RI Columns Chapter 3

How Innovations Come About:
From A to Z

Be aware of the radical innovations to come!

3D Printing is in my opinion one of the radical innovations from this decade. Due to the possibilties of this device it raises a lot of ethical questions. I'd like to highlight some in this column.

3D Printing is in my opinion one of the radical innovations from this decade. Due to the possibilties of this device it raises a lot of ethical questions. I'd like to highlight some in this column.

The good

New 3-D bioprinters are already capable of printing out everything from dental fixtures and prosthetic limbs to custom hearing aids. Researchers at Wake Forest have just proven, as the latest proof of concept, that it’s theoretically possible to print out human cartilage for implants, an important next step on the path to printing complex human tissue and even human organs.
Imagine being able to print new organs to replace your malfunction or old ones. Printing a new heart could mean a substantial increase in the average age people die. People can grow older and healthier by replacing limbs, muscles and organs. But would these people still be people. A very philosophical question is what makes a person a human being. Would you consider a person with a body that is for 80% “build” out of stuff from a 3D printer a human being?

The bad

The market for commercial 3D printers is not yet very developed, but I believe within 10 years a lot of people will have a 3D printer at home. They can print whatever they like and unfortunately no all people will have good intentions with what they print. In 2013 one of the first successful handguns were printed and now there are even working automatic assault rifles made from plastic. Imagine people printing these weapons at home. In the most states in the US there is a “gun culture”. By this I mean they consider it normal to have a gun at home for safety measures. Of course there is a strict gun registration system now but what happens if all these people decide to print their own guns? Even a more concerning thing is the ability for gangs and drugs cartels to print weapons. There are a lot of illegal firearms in the US, but these are hard to get. Printing weapons is easy if you purchase a good 3D printer. I wonder if there are already measures being taken to prevent bad people using the 3D printer for the wrong reasons.

The ugly

There are concerns that 3D printers could disrupt complete industries. Especially products that are built from plastic will be the first that can be homemade with a 3D printer. Think about how much products you have at home that are built from plastic. You can built custom made stuff for yourself in your own garage. Since you only need a template of a product it’s easy to use one from the internet. Designers will create lots of templates of products that you can download from the internet. Press print and you have all the toys you want!
Plastic waste is already a huge issue. If new forms of plastic are create for 3D printing the pile of plastic in the oceans will further increase. Therefore I think it’s a must that 3D printers use recycled plastic. It would be wonderful if we take all the plastic out of the ocean for 3D printing material. Of course we then have to make sure the printed products are also recycled after their use.

It is hard to predict the future of 3D printing, but I hope the innovators consider all kinds of scenario’s to make their innovation responsible. I think it would be a could idea to give 3D printer producers some kind of accountability for the stuff people print with their products. This will hopefully give them the  incentive to make the 3D printer a responsible innovation.

Expand selection Contract selection

Big mouth. Small actions.

The world is dying. Since we are part of the world, we are dying too. Do you want to walk around with surgical masks like in China every day?

The world is dying. Since we are part of the world, we are dying too. Do you want to walk around with surgical masks like in China every day?

column3.jpg

We’re ruining the earth. No, don't say: “it’s not that bad”. C’mon guys, it is! Remove the plate out of you sight and see clear. Stop sitting lay-back in your grandpa chair and stand up. Stand up for the world! Stand up for your health! And stand up for your next generations!

What really annoys me, are all people who are afraid for a change or provocation, but who own the cash flow. I don’t like serious people, who cannot see how changing attitude can lead to innovation and only use boring strategy’s and policies. Those people are always beating around the bush, but don’t come to a solution. Such as our own bureaucracy.  C’mon don’t be so serious, be innovative, creative and think out of the box! Only this way you can change the world.

Wubbo Ockels said in an interview of the ‘Milieudefensie Magazine juli/augustus 2007’:”Sun and wind produce more energy we can use, a factor of 8000 worldwide. We must use this more elegant. The industrial revolution went through nature as a bulldozer. I see us as a part of nature. The post-industrial revolution, where we are now, must exists out of an intelligent, nice game with nature, which ruins nothing but is only value increasing. This wakes you up. A lot of things we do now are narcotic”. Seems clear, people must wake up and something must change.

Of course I can understand your fear. Each radical innovation includes an uncertainty. But the reason we have to, is that only a dramatic change can transform existing markets or industries, or creates new ones. Our markets and industries must be changed to sustainable markets and industries. The capitalism and governance how it is at the moment will not give the acceleration which we need to introduce a sustainable lifestyle on time (Europa Nu, 2007). A high power like the United Nations must oblige sustainability within business models of all organizations within the world. At the 30th of November till the 11th of December 2015, the 21th yearly climate conference of the United Nations finds place in Paris (Sluiter, 2007). If United Nations  reads this, please force all countries to action. Only then we can save the world.

The world is dying. Since we are part of the world, we are dying too. Do you want to walk around with surgical masks like in China every day? To clear this up. China was the country who didn’t agree on a convention on climate change because of their capitalism (Europa Nu, 2014). We are going the same way as China due to the environment. There will be a moment we cannot breath in our air, cause we will get ill of it. Nice living. Thanks Humanity.

Change.. or dy. It’s your choice.

Sources
Europa Nu. (2014) Klimaatconferentie Lima 2014 (COP14). Consulted at the 2nd of October 2015, Retrieved from http://www.europa-nu.nl/id/vjmhfqyoelrv/klimaatconferentie_lima_2014_cop2014

Liesbeth Sluiter. (2007) Duurzame toekomst. Consulted at the 2nd of October 2015, Retrieved from
https://downtoearthmagazine.nl/wubbo-ockels-duurzame-toekomst

Expand selection Contract selection

Copying may be positive for humanity

Jordi Granés Puig - The border between copying, doing reseach and take influences may not be defined enough. Considering that, a reprehensible act as copying from another scientist can give high benefits to the society because of the development of some product that would have never existed without that unfair act.

Jordi Granés Puig - The border between copying, doing reseach and take influences may not be defined enough. Considering that, a reprehensible act as copying from another scientist can give high benefits to the society because of the development of some product that would have never existed without that unfair act.

Third column image.png

The 3rd chapter of the MOOC is about how innovations come about. Lots of factors influence on the process of innovation and one of those, of course, are the influences. Every time that we create something, we use our own experiences but also the influences that other people’s work exerted in us. But where’s the barrier between being influenced by someone and copying? As an example, in last week’s column I cited Descartes’s work, which is obviously an influence, but what would have happened if I didn’t mentioned that Descartes was the owner of those words? Then I would be cheating? On one hand, some people would consider that I was cheating because those ideas were not mine and, on the other hand, some other would consider that telling something which I don’t invented is not cheating if I don’t pretend to be the owner of those words. As we can see, the terrain is slippery.

Let’s go one step further. Sometimes, in science, researchers discover things that are useless despite true and, some years later, someone else takes profit of that knowledge and creates something applying it. Considering that the other person had no allowance from the researcher to use his discovery and had “inspired” himself in the researcher’s work, there are 3 possible approaches to the situation (R=Researcher, S=Engineer):

-          R had a brilliant idea which S stole to be the cornerstone of his new invention. All the merit is for R.

-          R’s discovery was something useless and S had a great idea to take profit of it. All the merit is for S.

-          R discovered something with a great potential and S applied something that he would have never discovered alone.

A general opinion could be that these considerations could be simplified with a patent done by the researcher. The problem is that, according to the actual U.S. law, any person who "invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, may obtain a patent.", which means that the researcher has no chance to protect his discovery. In that situation, we should face a strong ethical debate.

That example was useful to see that who is the author of something may not be clear, but we’ll keep with the column idea, let’s see that this copy/association can be good for humanity. Imagine that the researcher had discovered a strange behaviour in a concrete bacteria and the other person had created a vaccine against that bacteria, then the result would be completely positive for humanity, despite the unfair act of copying and independently of who is the author.

As a second argument in favour of copying let’s consider a last situation. In the hardest mathematics disciplines, sometimes the new theories and discoveries developed by young mathematicians cannot be understood for everyone and are impossible to prove. Because of that, lots of right mathematic theories have needed some decades to be accepted by the scientific community because, as they could not understand it, the members of the committee disapproved the theory. Nevertheless, what would have happened if a renowned mathematician had proposed the new theory? Probably the committee would have accepted it because of the trust that the renowned mathematician had gained during his whole career.

As a conclusion, despite we have been taught since we were young that copying is something reprehensible, we can point that copying can be good for the whole society as a way to improve and find an utility to someone’s work, and as a way to prestige an invention. Even considering that the original author is highly damaged because otherwise, his work would have never been applied.

Expand selection Contract selection

Devil or Angel?

Column 3.png

So now we are at week 3 which is about how innovations actually happen. Basically there are two basic ways to come up with innovation one is incremental the other one is radical. Incremental innovation has several points. First, the main focus is to improve existing products or services. This leads to increase competitiveness in markets and low uncertainty. Whereas radical innovation explores new technology which is completely new to company as well as to the world that not such a product is still out there. It can be risky because there are not enough data about this new product so it might cause unexpected accidents. Moreover it creates a drastic change that alters an existing product into the new product.

For example, Amazon.com is an online shopping website where you can order many items cheaper compared to other shops which physically exist. Let’s pick books for instance. Because Amazon.com has so many types of books even more than an ordinal bookstore with lower price, traditional book stores were gone. Likewise radical innovation can be beneficial for consumers. Another example would be digital photography. The previous generation was photographic film. You needed to go to a photo shop in order to get your pictures because the process of making pictures was much more complicated compared to digital one. In 1990s, digital camera came out people could just organize their pictures by themselves by using a printer, editing and etc. In point of consumer view, Amazon.com and digital photography are just like tools which are given from angel that made their life much more convenient than before. How about the older technology? The answer is simple. Who would use old technology if they are troublesome to use? Maybe people who are grown up with them might have hard time to switch to new technology because they just like using old ones but the percentage of those people are low.

