work or create something from scrap materials,” said GS Rautela, director general of National Council of Science Museums.»

New Indian Express


«Pittsburgh: A Hive of Learning Innovation. The Pittsburgh region will continue as a “Hive Network”»

«The MacArthur Foundation, which selected Pittsburgh in February as just the third “hive” in the nation, following New York and Chicago, has re-authorized and funded the project for another two years.

»The goal of the Hive Network is to expand learning for young people beyond schools to museums, libraries, afterschool programs and community centers. Participating organizations offer programs to engage youth in learning based on their interests.

»“It is all of the innovative programs that are occurring in and out of school that are harnessing the tools and technologies that meet kids where they are, that build on the basics and prepare them with the critical skills and opportunities that they will need to succeed in life,” said Cathy Lewis Long, executive director of the Sprout Fund, which administers the Pittsburgh Hive Network.

»Long announced the reauthorization of the Hive at the annual assembly of the Kids+Creativity Network, a collaboration of organizations working together to remake learning for children in the Pittsburgh area.

»She said the innovative, creative approaches to connecting kids with learning aren’t always high tech.

»“Innovation isn’t necessarily tied to technology; it’s tied to the practice,” Long said. "So whether it’s a practice of making, whether it’s art or high tech or low tech, it’s really about the learning opportunity and the outcomes you’re getting for youth that’s making it innovative.”

»According to Long the Kids+Creativity Network sparked more than 60 innovative learning projects in 2013, and for the coming year she wants to strengthen “learning pathways in communities.”

»“You can have a strong learning opportunity within a school that is continued into the museum, into the library, online, into a conversation in your home with a caring adult—really that connected learning experience where academics, peer and social networks and interests really come together to create deeper learning,” Long said.

»Long said the combined efforts of education leaders, learning researchers, artists, roboticists and out-of-school program providers are vital.

»“Learning doesn’t stop at three o’clock,” she said. “Learning is anywhere, anytime, and it takes all the assets of a community to really contribute to good learning outcomes for young children.”»

90.5 WESA, Kevin Gavin


«Tech innovation gives children in hospital a magical escape at Christmas»

«Children spending Christmas in hospital this year are being offered a magical experience to escape their daily routine and the disappointment of being away from home.

»To help the children at Evelina London Children’s Hospital, part of the Guys and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, get through this time, London-based marketing agency RAPP has created a virtual adventure that will take them out of their hospital surroundings. The idea, conceived by RAPP creative team Matt Daymond and Mat Prime, means that children can be transported anywhere in the world, without even leaving the building.

»Mat said: “Being stuck in hospital as a child is a daunting and emotional time. And it’s especially tough at Christmas if they have to be away from their home and family.”

»RAPP has worked with Nottingham-based company Mission Room, to create an interactive and immersive experience, which will allow children to travel to wherever their hearts desire. Using 360-degree footage supplied by 360Cities.

»To be transported on this exciting journey, the child enters a self-contained pod. They can search for Santa on the moon, head underwater to explore a colourful coral reef, take in beautiful landscapes from a hot air balloon and spot Santa on his sleigh. They can go up the Shard and see Santa flying over the Thames. They can even go back in time and see Dinosaurs.

»To make it look like a true gift the pod has been wrapped up as a present, complete with a bow!

»Matt added: “This is an amazing tech experience that transports children out of hospital in a rich visual journey of imagination.”

»The team at RAPP who worked with Matt and Mat were: design director, Adrian Whatman; designer, Mella McKeown; project manager Clare Park; and account director, Natalie Green. The film was edited and produced by Ketan Raval at Amoveo.

»Nearly 100,000 children are treated at Evelina London each year. To find out more about their life-changing work, please visit togetherwecan.org.uk/evelina»

SourceWire News Distribution

Innovation Posts Collection December 10 to 13

Christine Lagat and Chrispinus Omar, «Kenya aims to become hub for green technologies»

Diogo Martins, «IBGE: falta de qualificação prejudica a inovação da indústria»

Em Tempo Real, «Novas tecnologias e transformação cultural dão novo valor à informação»

Estado de Minas, «Tecnologia é arma contra evasão, dizem especialistas»

Florian Dèbes, «Navi Radjou: “l'innovateur jugaad fait mieux avec moins”»

Gilles van Kote, «En Afrique, quand développement durable rime avec innovation»

Jorge Palao Castañeda, «Emprendimientos innovadores»