How about people who are selling or developing old technology? Those people who are working in bookstores have lost their job because of radical innovation. Those people who are working in photo shops to make pictures from films also went bankrupted because they lost many customers suddenly. It can be both a devil and an angel depends on your position. That’s a life it can happen. It’s all about capitalism. It is significant to come up with something innovative to keep existing in market these days. Life normally does not go the way you want so you just have to deal with it and do your best.

 

 

 

 

Expand selection Contract selection

Do we really need radical innovations?

Though incremental innovation is a more common way of innovating, you only hear about the radical innovations. But where is the line drawn? Shouldn’t all innovations start as a radical innovation and continue incremental? Take for example the Iphone, when the Iphone was launched it was the radical innovation of the century. With every new Iphone people still think its radical innovation, but isn’t this more an incremental process? Improving the product over time? Where is the line drawn?

Though incremental innovation is a more common way of innovating, you only hear about the radical innovations. But where is the line drawn? Shouldn’t all innovations start as a radical innovation and continue incremental? Take for example the Iphone, when the Iphone was launched it was the radical innovation of the century. With every new Iphone people still think its radical innovation, but isn’t this more an incremental process? Improving the product over time? Where is the line drawn?

week 3.jpg

Innovation nowadays is often seen as radical. For example Tesla, everybody knows Tesla from their fancy electric cars. Tesla, however, is not just a car builder. It is a company that wants to build at a sustainable environment. The company is now producing batteries for at home to maximize the electricity used from solar energy. The battery stores energy during daytime when the sun is shining and uses it when charging the car in the evenings. It can even be used as a backup generator incase when there is a power outage. These are all radical innovation products, but what about incremental innovation?

Some  infrastructures are simply not able to innovate radically. Let’s take the electricity grid. This is an infrastructure with huge entry costs. Radical innovation is simply not possible due to the high costs of such a network. The only way to innovate is incrementally. Continuously improving small parts of the network. For example the Wintrack. It is a new design for high voltage powerlines, minimalizing magnetic fields created by those high voltage powerlines.

Though incremental innovation is a more common way of innovating, you only hear about the radical innovations. But where is the line drawn? Shouldn’t all innovations start as a radical innovation and continue incremental? Take for example the Iphone, when the Iphone was launched it was the radical innovation of the century. With every new Iphone people still think its radical innovation, but isn’t this more an incremental process? Improving the product over time? Where is the line drawn?

To make clear what kind of innovation a product is, Abernathy and Clark defined a taxonomy for innovation. In this taxonomy innovation is classified along two axes. On the vertical axis is about whether the innovation is based on existing or new knowledge. The horizontal axis defines whether the innovation is for current users or for new users. This taxonomy then has four quadrants. When there is an existing knowledge and an existing market it’s called regular innovation. The phone innovation fits in this quadrant. Innovations with existing knowledge and a new market are classified as niche innovation. Revolutionary innovation is when an existing market is combined with new knowledge. Electrical cars fit in this quadrant. While the car market exists already for a while, the electric car is a revolutionary design using new knowledge. Finally when innovations combine new knowledge with new markets it is defined as architectural innovation. Examples are fertilizers and agricultural mechanization.

Even though you often read about radical innovations from phone companies. This while no new market is created and existing knowledge is used. Of course some new features are added to the phone but that does not make it radical.

The only real forms of radical innovation are revolutionary and architectural innovation when new knowledge is used developing a new product. Still responsible innovation does not need radical innovation to be innovative. Apple shows that with existing knowledge responsible innovation is possible.

Expand selection Contract selection

Don’t design your innovation for the market, instead, design the market for your innovation.

Imagine you being the CEO of the next Google, the next Apple! People round the world are waiting outside stores for hours, desperately trying to buy your product. The Financial Times can only mention one thing: “Record profits in a recovering economy!”. You smile, as you turn your chair, for you only marginally changed your product from last years’ model. If only the world your secret, your strength, your mojo: Being remarkable.

Imagine you being the CEO of the next Google, the next Apple! People round the world are waiting outside stores for hours, desperately trying to buy your product. The Financial Times can only mention one thing: “Record profits in a recovering economy!”. You smile, as you turn your chair, for you only marginally changed your product from last years’ model. If only the world your secret, your strength, your mojo: Being remarkable.

Seth Godin: How to get your ideas to spread
Seth Godin: How to get your ideas to spread

Innovation requires creativity, thinking out of the box, being different. To aid this, you created an environment with a collection of people with completelydifferent backgrounds, ideas and experiences. But while this creates the most ideas, it might not necessarily be the most productive approach. However, going from a creative soup towards productive innovation required only the ‘simple’ step of allowing the inventors to work in an organized manner, as observed in universities and tech-companies.

When you started a small company, you were clinging onto innovation to save you from the fiery competition doing everything to drive you out of the market, solely to protect themselves from the same fate. But now, having the available resources to discern yourself from the competition, you innovate, almost for the sake of innovation. To tend to the market you on which you have spent years to make them accustomed to your technological vision.

Your advisors come in: “Boss, In this environment your ideas are flowing, but not all of these ideas can make it to the general public.” With the small success rate of innovative ideas to marketable innovative products, you realised you needed to think differently. The key to making the difference between an innovation and a successful innovation, lies in its marketing.  Instead of creating an innovation for the market, you innovate the market for your creation.

The goddess of marketing is two-faced, she can either help you to sell an infinite amount of products to the market, but one faux-pas and her high costs will run you into the ground. To avoid this, you ask what the people need. But instead of conducting a humungous poll to the general public, you only include your best listeners: your most loyal customers and earliest adopters. You share your concept of the new product and they run off to tell all their friends about your fresh ideas. It’s something they’ve never heard of, and they won’t admit it, but they might even think it’s too risqué for the current market.

But a few months later, just before all of their friends are almost tired of hearing every detail about the release of your new product, you prepare its launch. And, of course, it will be a huge success.  You found the people who cared and listened, and let them market for you. Almost everybody they know, knows about you and your fresh new product. You risqué product was intriguing, exciting and fresh. People commend you for your brilliant strategy, while you did nothing special. You did what you do best: Being Remarkable.  

Expand selection Contract selection

Embracing the Radical

Everybody knows that moment when you’re in the bar; your friends and you have had a couple of beers, when ‘the big problems of the world’ are being discussed. The general conclusion is often that the world has to be made a better place for future generations. Although that conclusion is made fairly easy, the debate of how to accomplish something like that can be very tough and often gets stuck between two poles: the populists and technocrats. To help create a better world, this polarization has to disappear.

Everybody knows that moment when you’re in the bar; your friends and you have had a couple of beers, when ‘the big problems of the world’ are being discussed. The general conclusion is often that the world has to be made a better place for future generations. Although that conclusion is made fairly easy, the debate of how to accomplish something like that can be very tough and often gets stuck between two poles: the populists and technocrats. To help create a better world, this polarization has to disappear.

Picture Week3_Etiënne van Winkel(2).jpg

Technocrats rely on radical innovations that alter current paradigms and enable new ideas to be implemented in our world. The relatively new hadron collider in Geneva is a good example for a radical innovation. In debates about usage of such technologies technocrats prefer to ignore emotions. These emotions are said to be irrational and are therefore not valued in the debate. But emotions often reflect underlying morals and values, which are, especially in risk management, important to be considered. After all, evolution equipped mankind with emotions for a reason.

Populists, on the other hand, are wary of radical innovations. They often struggle with the fear of unforeseen risks, which makes them almost immune to factual arguments. Also, radical innovations like gene manipulation make them feel like there is a loss of moral. ‘Mankind is acting in a reckless manner towards nature, which is bound to come with consequences. Therefore, populists tend to favor incremental innovations. The Swiss watch is a great example of such innovation; Even though the knowledge and market isn’t changed, a new variety of watches keeps on being produced.
Unfortunately, it is rarely an incremental innovation that will help improve either modern world society or its environment.

 

Neither an incremental innovation nor a radical innovation is immediately a responsible innovation. At least, not as long as emotions and morals aren’t being taken care of. Involving emotions into the technical debate, allowing radical and incremental technologies to be implemented, is called emotional deliberation. This is needed, because in order to get the population to adopt the new technologies, emotions and morals have to be aligned with the product, first. The only way to acquire this, is to promote an open dialogue between populists and technocrats. In the debates, emotional deliberation will give the common people a voice and let them feel like they are being listened to. That will equalize the engineer with the common man and create way for an open dialogue.
Through this dialogue, a transfer of responsibility has to take place. In this transition, the individual responsibility over the product should shift from the engineer or company that developed the innovation, to the common people. In this was a feeling of collective responsibility will be created in the society, abandoning fears of encountering unforeseen risks and the possible loss of morals and values.

So in short, if radical technologies are needed to give the world a brighter future, then, a collective feeling of responsibility has to be created.

Expand selection Contract selection

Future-proofing the economy

Limited resources and unlimited wants resulting in collaborative consumption - the sharing economy.

Limited resources and unlimited wants resulting in collaborative consumption - the sharing economy.

The sharing economy; source:change-magazine.org

The availability of internet has started a bit of a revolution when it comes to innovation. What we take for granted today might have not existed 20 or so years ago – prime example being anything we do on the internet. It truly is the greatest innovation platform invented to date.

One of the biggest beneficiaries of this internet platform are the service industry providers, i.e. businesses based around providing services to the general public. Want a car by your doorstep in less than 5 minutes? Uber has you covered. Need an affordable place to stay during your summer trip? Rent an apartment through Airbnb! Need a bike to get around? You can find it in minutes. These mentioned services can be classified as a part of the emerging so-called sharing economy. You don’t own a product per-se, but you can find one available when you need it, where you need it. The emergence of sharing economy can be attributed to the changing order of ownership in the 21st century, or even overpopulation – the same amount of resources are being shared by an ever-increasing number of people.

The sharing economy is booming in East Asia, specifically in the overpopulated metropoles such as Seoul, South Korea. Seoul has a population density 10 times the one of Rotterdam The Hague Metropolitan Area, just to give some context. Considering that the population density in Europe is increasing, it’s quite important to pay attention how others have been, and still are, tackling the said issue. Their approach is unique in a way, and very supportive of the shift in the economy. From consulting and subsidizing startups and giving grants, they take a very traditional approach of the development process, but they also use a different approach – appealing to people’s feelings. Something we’re less used to here in Europe, but this appeal to the emotions of the population has always been a part of the East Asian culture, with splendid outcomes! The society is sticking together, creating new opportunities by sharing unused resources – sharing the economy. They’re trying to keep the community integrated during the “rapid urbanization” [1], whilst in Europe we are much better acquainted with small steps in creating new ideas – so-called incremental innovation. The main issue these radical innovations face in Europe is the excessive use of policies to regulate the economy, which are becoming outdated at an increasing pace, creating a bottleneck which, for example, Uber is facing at the moment (no regulations on this sort of business exist yet [2]). 

How much better off would the whole economy be, if only we embraced the current shifts in the economy and society like the fellow Earthlings of Eastern Asia do? The innovation gap is right there for us to grab it, which is blocked only the existing policies that the Europeans aren’t changing quickly enough. Europe is a far way off from the current situation in Seoul, so there’s still time to prepare for the overpopulation that is bound to happen in a country like the Netherlands, where there’s no more room for city expansion. Signs of this change are already appearing, like the current housing shortage in Delft. [3]

So, the outtake from the above is that embracing the current societal, as well as technological, trends that form the sharing economy as a good change for all the stakeholders – the general public, business owners, as well as the environment! [4]

 

 

Sources:

[1] http://www.fastcoexist.com/1682623/why-the-sharing-economy-is-taking-off-in-seoul

[2] http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2015/06/10/uber-fight-shows-governments-must-keep-up-with-technological-change.html

[3] http://delta.tudelft.nl/article/international-students-burdened-by-delft-housing-shortage/29171

[4] http://theconversation.com/the-sharing-economy-is-a-triple-win-for-consumers-business-and-the-environment-34995

 

Expand selection Contract selection

Genetically Modified Agriculture: A Sustainable and Responsible Innovation?

In this short article the role of radical and incremental innovation will be explored in the controversial field of GMO agriculture.

In this short article the role of radical and incremental innovation will be explored in the controversial field of GMO agriculture.

gmo corn.jpg

International food security is a currently high on the agendas of both developing and developed nations alike. The World Food program states that approximately one in nine, or 795 million people do not have enough food to lead healthy and active lifestyles. Most of these people live in developing nations, and producers might still have much to gain from employing newer technologies within traditional agriculture practices. However, in the longer term, with difficulties pertaining to water security, climate change and shifts in consumer demand as well as increasing populations, many scientists and leaders suggest that traditional farming will not be enough. Plants must be substantially changed so as to improve yields, while reducing inputs – that’s the theory at least.

Initially, as compared to the very slow process of breeding, genetically modifying plants by affecting their DNA, to improve their resistances to pests, water stress and weeds, was seen as a radical innovation. The first GMO crop to be commercialized was an herbicide-resistant tobacco plant in 1986. This allowed producers to use herbicides to a greater effect without damaging the cash crop, improving yields and profits. Since then, radical as well as incremental innovations have been made in the field and plants are being continuously re-engineered for varying purposes-- to add key nutritional elements (Golden Rice project), increase yields (maize with more kernels per cob), or rejuvenate soils by re-supplying necessary nutrients. However, many acknowledge that there could be unforeseen risks to widespread gene modification in agriculture, including the loss of species through cross-pollination, vulnerability to plague as well as risks to human and ecosystem health.

The result has been that governments around the world have drawn conclusions and adopted policies, which range from complete acceptance of GMO to the complete rejection thereof, and everything in between, as can be seen in the graph below. An example of a law showing this stark contrast is that in the USA, it is a traditional farmer’s duty to make sure his crops are not affected by his GMO neighbour. Monsanto, a large agribusiness and designer of GMO crops, has been known to sue farmers for inadvertently using their intellectual property as a result of accidental cross-pollination. A similar law in Germany, however, stipulates that it is the GMO farmers, who must ensure above all else, that their plants do not contaminate others. Moreover, as with most radical innovations, which entail controversies, the public has been the greatest opponent to GMOs, while the concept has gained support among scientists. Both sides of the argument must understand and balance the risks and benefits associated with the technology and act accordingly in moving forward. Moreover, , accountabilities for the use, or misuse, of GMOs, must also be designated responsibly.

This leaves open the question of how to determine which radical innovations to employ and at what scale. Which incremental innovations must be made to existing GMOs to ensure their sustainability and responsibility going forward? How can one structure and manage the research and development of GMOs in a safe and effective way, while not stifling economic growth and ensuring intellectual property rights? How do we weigh the potential of being able to feed the world against the potential of irreversibly and negatively affecting speciation and biodiversity? One could suggest that the safe path forward is to continue researching the possibilities, while limiting exposure to the environment, until all negative aspects have been sufficiently explored. However, this process could take decades while food security, malnourishment, and environmental degradation due to agriculture are real problems, which humanity faces today.

Sources:
http://theconversation.com/can-gene-editing-provide-a-solution-to-global-hunger-43444
https://skeptoid.com/blog/2014/06/19/gmo-labeling-consumer-protection-or-fear-mongering/
http://www.goldenrice.org/
Images:
www.wikipedia.org
www.geneticliteracyproject.org/

Expand selection Contract selection

The harmony of creativity

Stimulating the creative and cultural industries should be a top priority for governments. Why a shift from short to long term vision should be the norm.

Stimulating the creative and cultural industries should be a top priority for governments. Why a shift from short to long term vision should be the norm.

TED-Ed: benefits of playing an instrument

In a free market, companies spend big bucks on research and development to stay ahead of their competitors and to increase profits. However, governments also spend millions, if not billions, on science, culture and education. This balance between corporations and governments stimulates innovations and streamlines economies, for example by educating future employees. But is the government actually playing the right role, if any role at all? And what should this role even be?

During the 2008 recession, many organizations and corporations had to find ways to save money or work more efficient. During this time, the Dutch government decided to cut heavily on budgets for the cultural sector, to force organizations to work more efficiently. Although it is fair to reduce funding for culture, given that loads of subsidies for many other sectors were also cut back, the culture sector was not the most popular destination for government money to begin with. I find this strange, since culture is said to be one of the corner stones of civilization.

In ancient times, history shows that culture flourished in empires like that of the Roman, Greek or Persian. Although one could argue that these empires were vastly wealthy and therefore had money to spare to build monuments and libraries, I think it is the other way around.

Recent research has shown that culture, be it music, dance, art or more, stimulates intelligence. People that have learned to play an instrument in their youth have for example less problem with learning a foreign language and are generally more creative and more self-confident. Visiting art expositions stimulates critical thinking in less black and white terms and therefore enhancing people’s capabilities to create more creative connections in their thinking. And nothing improves one’s capability to express oneself than learning to dance. In short, culture as a whole has a great impact on education and intelligence, children and adults alike.

Unfortunately, governments nowadays tend to limit spending on the creative industries and send most of the funding to companies and organizations that only reach out to very large groups and that create big revenue on the short run. This short-sighted thinking smothers chances to improve a civilization on the long run. Structural funding for every aspect of the cultural and creative industries should be seen as the baseline to further economic and social development for society as a whole.

There is a surplus of research stating the benefits of stimulating creativity and culture. However, I highly recommend the video from TED-Ed: “how playing an instrument benefits your brain”. It perfectly illustrates the point of stimulating culture and music education.

Expand selection Contract selection

Hospitality At Its Finest Times

Hospitality is recognized as a major service for consumers in today's society, and radical innovation into this field allows for better experience for guests in hotels. The Radical Innovation Award further challenges hotel enterprises to provide a new, elevated form of service to hotel guests.

Hospitality is recognized as a major service for consumers in today's society, and radical innovation into this field allows for better experience for guests in hotels. The Radical Innovation Award further challenges hotel enterprises to provide a new, elevated form of service to hotel guests.

Green ait hotel.png

Radical innovation has brought about many new changes to society in the form of products and services alike; further and not limited to hospitality. Hotels provide a popular service to the masses, not only in the form of accommodation suites but also in facilities, customer service, and touristic amenities. Providing new designs, impact, and creativity to the hospitality market can reap great benefits, and the most innovative submission is awarded by the Radical Innovation Award; where voters decide on who produced the greatest impact on customer service in hospitality.

This heightened initiative has led to some fantastic, creative designs for hotels to implement and keep customers coming back. Beyond that, radical innovation has led to crucial advancement into sustainability as well. More specifically, Lip Chiong;a finalist for the Radical Innovation Award; has become responsible for the Green Air Hotel, which takes into account certain societal issues and dilemmas faced by her country, China. China has been faced with an air pollution issue, and many out of date hotels have come under scrutiny for not providing efficient air flow for hotel guests. With the new form of radical innovation, Green Air Hotel, greenhouses have been implemented to act as air filters to remove toxins and supply oxygen. 

Radical innovation thus provides new services for consumers to enjoy while keeping other stakeholders happy, and allowing for successful sustainability while keeping environmentally friendly initiatives. Radical innovation provides benefits far further than just meeting market demands, and has led to some outstanding designs for hotels to implement. It is clear the extent to which advancement has been made into hospitality due to radical innovation, but this does not come without its hindrances. 

With regards to providing new world performance features, the timeline of implementation may seem vast; as it could take many years to see the results. Seeing very few or negligible results can be demoralizing to employees, especially considering the large amount of investments. The Radical Innovation Award recognizes this, and could prove that the short-term can be ignored for a more forward-looking approach. Furthermore, very few executives and leaders have experienced success with radical innovation. The lack of results in the short-run, the long timeline, and significant required investments make it very difficult to achieve intended success.