Los Tiempos, «América Latina necesita más innovadores. El Banco Mundial dice que hay muchos emprendedores, pero pocos contratan personal»

Mark Harrington, «Driving Innovation with Social Insights»

Milenio, Jóvenes emprendedores, principal fuente de generación de empleos. El Delegado Federal de Economía en el Estado de Puebla, Juan Pablo Jiménez Concha dictó ponencia en la UDLAP: “Para combatir la pobreza tenemos que crear riqueza y no podemos combatir la pobreza siendo un gobierno paternalista”»

Patrícia Basilio, «“O problema das startups não é falta de dinheiro” diz presidente do BNDES. Para Luciano Coutinho, dificuldade está na comunicação; banco investiu R$ 700 milhões em fundos de capital somente neste ano»

Paula Mourato, «Cooperativa de Olivicultores de Murça: Tratamento inovador de resíduos lançado nos lagares»

Porto Canal, «Plano estratégico do calçado quer fazer de Portugal “referência mundial” do sector até 2020»

RCM Pharma, «ENSP apresenta conclusões do “Think Tank” para pensar a saúde e a inovação em Portugal»

Tony Naylor, «Breakfast: too early for culinary innovation?»

tvi24, «Pires de Lima inicia roadshow nos EUA. Ministro em nova missão de captação de investimento com reuniões em Nova Iorque, São Francisco e Washington»

UCN al Día, «Innovadores productos alimentarios presentaron estudiantes de UCN. Jóvenes de Nutrición y Dietética elaboraron en Coquimbo alimentos saludables que dieron a conocer en feria estudiantil»

Valerie Strauss, «Education innovation: A case study in what not to do»

Wassila Benhamed, «Salon national de l’innovation : Une clé pour la compétitivité»

Xavier Biseul, «LeWeb imagine les dix prochaines années du numérique»


«Kenya aims to become hub for green technologies»

«Kenya’s dream of becoming a regional hub for green technologies and innovations has gone over drive as the east African nation seeks home grown solution to climate risks.

»Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Water and Natural Resources, Professor Judi Wakhungu on Monday reaffirmed the government’s commitment to support innovations that promote low carbon transition.

»“Kenya supports initiatives that encourage sharing of technical knowhow to build resilience to costly natural disasters. We have adopted an integrated approach to advance economic, social and environmental objectives simultaneously,” Wakhungu said during a Green Technologies Symposium in Nairobi.

»The exhibition was hosted by Strathmore University’s Kenya Climate Change Innovation Centre to showcase 30 pioneering green technologies that have made an impact across the country.

»Kenya is the first country in Africa to host the World Bank funded climate innovation centre that supports development, deployment and transfer of locally relevant climate technologies.

»Launched in September 2012, the center has so far supported over 70 clean technology ventures in diverse areas including renewable energy, water supply and climate smart agriculture.

»Kenya’s national action plan on climate change root for technologies and innovations that would enable communities adapt to severe weather patterns.

»Wakhungu urged the private sector and development partners to support the development and large scale deployment of green technologies.

»“Tackling the shared threat of climate change demands for a business unusual approach. The government has created a friendly policy environment to encourage investments in climate technologies and innovations,” said Wakhungu.

»The centre aims to help the government of Kenya to promote green growth, to protect the environment, and to create jobs.

»He said the centre will help Kenya to address the challenges of climate change, by finding ways to reduce carbon emissions and to increase climate resilience, especially in energy, agriculture and water supply.

»Wakhungu reiterated that green technologies will deliver a mix of economic, social and environmental benefits to the country.

»“In addition to boosting climate resilience in the country, these innovations have created jobs and ensured communities have access to clean energy, safe drinking water and better sanitation, “ Wakhungu said.

»The Kenyan government roots for public-private partnerships to develop a vibrant market for green technologies.

»Wakhungu noted that medium sized enterprises have churned out cutting edge technologies on clean energy, water purification and sustainable farming.

»“The government will support local entrepreneurs develop climate smart technologies in order to achieve a sustainable and inclusive growth in the country,” Wakhungu said.

»Kenya has pioneered innovative solutions to climate risks through development and deployment of green technologies.

»The World Bank’s Country Director, Diarietou Gaye noted that Kenya has the largest number of start-ups in the region that are promoting green technologies and innovations.

»“Kenyan enterprises are developing innovative climate mitigation and adaptation solutions,” Gaye said.

»The center will help Kenya achieve a mix of economic, environmental and social results, including: jobs created and companies launched, a reduction of CO2 emissions, greater climate resiliency, access to clean energy and water, and strengthened technology and innovation capacity.

»The center is part of infoDev’s Climate Technology Program (CTP) , which is establishing CICs in six other developing countries and the global infrastructure to support and link them. The Kenya CIC will be seeded by a contribution of 15 million U.S. dollars over five years.»

Global Post, Christine Lagat and Chrispinus Omar


«Education innovation: A case study in what not to do»

«This photo taken Nov. 25, 2013 shows Isabelle Fontana, 7, working on two iPads for an e-book about Thanksgiving in her second grade classroom at Jamestown Elementary School in Arlington, Va. Isabelle was working on the text as a classmate made drawings to be photographed and inserted in the e-book. Needed to keep a school building running these days: Water, electricity _ and broadband. Interactive digital learning on laptops and tablets is, in many cases, replacing traditional textbooks. Students are taking computer-based tests instead of fill-in-the bubble exams. Teachers are accessing far-off resources for lessons.

»The $1 billion initiative by the Los Angeles public schools district to give an iPad to all 650,000 students and teachers for home use has been nothing short of a mess, plagued by poor planning and bad execution. You can read about it here. Here’s a new look at what went wrong from Larry Cuban, a high school social studies teacher for 14 years, a district superintendent (seven years in Arlington, VA), and professor emeritus of education at Stanford University, where he has taught for more than 20 years. His latest book is “Inside the Black Box of Classroom Practice: Change without Reform in American Education.” This post appeared on his blog.

»By Larry Cuban

»The rollout of iPads in Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is becoming a classic case study of what not-to-do when implementing any innovation whether it is high-tech or low-tech. I wrote about the adoption of the innovation six months ago.

»What is clear now is that teachers and principals were excluded from the decision-making process. The Total Cost of Operation (TCO) was a mystery to the Board of Education who made the decision. And the initial deployment of the devices was so botched that the pilot project was put on hold. Phase 2 and the eventual distribution of devices to all LAUSD students remains to be decided once errors have been sorted out.

»Called The Common Core Technology Project, each iPad costs the district $678, higher than the price of an iPad bought in an Apple store, but it comes with a case (no keyboard, however) and an array of pre-loaded software aimed at preparing students for the impending Common Core standards and the state online testing system. The Board of Education and Superintendent John Deasy want each student to have access to an iPad. With mostly Latino and poor students in LAUSD, the eventual cost of this contract with Apple Inc. could run over $400 million.

»Were the board and superintendent to have paused and examined the history of using technology in public schools, they might have thought twice before major bollixes occurred.

»1. There is no body of evidence that iPads will increase math and reading scores on state standardized tests. There is no evidence that students using iPads (or laptops or desktop computers) will get decent paying jobs after graduation.

»These are the most common reasons boards of education and school administrators across the nation give for buying tablets for K-12 students. But not in LAUSD.

»Acquiring 1:1 iPads for students, according to the LAUSD press release is to: “provide an individualized, interactive and informative-rich learning environment” for every student. One would have to assume that such an “environment” would lead to gains in test scores. But it is an assumption. Since many low-income families do not have computers at home or Internet connections, providing iPads is a worthy reason — what used to be called “closing the digital divide“ — for the large expenditure.

»On what basis, however, will the district determine whether to move to Phase 2 of the plan? Again, according to the official press release, the assessment of this first phase “will include feedback ... from teachers, students, parents and other key stakeholders.” That’s it. No hard data on how often the devices were used, in what situations, and under what conditions. Nor mention of data on student outcomes.

»Now, informal surveys of teachers and school administrators show mixed reactions, even disaffection for iPads in classrooms.

»2. Apart from “closing the digital divide,” the main reason for the Apple Inc. contract is that Common Core standards and accompanying online tests are on the horizon and due to arrive in 2014-2015. LAUSD wants teachers and students to be ready.

»3. The true cost of this experiment runs far higher than the projected $400 million to give iPads to 655,000 students. That is what Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) means. The cost for the iPad is given as $678 per unit (remember, there is no keyboard usually listed at $100 which will have to be bought eventually for secondary school students).Now, budget-watchers discovered that the devices will cost even more. An Oops! that surprised the Board of Education.