Extending to the Green Air Hotel, it surely took a lot of patience and investments to implement an idea and reap the benefits years later. For Lip Chiong, he will say the time and effort was well worth it. Radical innovation allowed him to be more recognized and reap great benefits from its implementation. The award was only a cherry on the cake- but did provide great incentive to experiment with radical innovation.

In conclusion, there are great incentives for radical innovation in today's marketplace. Besides awards and recognition, there is proof of success when implemented as shown by Lip Chiong. Management should not be risk-averse for this to work, as the risks and length of time needed could prove to be negative. Finding the right balance paired with the right idea can lead to new innovations that are truly revolutionary and beneficial to many parties.

 

 

Expand selection Contract selection

Housing of the refugees

The refugee crisis can be a problem but an oppurtunity as well. The building sector sees great oppurtunity in the housing of these refugees. They use incremental innovation to realise this.

The refugee crisis can be a problem but an oppurtunity as well. The building sector sees great oppurtunity in the housing of these refugees. They use incremental innovation to realise this.

1007a.jpg

With more refugees coming to Europe and so to the Netherlands one of the biggest problems is the housing of these refugees. At this moment around 3000 refugees come to the Netherlands per month to ask for asylum. As our law prescribes we should give them shelter until the procedure for asking asylum is over and the refugee either is a license-holder which means they can live in the Netherlands, or gets pardoned, which means they may not live in the Netherlands. At this moment the main problem is the temporary shelter the refugees need while waiting for ‘green’ light. Another problem is that in some time there will be more refugees as license-holders and they are divided over the municipalities who need to give them a home within four weeks. This stresses our social housing.

There are different reactions to these housing problems. Some people start yelling that they take our homes and so they should just all be sent back. They are afraid that the coming refugees will negatively influence their standards of living. I agree with them to the extent that many people are waiting for years for social housing to get a chance for a place of their own. The problem is that the refugees only have four weeks before they are kicked out of the asylum shelters so they get priority over other people in the social housing system. This raises tension between the refugees and the other people in need of social housing.

Not everyone sees this as a problem but rather as an opportunity. The social housing problem is an opportunity for the building sector in the Netherlands. Who, due to the crisis, have had some tough years in which more than 85.000 full time jobs were lost since 2009. They start to innovate but different than what we are used to in innovation. Instead of upgrading an innovation and often so make products more expensive, they reduce complexity and in this way also reduce costs. Different architects, building companies and social housing corporations have presented new concepts. They are now thinking about container housing, office buildings which will be renovated into social housing, small wooden houses on wasteland and many more suggestions.

I think this is indeed a great opportunity for the building sector and also a step forwards in social housing. For just normal housing as well, where smaller houses started to arise more on the market but only scarcely. While there are many people that want to live in cheaper houses or that are in need of social housing as mentioned before people have to wait for years before they have a chance of getting a house from social housing. I see this happening around me, where friends want to live on their own but they can’t. I believe the social housing system can be improved and that there should come more cheap houses as well.

I think this is a beautiful example of incremental responsible innovation. Incremental innovation is innovation that is introduced in an existing market and with existing technologies. The technologies to do this are all there and the market as shown is there as well. These initiatives should be encouraged, I also believe this can be a responsible innovation. For instance the changing of office buildings into houses is re-use of empty buildings which I think can be a sustainable innovation. So not every responsible innovation needs to be one with new technologies and be more expensive. Sometimes it is important to look into another direction as well when we want to innovate and we can use the situations at hand to inspire us to do so!

Expand selection Contract selection

Innovation: Big vs. Small

Small companies are mostly responsible for the radical innovations of our age, compared to corporations. This column explains why.

Small companies are mostly responsible for the radical innovations of our age, compared to corporations. This column explains why.

Big or small

Innovation has always had a huge role in speeding up society, with the biggest jump perhaps being the industrial revolution. In recent decades, technical innovation in particular has seen an immense increase in frequency due to the rising speed and capacity of processors. Surprisingly however, most radical innovations that nowadays characterize our society were originally invented by small companies or even individuals. Here is why.

Firstly and perhaps most importantly, the biggest difference is that smaller companies or start-ups often have a one product state of mind. Especially if the company is started because of an innovation, but of course in this case the innovation has already taken place. Usually when companies are set up to sell a single product, they will embrace a big risk because they have no stability to fall back to. This might end up in the company’s downfall, but if it doesn’t it might mean instant success. Bigger companies will not embrace this big risk because it cannot afford to lose a big sum in a competitive economy.

Another major factor in innovation within companies is the speed at which decisions make it through to other levels. In very small companies this can happen instantly, for example if the staff is all together having lunch. While taking in nutrients they have a game changing idea and everyone knows about it at the same time. If an employee of a big corporation has such an idea, he has to tell it to his boss after lunch, who might then tell it to his boss afterward. This is an informal way of transferring an idea. A formal way, literally through filling in a form, might take even longer. Companies can often take months to deliver feedback opinion on an idea, a time in which a small company might have already worked out their idea and brought it to the market.

Adding to this, there is also the fact that in a small group of members, everyone has a clear idea of how their company works and what their role in the market is. Perhaps they have all taken part in the foundation of the company and therefore know all about it, which simplifies the process of innovation.

On the other hand, there are some advantages which big companies have over their smaller counterparts in the field of innovation. They might have, for example, a very advanced system of dealing with innovation within a company. If a smaller company has a new idea but is not able to push it forward because of a lack of experience about procedures the innovation gets slowed down or even canceled. Corporations can be much more efficient in this matter. Then of course there is also the fact that large companies have much higher potential funds for innovating.

Concluding, we can see that smaller businesses have a clear advantage when a new, a radical, idea is being formed. Embracing the risk and idea of their new invention they work closely together to form a final product. Where bigger corporations might have a procedural approach to innovation within their bounds, this might get disrupted if an idea is purely radical. This is why bigger corporations are still leading in incremental innovations, but lose to their smaller counterparts when it comes to society-changing inventions.

 

Source used: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/innovation-7-key-differences-between-big-small-stefan-lindegaard 

Expand selection Contract selection

‘Innovation For Everyone’

I read it every day on NU.nl: big news about pioneering tech innovations. Most of the time I admire all the great innovations that new start-ups came up with. But for myself; no I am not thát creative or rich so I cannot innovate. During this course I more and more see our own built-in thresholds to innovate. A lot of people, including myself, don’t believe in self-made innovation. Why? I will give a few examples I experience concerning this topic:

I read it every day on NU.nl: big news about pioneering tech innovations. Most of the time I admire all the great innovations that new start-ups came up with. But for myself; no I am not thát creative or rich so I cannot innovate. During this course I more and more see our own built-in thresholds to innovate. A lot of people, including myself, don’t believe in self-made innovation. Why? I will give a few examples I experience concerning this topic:

Innovation in small steps

First of all we are impatience. We immediately want to have the idea for the new radical innovation of the century. It needs to be business-proof, bring in some serious cash and also serve a higher goal. Actually you need all this requirements to put an innovation to real life. When the idea is not an innovation, you will not succeed in practicing the idea. But most of the time we think too big. Our minds are focused on pioneering ideas, which holds up our creativity to come up with small ideas. Incremental innovation is a good example of innovation that is accessible for everyone. It can be a new way to open a can of beer or a new seat to sit more comfortable. Small ideas can produce a huge impact.

Second, we do not dare. Most of the people are risk-aversive. People want to control the environment they live in. This feeling of insecurity slows us down to put our great ideas into practice. We need to be more entrepreneurs. Stubborn, passionate and daring to take risks. Learning by doing is key for this. You definitely fail in this process, but the fact of failing is the best way to learn. Eric Ries talks about this in his book; ‘The Lean Start Up’. Ideas are not immediately worth to put into practice. But when pivoting this idea while putting it into practice it will be more and more a great innovation.

Third, we listen to much. All the people around us are risk-aversive as well. Parents, friends or even our wife. They all do not believe in the idea, like you do. Too many great ideas are skipped because of bad advices of people we love. We can take this advices into consideration n, but it does not have to be a threshold to innovate.

Fourth, we think innovation is only possible with a lot of money. Of course we need money to implement our innovation. That is a fact we cannot discuss. But in this times of venture capital and intrapreneurship this does not have to be a threshold to come up with more and more ideas. A lot of companies are willing to financially support small and big ideas that can change the world. So do not think about the money too much, think about how you can get partners. They have the money!

To conclude, the ‘management of innovations’ by our brains most of the times bears a lot of challenges. Don’t think you cannot innovate. You can! The only vital thing you need is the passion and dare to just do it. Enjoy the process and believe in your idea.

 

Corné Smaal / Business Administration / Erasmus University

Expand selection Contract selection

Innovative products are no longer radical

Innovations used to be radical but in our society we only innnovate incremental

Innovations used to be radical but in our society we only innnovate incremental

innovate in existing innovations

Innovative products are no longer radical

 

When we talk about innovation, we can distinguish two different types of innovation: the incremental innovation and the radical innovation.

Whereas  incremental innovation tend to change step by step, the radical innovation completely changes the current situation. 

If we look at the history of radical innovation, we find i.a electricity, the internet but also the refrigerator, the digital camera and Amazon. These innovation radically changed the way we work, live and interact with each other. Without these inventions our whole way of life would be completely different. Incremental innovation is  more in the direction of the improvement  of the current product or situation.

But can we say that we still radically  innovate products in our time? I do not think so.