»Funds to hire school technical assistants, providing the wireless infrastructure, loss of tablets, and repair of broken tablets, insurance, professional development for teachers, costs for replacement devices when three-year warranties expire—I could go on but these numbers double and triple the published hardware and software costs. Consider that the reports of the $30 million contract with Apple Inc. omitted that the Board of Education approved $50 million for this first phase to accommodate some of these other costs detailed above.

»And just a few days ago, a major Oops! was announced when the Board of Education, in questioning a top administrator, discovered that the software license to use the math and English curriculum expires after three years—the clock began ticking last July when the Board approved the contract. Renewal of the license in just over two years will cost another $60 million. Add that to the TCO.

»Intel, a company with a vested interest in Microsoft tablets and a losing competitor in the LAUSD bid for a contract, produced a white paper that pointed out that TCO runs from two to three times higher than the announced price of the device. No one said a word about that.

»The point is that administrators and school boards eager to buy devices hide TCO in separate documents or glossy verbiage. In other instances, they simply do not know or care to find out in their enthusiasm for the innovation. LAUSD experienced a perfect storm of mistakes in plunging into iPads without much forethought and a glance in the rear-view mirror for earlier reform debacles in putting into practice a high-tech innovation.»

Washington Post, Valerie Strauss


«Breakfast: too early for culinary innovation?»

«Voting has opened in the search to find Britain’s most innovative breakfast. But how far-out do you want breakfast to get? Do you crave curry, steak or Levantine lahma for breakfast? Or is it just too early in the morning?

»Citizens of Britain, it is time to make your voices heard. Ahead of January’s annual Farmhouse Breakfast Week (FBW), voting has opened for the inaugural Best Breakfast Awards, which, intriguingly, include a category dedicated to unearthing Britain’s most innovative breakfast.

»You have until 19 January to have your say, not that the awards’ organisers (it’s the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, quango fans) seem to be girding themselves for a massive influx of outrageous suggestions. The FBW website rather drearily defines innovative as: “Something a bit different – a dish with unusual ingredients or flavour combinations or ingredients sourced from local suppliers.” Given that low bar (are locally sourced ingredients really that innovative in 2013?), they may well be surprised by what this poll uncovers. For there are many cafes and restaurants across Britain that are making a serious effort to, as the FBW slogan has it: “shake up your wake up”.

»For instance, I have enjoyed a breakfast of corned beef hash at the Iron House in Norwich, and recently passed on an early morning rib-eye steak and hash browns at Crab Manor in Yorkshire. I like the unusual Middle Eastern breakfast options at Honey & Co in Fitzrovia (pizza-like topped lahma; ace Merguez sausage rolls with harissa), and, a few streets away, Lantana continues to help popularise an open-minded Antipodean approach to breakfast, with dishes such as corn fritters with bacon, slow-roasted tomatoes, spinach and avocado chilli salsa.

»The new-ish Koya Bar, a spin-off from the original Soho noodle restaurant, is going much further in trying to turn Londoners on to the traditional Japanese breakfast of rice and miso soup with grilled fish and pickles. The wider menu includes savoury rice porridges and even an English breakfast udon broth, topped with floating fried egg, bacon and shiitake mushrooms. Up in Bradford, the Sweet Centre Cafe – and, at weekends, its restaurant too – is well known for its (reportedly mild) morning chickpea curry, as well as cereal-trumping seekh kebabs and samosas.

»Exciting as all that sounds, it does raise the question: just how racy do you want breakfast to be? Particularly if you haven’t grown up with such foods as 8am staples. The answer lies, I think, less in the food itself, than what sort of morning it is. Day to day, most of us rise reluctantly. We’re sleep-deprived carcasses stumbling blearily into a cold and hostile world. For the first hour, at least, you are simmering with resentment at actually being out of bed. Even if you’re not already running late, it is painful to do anything more than pour milk on to cereal, pop bread in a toaster, or maybe boil an egg. The last thing you want is to be faced with complex flavours that require you to think. You want to eat bland, familiar comfort foods with a bovine passivity. This is less food as pleasure, more food as pragmatic fuel, until that third (pint of) tea/coffee kicks in, and you begin to feel vaguely human.

»In sharp contrast, there are those rare days when you wake up, early, full of the joys of a solid eight hours, when suddenly the world seems alive with possibility. Particularly if it’s the weekend. On such days, thoughts inexorably turn to treating yourself, whether that means whipping up a hollandaise for eggs Benedict or, simply digging out those posh croissants you’ve got in the freezer. Even better, you go out and let someone else do the hard work. At such times, you’re definitely open to more adventurous suggestions. Whether that means eating neglected classics like kedgeree or kippers with mustard butter at the Wolseley (I can dream, can’t I?), or black pudding, apple mash and eggs at York’s Star Inn the City.

»Of course, there is a third type of morning when all breakfast bets are off, and that’s when you’re mortally hungover. In such desperate times, you need sugar, you need carbs, you need help. And you need it now. Over Christmas, particularly, this is when a can of full-fat Coke and the remnants of last night’s trifle or Sara Lee double chocolate gateau come into their own. Cold from the fridge, they are balm for a broken soul. Although, I realise, that tendency to sweet foods is a personal one. As the How to eat series has revealed, there are many, many people reading the Guardian whose favourite breakfast is last night’s curry, kebab or pizza. That’s your sophisticated broadsheet audience for you.

»Do you crave more variety at breakfast? Is it time we looked beyond cereal and toast, and broke the back of that powerful boiled and scrambled heggemony? Which country has breakfast nailed? And what’s the strangest thing that you’ve ever eaten first thing?»

Word of mouth, The Guardian, Tony Naylor


«Driving Innovation with Social Insights»

«With the ongoing expansion of social media most businesses, and particularly their Marketing teams, remain focused on the broadcast power these channels provide. However, this one-dimensional view of social on covers a fraction of the value that can be delivered on an ongoing basis to brands.

»Mining the attitudes, behaviors, trends and perspectives deep within the billions upon billions of daily social discussions provides unprecedented insight into an organization’s consumers, champions, critics and competitors.

»With the continuous discussion and debate surrounding “listening” to social media discussions, many companies realize the wealth of unbiased, immediate, actionable insight social intelligence can provide to answer valuable, complex questions like:

»Why do shoppers buy my product?

»What advantages do consumers see in my competitors?

»Do unmet consumer needs exist that I can address?

»What are the specific demand moments for my brand?

»To answer these sorts of highly specific, complex questions with actionable intelligence, companies are using a combination of streaming big data supercomputing and advanced concept model in place of traditional keyword lists.

»Universal Visibility

»First, many marketing organizations see the “social universe” as focused on Facebook and Twitter and perhaps YouTube, Pinterest or another network of two. Given the limitations of social monitoring tools, Marketers are often forced to select narrow views of the social universe.

»It’s understandable why many marketers limit their social focus to one or two networks, after all, managing and tracking millions of channels becomes a daunting, if not impossible, but it’s by no means ideal or acceptable.

»The biggest sources (the mainstream social networks) are often not the best when it comes to consumer insights. Often, shoppers, consumers, influencers and evangelists of your brands are interacting in specialized or focused communities, blogs or channels. To find them, means you have to expand the scope of your view holistically to the entire social universe relevant to your brand.

»A Big Data Challenge

»Most organizations, if they’re “listening” to social conversations at all, are doing so at a cursory level, using basic keyword tools to monitor a sample of the social universe. Given that different segments of consumers congregate on different social sources, these snapshot views only deliver a limited, and often deceptive, view of the population. On top this, individuals do not speak in keywords and typically use a social lexicon that is continuously shifting and evolving.

»Keywords will find exact, limited mentions, but will miss the vast majority of conceptual posts which can vary infinite ways and never mentioning a defined keyword, brand or product. A major challenge of social media keywords is keeping up with the ever-changing lexicon of discussions, which in and of itself makes keywords an obsolete approach.

»The best that can be typically hoped for with keyword tools is basic, high-level “buzz” (or sentiment) on their product or brand, which is vague, inactionable and often inaccurate.

»As the open social universe continues to exponentially expand, social commentary has evolved into big data – billions of daily posts from hundreds of millions of individuals across millions of sources. It’s ugly, unstructured data, but provides deep ethnographic insight from what essentially is the ultimate unbiased focus group.

»To extract these insights Marketers need to unleash big data super processing that can handle the volume, velocity and variety of social data in real-time. Companies already using advanced big data social intelligence solutions have an incredible advantage over their competitors gaining the ability understanding their consumers, shoppers, influencers and competitors better than ever before.