If we look at recent  breakthroughs in innovative product, such as   the Smartphone or the tablet which are  both examples of breakthroughs, , do we ever question whether or not they are really that extraordinary? In my opinion these innovations are incremental innovation, step by step pushing forward  and improving the products that are already present. The Smartphone  is an improved device . It already consisted of a screen, call feature and working memory.  But by adding  a more powerful What  is interesting is the fact that all parts were already there. Working  memory was used by computers and only needed to be reduced in order to fit in the smartphone, the same goes to have changed radically . This is because before the first iPad there had never been a similar product in its catagory . But how different is the tablet from the smartphone or a laptop . When taking the size of a small laptop and the processing power of a Smartphone  the tablet arises and clearly shows that this is  step by step innovation.

What we see is a trend that went from radical innovation to incremental innovation. The radical innovations, and changes that it brought, were truly essential to the way we live. But radical innovations are dangerous and full of uncertainties. Incremental innovation on the other hand does have its shortcomings  but, because it is implemented over a long period of time , is easier  to control. If companies can innovate by fitting multiple parts together and thereby  creating a new market they do  innovate. But because the technology is already present in these different parts companies only have to search for the ideal combination to achieve success in the market . This is a safer way to innovate and re-uses  known knowledge.

Expand selection Contract selection

The lucky 0.1%

Why WeTransfer made it and the hangover mask didn’t.

Why WeTransfer made it and the hangover mask didn’t.

Successful innovation

Ever heard of this?

Seen this...

Or used this?

You probably didn’t, because these are all examples of great inventions that unfortunately never made it to the market. But why didn’t they? I mean, who wouldn’t want a hangover mask, am I right?

This is a question that thousands of people, probably including the inventor of the hangover mask, dream of knowing the answer to: How do innovations become successful? The answer is unfortunately not that straightforward. There is no such thing as a roadmap that guides you to producing a successful innovation. If one thing is certain, it is that no one can really predict what the next thing that everybody wants is going to be; there are simply too many factors involved in the process of innovation and its marketing and diffusion. Factors that you can often not control: timing, an investor that sees something in your innovation and wants to spend money on it, a market that is mature enough to understand and accept your innovation, the right infrastructure, the right people at the right places at the right times. What it basically comes down to, is that you just have to be lucky. It’s not for nothing that only 0.1% of all new ideas are translated in successful commercial products. It’s simply not easy to come up with something that has a chance of surviving in this world where we already have something for everything.

You can try to create an environment in which the determinants for successful innovation are optimized. Take YES!Delft for example, an “incubator for startups with a scalable, technological innovation”. In this company, students, creative startups, investors, coaches and innovative corporations are brought together, thus creating an ecosystem that is perfect for innovations. All ingredients are present: inspiration, money, expertise, facilities, office space, etc. All it takes for you is to have one good idea, and enough talent, motivation and perseverance to convince others of this idea. Over a hundred companies have already made a start through YES!Delft, making it one of the most successful incubators in the Netherlands.

But some don’t even need this kind of help. Last week, I read an interview in Volkskrant magazine with Nalden, a 30-year-old Dutch guy who didn’t even finish high school, but made €45 million by being one of the first Dutch bloggers and coming up with the idea for WeTransfer, a service to send large files of which I'm sure that everyone of you uses it. Without knowing how to make a website: he paid 2 tech geeks to do the actual work. And what I shouldn’t forget to mention: the idea was actually not even new. The comparable service YouSendit (yep, WeTransfer was a pretty witty reply to that) already existed when WeTransfer was founded in 2009. Not anymore though.

Why did WeTransfer become so incredibly successful and YouSendit not? In the interview, Nalden said he believed it was because he put a lot of effort in making an appealing website design. This could certainly be a factor in the success of WeTransfer, but I cannot believe this is the only thing that made the difference. Maybe even Nalden doesn't know how he pulled it off. And I certainly don’t either, but if I can give my humble advice: take Nalden as an example to realize that anyone can be a successful innovator. Just have the courage to try: maybe your innovation will belong to the lucky 0.1%. In the meantime, I’m going to go look for this hangover mask. God knows I need it.

Expand selection Contract selection

Management of vehicles’ electrification in the Netherlands

Global warming and the pollution of our environment urges worldwide industry, also Dutch’, to drastically change our energy production and consumption. Electrifying our vehicle fleet is considered as a major first step to move on to renewable energy. Now the question arises how this innovative challenge can best be managed in order to successfully implement an architectural innovation like the Electric Vehicle (EV) into the Dutch and worldwide market.

Global warming and the pollution of our environment urges worldwide industry, also Dutch’, to drastically change our energy production and consumption. Electrifying our vehicle fleet is considered as a major first step to move on to renewable energy. Now the question arises how this innovative challenge can best be managed in order to successfully implement an architectural innovation like the Electric Vehicle (EV) into the Dutch and worldwide market.

Electric Vehicle

Where the market share of renewable energy in the Netherlands increased to 5,8 percent in 2014 [1], this is still a very little part of the total energy production. The often great resistance against windmills near houses I read about in the newspapers makes me think how the other 94,2 percent will be located such that residents won’t be disadvantaged. However, renewable energy sources form a huge part of a successful large-scale implementation of Electric Vehicles (EVs) in the Dutch market. Why? Because using EVs and not changing our energy production won’t significantly solve the problem of global warming, it just shifts the problem from the vehicles to the electricity factories, where electricity is generated from fossil fuels (Figure 1). But I must have to admit, carbon dioxide is much better to catch at the industry level than at the vehicle-level, but this won’t be a significant difference. So driving EVs requires a sustainable energy supply. How about managing this interaction and, more important, how to make the link between a technological design (EVs) and the customer market? As you know, a technology can be that revolutionary, if you’re not able to translate this technology into market terms, your innovation is doomed to fail.

Figure. Risk of shifting the problem

Let’s start with five criteria innovation management must pass in order to be successful in the market and then apply those to the EV. The criteria are [2]:

  • Great leadership
  • Large customer profit
  • Right timing
  • Not going too fast
  • Innovative mentality

No lack of innovative mentality in the case of EVs! The current electrical engines on the market are of a very high quality and in relative short time, very diverse electric vehicles were developed. Companies investing in Research & Development vary from Tesla to Google. Also few complaints about going too fast, EV companies are quite patient and keep developing EVs that have to take over the car industry. Also the guidelines set up by the Dutch government, implicating that in 2020 there have to be 200.000 EVs and in 2025 1 million EVs [3], make clear that the government understands that large scale production of this innovation requires patience and customer acclimatization. Right timing is the leader of the list: there couldn’t be a better time than now, a time in which global warming is given top priority and the supply of oil is running out.

Regarding EV-management, questions can be asked about short term customer profits and great leadership. The price of an average EV is balancing around 25000 euros [4], much more than the average price of a conventional vehicle. This is caused by the high costs of the batteries storing the electricity. Also the range of EVs, about 250 kilometres, is much less than the range of conventional vehicles around 500 kilometres [5]. On the short term, customer profitability of EVs can thus be doubted. There also seems to be a lack of leadership in the EV-industry: government is trying to leave the innovation of EVs as much as possible to the market and several companies are developing their own designs, not communicating much with each other (maybe because of competitive reasons). Tesla, BMW, Toyota, Google: all these companies are developing very diverse EVs but what I miss is a coordinating body, exchanging designs and strategies in order to steer the EV-production into a certain direction, maximizing customer profitability. About the earlier discussed profitability, on the long term EVs could be beneficial when oil prices are running out of control because of a decreasing oil supply and when the technology level is raising so that production of EVs becomes cheaper. This will be just a matter of time: EVs are much more developed than other transportation variants, like hydrogen vehicles or vehicles driving on gas, and fact is that we have to move on to other transportation types (future shortage of oil).

As I mentioned in the beginning, no Electric Vehicle without energy transition to renewable energy. A proposal for the Dutch government: what you should do, is cooperating with the other North West European countries on generating large scale renewable energy. The Netherlands is just too small to produce 100% renewable energy on their own and there is a lot of space in Germany and the Nordic countries. With the excuse that we are also taking Norwegian prisoners into our country.

 

Sources

[1] http://www.compendiumvoordeleefomgeving.nl/indicatoren/nl0385-Verbruik-van-hernieuwbare-energie.html?i=9-53

[2] https://www.managementsite.nl/innoveren-innovatie-blunders

[3] http://www.rvo.nl/sites/default/files/bijlagen/Plan%20van%20aanpak%20-elektrisch%20rijden%20in%20de%20versnelling-.pdf

[4] http://www.anwb.nl/auto/themas/elektrisch-rijden/elektrische-autos/welke-autos-zijn-er/welke-autos-zijn-er

[5] http://www.wagenplan.nl/wagenparkbeheerder/elektrisch-rijden/algemene-informatie

Expand selection Contract selection

Only good innovations

In this column various aspects are discussed about innovations. There is also argued that the government should do more to prevent ‘bad’ innovations.

In this column various aspects are discussed about innovations. There is also argued that the government should do more to prevent ‘bad’ innovations.

good innovation.jpg

What do we all have in our lives? Problems, they are the one thing that are common in all our lives. Most of the time we solve these problems with innovation, or of course create problems with them. Innovations can be used for the good and the bad. You have innovations that helped people all over the world, like medicines. A bad innovation is, for example, the atom bomb. It killed a lot of people in Hiroshima.

Innovation for Good" v:shapes="Picture_x0020_1">You have radical innovations and incremental innovations. Incremental innovation builds on existing knowledge and aims at existing customers. Radical innovation typically is aimed at both new markets and new knowledge. Responsible innovation requires radical innovation. Think of the internet. This technology created new options for action and because of this it raised new ethical issues, like privacy. We should try to address these problems earlier. Governments most of the time make legislation far after the technology is, sometimes even worldwide, implemented, for example as I earlier said the privacy issues of the internet. Now the internet is so big that it is very hard to control. Now there are big governance problems because of the fact that the government was not involved in this innovation. An example where the government was involved , but not in the right way, is the atom bomb. Should they not, for example, in the making of the atom bomb think more about the ethical issues of developing such a bomb with destructive power. If they had, it  would make the Cold War less dangerous. Now because of America did not think about this we live in a world when these bombs fall in the wrong hands it can literally mean the end of the world. I think that radical innovations that change the world this much should be first tested by the government then the government or governments decide if it is good to produce or not. In a world where technology changes this much and improves at a fast rate is it not better to control the pace somehow. Or at least control the innovations, in an extent where the government decides which innovations will be produced or not. This is of course not the ideal solution, because you should be sure that the government can be trusted and this is not an open market anymore. How can the government be more involved in innovations? Sometimes the basic scientific principle explaining the working of a technology become clear after the technology is successfully utilised for years. The Invention of the principle technology to enable television can be dated between 1925 and 1930. Instead of the start of a product development project it took a decade before the first televisions were introduced. So an invention is not always something you can directly turn into a product. Sometimes it can take a couple of years to turn your invention in to a product. This is maybe a positive aspect of innovation. The government can in these years between invention and product check whether this innovation will make the world better or not.

I think it is important that governments interfere more with innovations to make sure that there will not be innovations that harms the world. As I began, innovations can be good and bad, the government should make sure that innovations are only good!

Expand selection Contract selection

From plastic soup to a sustainable road

volkerwessels-plastic-road.jpg

More and more plastic waste is ending up in our oceans and seas, because of the circular sea current in the north of the Pacific all this plastic waste is gathering in the middle of this current. This is what we call “the plastic soup”. Plastic isn’t biologically degradable, which means as long we keep throwing our plastic in the ocean this soup will only get bigger. With the last measurements of scientists the estimation is that this so called soup is now 34 times bigger than the whole of the Netherlands, and is weighing over 8 billion kilos.

The name soups comes from the fact that plastic waste is reduces to smaller particles due to the effects of weathering, sunlight and wave action. As a result the plastic fragments into micro particles where it evolves in a soup like substation which is releasing toxins and mistaken by the marine life for food. This leads to serious pollution of our oceans that occupy 72 % of the earth’s surface and are our main source of oxygen. With serious trouble for more than half the world’s population who is relying on our waters as a primary food source.

The danger of this plastic soup is getting clearer because of all the research that is done in this field and all kind of initiatives came up in cleaning our oceans. The TU Delft is together with The Ocean Cleanup exploring efficient ways to contribute to making our oceans clean again. The first cleanup is planned to take place in 2020.

Rolf Mars president of KWS Infra saw the need that he had to contribute to cleaning our oceans. He tried not to tackle the problem at its core, but create a demand for this plastic that is ready to be recycled and put to a use again. The concept PlasticRoads was born. PlasticRoads is a concept to replace the traditional tarmac roads by sustainable plastic roads, which are made up of 100 % recycled plastic. With 8 billion kilos of plastic there will be more than enough building material for our road system.

The PlasticRoads will be made up of lightweight constructions that are easy to assemble to each other and are hollow inside. This hollow could be used to integrate systems in the road such as: Sensors, cables, ducts and jacks for lampposts. Next to that compared to tarmac the plastic roads are superior in lifespan, needed maintenance and less sensitive for weather influences and weeds. New upcoming innovations like ultra-silent or energy absorbing will also be easier applicable on plastic roads than the traditional tarmac.

PlasticRoads shows there isn’t always a need for a void in the market for innovators to come up with clever ideas, but a surplus of what seems like garbage could lead to a revolutionary innovation, clean oceans and a road system which is sustainable and ready for the future. 

Expand selection Contract selection

Please swipe left or right

Tinder has created a new order for creating applications, the swipe left or right feature! A strong incremental innovation, that has taken the online dating world by storm, and with it any other application trying to sell something.

Tinder has created a new order for creating applications, the swipe left or right feature! A strong incremental innovation, that has taken the online dating world by storm, and with it any other application trying to sell something.

tinder1.jpg

If you ask most people what they think about Tinder the response will probably be a long and passionate rant. It’s shallow, superficial, sleazy, addictive, and possibly even dangerous! Not to mention its promotion of promiscuity and bad influence on our morals and values. But there’s one problem with the argument that Tinder is “bad for us”: if Tinder is so dangerous, and if it is actually responsible for every societal ill from global warming to the Kardashians, why are so many people in the tech dating—and even non-dating—spaces copying it?

For an app that’s so universally criticized, Tinder sure does have a ton of fans, among those the developers who have shamelessly copied its most successful ingredient: the swipe left or right feature. By far the biggest innovation in application features nowadays. Tinder has often been accused of making the digital dating space a game, turning the traditionally awkward and stigmatised situation of meeting someone online into an activity as fun and breezy as playing Candy Crush on your phone. Some other applications have borrowed the swipe left or right interface because it encourages lightweight decisions. What is really remarkable is that the successful design that encourages “fun and fast” decision-making for a casual hookup-app, is becoming the happy-go-lucky, carefree, swipe-right-swipe left model for standard digital marketing spaces and any other kind of application out there.  

Not only do applications copy Tinder, they validate themselves by openly claiming they did. If you take a look at the tech dating space, every new app, from JCrush (“Jewish Tinder”) to Revealr (“Voice recording Tinder”) is mentioned in the same breath as Tinder itself. Even non-hookup apps are getting in the act of imitating Tinder, to the point where it’s become a must for new apps to market themselves as “Tinder for ____.” There’s a Tinder for jobs (Switch), a Tinder for food (Tender), and even a Tinder for dogs! (for the curious: check out Barkbuddy for IOS).

But we are currently at a point in where Tinder has such a large influence on the “new” way of making applications, that it is almost impossible for a competitor to establish itself in the market without copying some of its design features or marketing it in a similar fashion. It is hindering designer creativity and even blocking our own perspective on how we make decisions. If everything is as easy as swiping left and right, do we still feel the need to stop and think when decision making gets tougher or do we rapidly choose for the easier way out? I will leave that to the experts on social media to find out, but it is definitely something to be aware of.

Getting back to Tinder, the question now has less to do with whether Tinder has permanently changed the landscape of application designs and more to do with where we go from here. We are learning so much about user behaviour that our perception of what works changes almost on a weekly basis.  Clearly the left and right swipe feature is a great way to instantly view people or products, opening up new possibilities for our online shopping behaviour. But is there room for improvement or will we forever swipe our phones to find our prince charming or perfect pair of shoes?

Expand selection Contract selection

The quality of Quantified Self

It is inevitable that technology plays a big role in our daily life. Nowadays, we even start to give names to thermostats. For example Anna, Anna is a smart thermostat, which analyzes the lifestyle of residents and adapts herself completely to their lifestyle to make home comfortable (1). She even takes the weather outside into account and makes sure that will enter a warm home on a cold winter day. But thermostats that adjust themselves on our lifestyle aren’t so bad. But it will be bad when we will start to adjust ourselves to the technology. Is that the case with Quantified Self?

It is inevitable that technology plays a big role in our daily life. Nowadays, we even start to give names to thermostats. For example Anna, Anna is a smart thermostat, which analyzes the lifestyle of residents and adapts herself completely to their lifestyle to make home comfortable (1). She even takes the weather outside into account and makes sure that will enter a warm home on a cold winter day. But thermostats that adjust themselves on our lifestyle aren’t so bad. But it will be bad when we will start to adjust ourselves to the technology. Is that the case with Quantified Self?

Quantified Self

 

Technology telling you how you feel today. That is the new concept, quantified self. The exact definition: Quantified Self is a movement to incorporate technology into data acquisition on aspects of a person's daily life in terms of inputs (e.g. food consumed, quality of surrounding air), states (e.g. mood, arousal, blood oxygen levels), and performance (mental and physical) (2). A whole new market has developed around the quantified self: bracelets that measure blood pressure, your sleep cycle and steps per day. Many good things can be done with the data of these products. For example people start to live healthier and the data can be used in hospitals and clinics. With this system, we will feel more self-responsible for our own health.

But also a lot of bad things can arise of this new technology. Think about insurance companies that can adjust their costs on someone’s personal lifestyle. The risk lays in the inequality of people in this system. It will be a hard task for disabled people to participate in this system. It will cause a gap between fit people and unfit people.

But actually I know a lot people that have such a bracelet. The app that belongs to the bracelet recommends 10000 steps each day. I often have seen that these people will make an extra evening walk to get these 10000 steps. And I think this is a positive side of the device. Because they have the knowledge, people will do more effort to stay fit.

 For an environment where we have to take care of the old ones and healthcare is more expensive then ever, it’s good for our generation to learn to be responsible for your own health. It’s an architectural innovation; a new market and a new product. Therefore it needs good laws of data use to prevent data-abuse. To prevent that people will adjust themselves too much to the technology, they have to remember that it is a helping system, not an obligatory system. The
n, in my opinion, we will have a lot of advantages of Quantified Self.

 

 

Sources:

  1. Information about smart thermostat Anna, source: http://tweakers.net/nieuws/98439/plugwise-introduceert-slimme-thermostaat-anna.html
  2. Quantified-self definition: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantified_Self
  3. Image Quantified Self made by Lisa Gerards
Expand selection Contract selection

Volkswagen: self-interest is key!

Volkswagen, the big German car producer, isn't that much big anymore. Thanks to the big emission scandal with the diesel engines, their image and stock price declined significantly. Can this be a bridge to a more sustainable behaviour?

Volkswagen, the big German car producer, isn't that much big anymore. Thanks to the big emission scandal with the diesel engines, their image and stock price declined significantly. Can this be a bridge to a more sustainable behaviour?

Volkswagen-fraude-dieselgate.png

Diesel engines in cars of Volkswagen aren’t that much environmentally friendly as they say they are. We are talking about eleven million cars of Volkswagen and some more from different daughter-companies like Audi. Also BMW is accused for misrepresenting the emissions of their diesel engines. What happened?