»A Widespread Impact

»Brands embracing advanced social intelligence find a wide array of valuable applications for this insight to set strategy, guide decisions and drive innovation, including understanding of:

»• Consumer Personas: Understanding of consumer behaviors, decisions, attitudes, interests and activities to construct personas for enhanced reach.

»• Path-to-Purchase: Analysis of the decision influences for specific products, including factors, milestones and trends.

»• Demand Moments: Shopper interests and activities to pinpoint engagement channels to build market strategies and media plans.

»• Market Entry: Evaluation of established products in terms of consumer sentiment, market traction and unmet needs for opportunity identification.

»• Market Testing: Efficacy measurement and validation of promotional campaigns, marketing channels, packaging, positioning and messaging.

»• Innovation Drivers: Multidimensional insights that drive product development, feature enhancements, brand positioning and overall marketing strategy.

»• Competitive Tracking: Tracking of competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, as well as consumer decision points and abandonment motivators.

»Intelligent Insight

»The ability to understand consumers, markets and competitors through ethnographic understanding of big social data has never been more powerful, allowing organizations to address the bias of surveys and focus groups and go beyond superficial “buzz” to uncover actionable consumer insight like never before. The key to achieving this is first, treating social media data as the complex big data that it is. Unlocking the insights requires advanced processing technology and concept modeling to address the volume, speed and complexity of the open social discussions in real-time.

»Once unlocked, this advanced social intelligence can make a company-wide impact across Marketing, Product, Brand, Research, Insights, Innovation and beyond, by delivering unbiased, actionable insight to drive decision making, market strategy and innovation and provide a massive competitive advantage to organizations.

»Question: Is your organization understanding shoppers and consumers to drive your innovation? If so, how? If not, why?»

Business 2 Community, Mark Harrington

Innovation Posts Collection December 3 to 6

All Africa, «Ethiopia: New Climate Innovation Center in Ethiopia Transforms Challenges Into Business Opportunities»

Bernt Entschev, «Você realmente deseja crescer profissionalmente? (Esteja atento aos seus propósitos e motivações)»

Beth Gardiner, «‘Jugaad’ innovation: the businesses getting creative in the face of scarcity»

Carolina Pereira, «Big Data: desafiando a estratégia dos fornecedores e modelando negócios no canal»

Commission Innovation 2030, Un principe et sept ambitions pour l’innovation: «Synthèse»

COTEC Portugal, «Imperial e WIT distinguidas com Prémio PME Inovação COTEC-BPI 2013»

Daniel Ichbiah, «Extraits du livre Les nouvelles superpuissances, de Daniel Ichbiah»

Diari de Tarragona, «La innovación no es tecnología, pero la tecnología está en la base (Tarragona acogió ayer una jornada organizada por Diari de Tarragona en la que se reflexionó sobre el cambio de paradigma al que asistimos)»

Dinheiro Digital, «Indústria do papel representa mais de metade de investimentos com benefícios fiscais»

For Traders, «Innovative Product Development Practices from Today’s Most Successful Companies to Be Featured in Harvard Business School Program»

Ganesh Natarajan, «Tech firms lead innovation but others are in hot pursuit»

Informaria Digital, «El ministro Soria defiende a la industria de la moda como un sector para generar empleo»

L’Entreprise, L’Express, «Montebourg: l’innovation doit réconcilier “les Français avec le risque”»

Lírida Nerys, «Agricultor beneficiado pela EMATER/AL destaca papel da Assistência Técnica (O agricultor, beneficiado pelo PAA, trabalha a produção orgânica e a preservação das nascentes, com o reflorestamento)»

Madalena Queirós, «Nova SBE financia edifício com modelo inovador»

Marieke Vos, Lieselotte Heederik, Premio Silicon Valley Tech de salud, utilizará los 75.000 dólares del galardón en fabricar y comercializar para Indonesia un filtro de agua nueve veces más económico que comprarla y cuatro veces más económico que hervirla

Miguel Ángel García Vega, «Las canas revolucionan la economía española»

Nelson de Sá, «Joshua Klein: “Reputação será moeda no mundo pós-financeiro”»

Paris Match, «Cinq innovations pour aider les pays émergents»

Roney Stones, «De onde vêm as boas ideias, segundo Steven Johnson. (Sete padrões fundamentais para se investigar as ideias inovadoras e o desenvolvimento da tecnologia e da ciência no mundo)»

The Financial Year, «Compte-rendu de la Table Ronde : Open Innovation: espoir ou désillusion?»