Engines are tested on emission of gasses, like oxides of nitrogen. On a regular basis, they have to go on the chassis dynamometer, to test these emissions. Volkswagen has built software into their cars which estimates differently when they are tested, compared to when they are driving. According to EPA-research (Environmental Protection Agency), they exhaust forty times more oxides of nitrogen then tested. Volkswagen doesn’t deny that there has been made a mistake or that they didn’t know about it. They did it completely on purpose. They wanted to take the relative smaller market of the US from Toyota.

This not only means, that millions of cars in several countries are called back to change the software. It also means that Volkswagen can get a fine of sixteen milliard euros. Their image is damaged and several environmental organisations are addressing them about their swindle. The CEO of Volkswagen, Martin Winterkorn, has already resigned from his position. However, he will get a payment of, at least, thirty million euros. Volkswagen said that he can’t be held responsible for the scandal. It is the main task of a CEO to take his responsibility in times of crisis and not to leave a sinking ship. But Martin Winterkorn did, and gets paid for his service!

In a time when the environment, global warming and icecap melting are stressed more and more, this is a clear message to the rest of the world. We not only see again that money and self-interest is still the main driver for a big company, like Volkswagen. But we also see that the consternation about this scandal is huge. It can be used as a way to a more responsible, environmentally friendly future then we thought we were already aiming at.

We have to innovate radically in our cars, but also in other technics that aren’t ‘clean’ enough yet. There is a lot more that we can do. Environmental organisations do good work currently, but they aren’t supported in the best way. Most of the time they are seen as irritating, not as useful to improve the image of your company. Many other producers of diesel engines in cars can profit from the current situation. Companies in other markets will get afraid of the situation at Volkswagen and want to avoid that. Hopefully this leads to a revolution in the market. A revolutionary innovation, which is needed to keep our earth healthy and sustainable for future generations.

Let this be the Waterloo for many companies who are still violating the environmental laws. Citizens, together with governmental organisations, can act together against these violations of their health and the sustainability of the earth. Let’s force them to innovate radically!

 

Expand selection Contract selection

It is time for responsible innovation!

What does to innovate mean and is it as good as it sounds?

What does to innovate mean and is it as good as it sounds?

collum 3_2.png

We are living in an innovative world with endless possibility’s! That you can easily realize if you have a look at for example what an evolution the information and telecommunication industry has made in the last 20 years. Back then you could not fit you mobile phone in your pocket. Nowadays you can do that and not only call somebody. The possibilities of things you can do with your mobile phone are endless. But is that innovation? What does that actually mean “to innovate”? Does everything need to be faster, smaller, more efficient?

 Faster, why does everything needs to be faster? People seem to be in a constant hurry. As if they actually believe in climate change and think that our time on earth is running out.  For sure all those new technologies bring good things as well. The gas usage of cars is constantly decreasing and more and more electrical cars appear on the streets. A lot of diseases we could not treat in the past can be cured today or at least the patient is given more time to live. All initialized by the constant urge of people to change things and innovate them.

To me innovation means to make the world a better place with the knowledge we have. As mentioned in the examples above, we are already doing that. But we do not take the advantage which those innovations give us.  Because we make everything faster one should think that at the end of the day there should be time left. Time to think but it seems that one’s one innovation is nearly done we already start something new.  People innovate themselves into a “flow”. A flow in where there is no time left.  Time to reflect on things. Time to take a look at what you actually created. A reason could be that reflection and turning back is scary. Maybe people do not want to think. Maybe they like the routine in their flow of innovation. That´s where innovation loses its magic to me.  Where it does not make the world a better place anymore. That´s why I think that there is need of innovating innovation. Innovation where people think about what needs to be changed.  Where there is time to reflect on the results of the innovation process. I say it is time for responsible innovation.

 

Expand selection Contract selection

War, Cost and Efficiency Efforts as a Precursor to Innovation

The dream of flight has motivated numerous pioneers to create revolutionary flying vehicles, while sometimes even losing their lives in pursuit of fulfilling them. Later, WWII and the Cold War fueled radical innovations for speed, altitude, and weapons delivery in the aerospace sector. In the 21st Century, most aviation innovations are for reduction in operation costs, increasing fuel efficiency and military purposes. Here I will discuss current innovations in the civil aviation sector.

The dream of flight has motivated numerous pioneers to create revolutionary flying vehicles, while sometimes even losing their lives in pursuit of fulfilling them. Later, WWII and the Cold War fueled radical innovations for speed, altitude, and weapons delivery in the aerospace sector. In the 21st Century, most aviation innovations are for reduction in operation costs, increasing fuel efficiency and military purposes. Here I will discuss current innovations in the civil aviation sector.

elektra-one-solar-electric-plane-hr.jpg

The rate of innovation in the aviation sector is uncertain and dependent on many factors such as policies, conflicts, economies, etc. Consistently, war, competition, costs and efficiency have driven the most radical innovations in the aerospace sector. Reduction in emissions and alternative fuel sources are now also key drivers in innovation.

In the 20th Century, there were numerous aviation companies designing a wide range of aircraft for different purposes. Radical new aircraft for airlines rolled out, like the de Havilland Comet, DC-8 and the Convair 990 that reduced costs and increased payloads and range. The Comet was the first commercial aircraft to use pressurized fuselage and jet engines which enabled it to fly higher. Although the Comet failed due to fuselage fatigue, this radical innovation opened up an entire new realm of exploration in aviation. The jet engine, originally believed to be too heavy for flight enhanced the speed, altitude, and range of air travel entirely. Also, military aircraft transitioned from slow propeller aircraft into fast swept wing jets such as the ME 262, the F-86 Sabre and the F9-F. Currently, batteries are claimed to be too heavy for air travel due to their low energy density, however, this is likely to change due to rapid innovation in battery technology!

Currently, Boeing and Airbus have acquired most of the smaller aviation companies and they are now the two largest civil aircraft companies competing for market domination. While advancements are surely still occurring at these giants, being subject to less competition reduces the obligation to rigorously innovate. Most innovations that are implemented within these leaders and their subsidiaries are incremental, for example the improvement of fuel efficiency and/or the reduction of dry mass by a few percent. Over time, these incremental changes generate substantive reductions in operation costs for the airlines and less emissions. However, due to this ‘dual-monopoly” radical innovations in aviation seemed to have slowed down. The opposite can be seen in the space sector with the emergence and success of the highly innovative SpaceX competing with the United Launch Alliance (Boeing and Lockheed). The main determinant for innovation within commercial aircraft market leaders is to gain or maintain the economic advantage.

For radical innovations, normally market leaders group a small creative team for R&D on drastic innovations and as they become feasible, more engineers join the research and development. After many design phases, wind tunnel models are built to validate the research conducted. Consequently, test aircraft are built and flown. However, even if this successful the new product may not be introduced for commercial markets like the Boeing X-48.

Because innovations are increasingly complex, and the sector is dominated by a handful of giants, it is costly for small firms to enter and to innovate in the civil airline market. Small aircraft companies thrive in the private aircraft market. This is mainly due to more relaxed regulations, smaller aircraft, less users, etc. In the private market, radical innovations are much more frequent, for example the ICON A5, the HondaJet and the Piaggio P.180.

Large companies can easily divert a small team to perform research on radical innovations for the civil airline market, while this is harder for small companies with less resources. Companies sometimes form a tech cluster to increase performance toward their goals. Translating radical ideas into effective technologies can be costly while the benefits are unfixed. Will electric aircraft propulsion be the next ‘jet engine’?

Image Source: http://www.solarworld-usa.com/newsroom/news-releases/news/2011/elektra-one-solar-plane

Expand selection Contract selection

The opportunity hidden in a problem

How the refugee problem will increase the radical innovation.

How the refugee problem will increase the radical innovation.

150419car254_0-750x500.jpg

When looking at several news sources, the refugee crisis is been presented as a dreadful situation. Refugees are often being presented as a terrible burden on our society. Some groups are starting to fight the presence of these groups in society by protesting and aggression and sabotage towards refugees and their shelter.  This is a very big mistake because refugees will be able to help our society and economy. This is because refugees will be a source of innovation.

Radical innovation is innovation which contains new scientific knowledge, has a new user group or functionality and contains a new type of value.

When looking at the Dutch society we see new refugees arriving on a daily basis. Instead of just looking at the burden of extra demand for housing and care, we should look at the benefits they can provide for us. For example the building industry has an increase in work, due to the raising demand for housing(FD, 2015; Nos, 2015). In this case there is not just a chance for niche innovation, which is innovation using existing knowledge for a new market(the refugees). There is also a chance for radical innovation.  They are a new group; they have different (scientific) knowledge, different needs and different values. To summarize they create a very good baseline for radical innovation.



Also, we are currently retrieving a lot of knowledge through people from other countries that were offered a job here. Now we already have some of those people in the country, we can provide extra educational resources for them and increase the diversity in companies, gain new knowledge through their ideas and experiences. We can try to find the benefit in these people just as well as we would be able to see this in knowledge migrants or expats from, for example, China and India.

 

An example for this could be an architect or project developer from Syria who has fled to the Netherlands. This person would be able to help with a radical innovation on the house market. Benefits will include the better understanding of the demand, the new ideas and the different culture which will increase the diversity and might help the creative process. This person might be able to responsibly innovate a solution for the housing shortages. 

 

Another example might be a teacher who knows a lot about how people are educated in Syria, by working together with local teachers they could come up with a new system to validate the educational level of the refugees. In this way the refugees can attheir educational level, which will enable these refugees to contribute to society.

Both examples show a radical innovation as discussed before because it consists of something new. These radical innovation will contribute, either directly (decrease housing shortage) or indirectly (enabling others in contributing), to society and our economy. This contribution to economy can be found in the increased jobs, such as in the building and educational sector.

We should try to see opportunities instead of issues, because then and only then will we be able to get the most out of every situation. We will have to learn to work together and value our different types of values, needs, knowledge and ideas. Then we will be able to responsibly and radically innovate to improve our society.

 

List of references:

-          Financieel Dagblad author Manon Stravens (2015). Forse impuls bouwsector door asielzoekers’. At financieel dagblad. Written 20-10-2015. Found on 21-10-2015 at http://fd.nl/ondernemen/1123750/forse-impuls-bouwsector-door-asielzoekers

 -          Nos author unknown (2015). Bouwsector krijgt impuls door vluchtelingenstroom. Written 20-10-2015. Found on 20-10-2015 at http://nos.nl/artikel/2064045-bouwsector-krijgt-impuls-door-vluchtelingenstroom.html

Expand selection Contract selection

A tragic story about Renaissance, Romance and Radicalism.

A chance to get amused, surprised and be carried away from a safe distance, by the opportunities and challenges that take place at the Responsible Innovation minor.
Driven by the motto of the Faculty of Social Sciences; 'Discover people. Discover society!' an Erasmus Student is trying not to get lost in the new world of Technology, Policy and Management.

A chance to get amused, surprised and be carried away from a safe distance, by the opportunities and challenges that take place at the Responsible Innovation minor.
Driven by the motto of the Faculty of Social Sciences; 'Discover people. Discover society!' an Erasmus Student is trying not to get lost in the new world of Technology, Policy and Management.

he scheme of the aforementioned division of spheres. · The empyrean (fiery) heaven, dwelling of God and of all the selected · 10 Tenth heaven, first cause · 9 Ninth heaven, crystalline · 8 Eighth heaven of the firmament · 7 Heaven of Saturn · 6 Jupiter · 5 Mars · 4 Sun · 3 Venus · 2 Mercury · 1 Moon

Radical Revolutions,

The words "You all have emotions;

You are not Robots!" of  Professor C. Nevejan in the second week, were still echoing true my mind. Back in the presence of reality, I tried to concentrate on the 3th-week material. The weekly quiz,  states positive effect of human characteristics on (the exponential growth of) radical innovation.  The possible potential of a shortened "diffusion process" and faster periods of transition. Based on my intuition, the answers seemed logical. Being correct, the information made ground for a personal and for some maybe controversial theory about the "Singularity1" of Revolutions2 and Radical Innovations.

Moore's Law (which predicts a doubling of processing powers, within a given time) also applies to the pace (Priority, Access, Control, Enable2) at which science and technology are currently developing. If this is true then the ascendant in technical progress is an exponential trend that in the future should lead to a singularity; more specifically a so-called technological singularity. The systematic and rational Engineer approach on the process of responsible innovations can create a "higher" form of human intelligence" by integration of two personality features: Motivation and Creativity. This cause exponential Radical Innovation of "Technical Singularity1" into Radical Singularity.These two personality features are of tremendous impact at mind shifts at times of transition. Thereby be ingredients for Radical innovations and Revolutions.

                                                                                                                        The probability to become an inventor of tirth week of the course. This multi-disciplinary project, combined with the cooperative learning methods such as peer Tutoring are proven to be effective, on practice based research findings. The interdisceplinaire approach graduated students get, are integrated true the minor by a multi universitair group formation. Blessed with the amount of freedom perceived to accurately develop and design 3th week curriculum, i couldnt prevent feeling very restricted and limited.  ra

Different attempts for collaborating showed a dominant mode of schematic, standardized working processes within our team members. The Engineer framed minds maybe  isnt that compatible with a Social study background. Remembering theory about group interaction and stages of Radicalisation, I applied this knowledge to the presence, in a creative attempt of problem-solving on the interaction difficulties of the group.

Radicalization mostly is conceived as an issue that manifests itself, particularly among young people, students. An important point of the discourse is whether, young people radicalize. Because this children have trouble themselves to adapt to modernity.  Alternatively, is it because they are the first to rise up  in this tech-Revolution. Thinking different and out of the box can cause a lot of weerstand. The cooperative learning styles,group goals, and resulting social interdependence, didn't worked as well as i hoped. Stages of radicalization; pre-radicalization, self identification and indoctrination can ofcourse be applied to R.I and its innovation process.

The turning point in new styles of thinking caused by the modernisation process, welcomes emotional interpretations and combines it with existing possibilities of an engineer state of mind. New means of communication, and practices create a new environment. Which way of another. Both views lay emphasis on radicalization as a reaction to a perceived threat. This revolution isn't aiming at fear because of religion or culture. the faith contents itself do not have to be the initiation-moment for radicalisation. R.I. radicalisation can develop from a counter-culture. Maybe, our Professor is truly a Revolutionist, and recruits responsible students to leave the old fashion incremental market for a new undicovered radical one. This first period of radical shifting mindsets at the transition for Responsible innovation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vernor Vinge 1993; What is The Singularity?  http://mindstalk.net/vinge/vinge-sing.html

 

2 http://www.pc-tutorials.nl/computerwoordenboek.php?lijst

3 radical and widespread change in society and the social structure.

FWDD).Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) revolutionibus erbium coelestium, on the rotation (revolutionibus) of the celestial bodies (orbium).the conclusion that the earth revolves around the Sun and not the Earth at the centre of the universe. This created a radical shift in science, a scientific revolution, a Copernican revolution or turn.

 

Expand selection Contract selection

Usability of mobile phones

Column on the usability of mobile phones in our society

Column on the usability of mobile phones in our society

smartphones.jpg

Mobile phones

Mobile phones have been around for quite a while now. The first commercially available phones were brought on the market in 1983. Since then we have seen more and more innovations in the mobile phone industry. Not only the mobile phones have developed, but also the usage of the phones have become different. The market around the phones has grown with this, think about all the apps that are available today.

 

The technologies that encompasses the mobile phone is always developing which steadily increases the usability of the smartphones for a price that keeps decreasing, thus also a frugal innovation. This means more people on the world are interconnected through their phones.

When looking at the history of the mobile phone itself, besides the introduction of the phone itself there is one radical shift. This is the introduction of the smartphone. Besides that shift the mobile phone design itself has not changed that radical. What is radically changing however, is the way that phones are being used. The world that we live in today, emits more and more data. A lot of which is emitted through these phones.

This data can compass almost everything. From how to save the banana harvest in Uganda to using Twitter how differently men and women think about subjects. Some people even call the Arab Spring the Facebook Revolution, whether this is true I will not debate on. The possibilities here are almost endless.  Changing the way we use mobile phones can radicalise the way we handle things.

Imagine if after the Haiti earthquake everybody had a phone and would be able to transmit their location and the state that they were in through a certain app. Even Twitter and Facebook could be used for this if all data coming out the crisis area would be made publicly available. Aid could have been given much more efficiently by taking out critical cases and helping those first. Nowadays aid organisations first have to locate the people themselves and asses their situation. A lot of valuable time is lost in this method.

A lot of data generated in mobile phones is still being left unused. This data however, can make us realise things that we otherwise could have missed. The infrastructure for using this data in the proper manner is not really there yet, which is why innovations in this field can radically change the way we would view things.

 

In my opinion one of the THE most interesting fields for innovation is the mobile phone industry. As I told earlier in this column a lot is possible using mobile phones as a medium. Mobile phones can provide society with a lot of data. The innovation comes in on when and how to deal with this data.

 

Bas Krijnen

Expand selection Contract selection

The various niches for innovation in society

How do the various types of innovation find their place in society? Which enterprises or individuals take the risks, and which ones prefer stability? This column will expand on the notion of matching innovations with their innovators.

How do the various types of innovation find their place in society? Which enterprises or individuals take the risks, and which ones prefer stability? This column will expand on the notion of matching innovations with their innovators.

Market versus technology

Does responsible innovation require radical innovation and does this raise new moral issues? This question was raised by professor Ibo van der Poel in his lecture on incremental and radical innovations. In his lecture he considered various new types of innovation; product vs. process innovation, radical, incremental, niche, revolutionary, and architectural. By analysing these types he aimed at explaining the necessity for radical changes in the search for responsible innovation. With these various techniques I took a look at society today and found out in which size, business type and/or products these types of innovations fit.

To start off I believe it to be important to clarify the various blocks. All of which comes down to the taxonomy developed by Abernathy and Clark in 1985; two axes, existing knowledge versus new knowledge and new markets versus existing markets. Dividing new innovations in separate blocks according to these different axes, allows a pattern to establish itself and regulate new innovations. Incremental and architectural innovations being each other’s exact opposite show the real need for radical innovations to take place. These are considered innovations that apply new operational principles, new scientific knowledge, can offer new functionalities, reach out to new user groups, or may serve new types of values.

First I would like to analyse incremental innovations as these are the most stable innovations that take place in society. They are based on existing knowledge and aimed at existing customers, such as in large mobile phone companies where engineers improve their older creations on quite a frequent base. These larger businesses prefer incremental over radical innovations because it is a more stable form of innovation, in which the ‘everything or nothing’ mentality does not apply. Instead of using completely new technologies  they base their techniques on existing knowledge, meaning less risk for the company. In a time of economic debt stability is a popular belief, especially in such a competitive market.

Next is the niche innovation, one that follows the footsteps of incremental by building on existing knowledge to create new innovations. However it does aim to reach out to new customers or new markets using that same technology. Niches provide the seeds of change within a systems innovation, as we can see with the existing technology of the GPS, primarily used during wars and later on implemented in regular use for cars and even cycling nowadays. Both small and larger businesses make use of this type of innovation. Larger corporations such as TomTom might have only noticed the various uses of their creation after they had fully developed their gps for cars.

These relatively stable innovations are eventually exceeded by one type; radical innovation. These are pushed by the ‘everything or nothing’ mentality of new enterprises that want to make a name for themselves, instead of the safe methods of larger corporations who have an existing brand name to uphold. The speed of small businesses, with smaller boards of advisors, less rules and protocol and fresh minds, definitely allow them to revolutionize markets with society-changing radical innovations.

 

Expand selection Contract selection