Alternative Energy…Yes But

I had the great opportunity this year to work with three bright young women in building their sixth grade science fair project from left to right, samantha, olivia (my lovely daughter) and meredith. The construction was fun and I think the girls learned quite a bit from the experiment.sciencethree Alternative Energy…Yes But

Inside an old doll house that we purchased on ebay they installed lighting and other devices that use power. They learned about different wiring systems and how much the different appliances consumed in terms of load and how they can be hooked in series versus parallel.

batteries Alternative Energy…Yes ButOn the power source side they constructed three separate green power sources that could power all the circuits in the house. 1) Chemical batteries made by hand that were really cool; 2) Solar cells mounted on the roof and ; 3) Hand crank generators that they could crank manually to generate the requisite power;

The girls did a full presentation to their class where they were asked a bunch of questions from their classmates. They handled the questions really well.

As I stood there in my normal role of “tech support” and “dad”, I began to wonder will this be the generation that actually once and for all conquers this energy mess? I am optimistic after watching these three passionately talk in front of their peers about it. I hope for the best and would like to do more in my own life to build a green lifestyle.

On Innovation

Wow it has been a while since I have written not because I didn’t want to (as I said previously I love this so far) but I have been so busy both in my professional and personal life. This particular post is about my professional life more than my personal life.

innovation 300x288 On InnovationThere has been a ton of debate at my company recently about “Innovation”. Based on this I want to set the record straight about where I stand on the topic. True innovation is a combination of three disciplines (in no particular order technology, business and design) coming together in perfect unity. I constructed this diagram to show my perspective on innovation. It is not just about technology or design. A very key part is the business perspective. Is the idea viable? How can we make money? How can we be honest with our consumer/audience (ie no dirty tricks)? How do we make larger company goals about valuation and yet make a great product. My point is that innovation IS a balance.

Innovation is NOT a commodity. It is hard to get because it is indeed a balance of all three of these disciplines (technology, design and business).
I believe that the key part that we have been missing on a project I have been working on recently is the business perspective. We are largely a B2B company selling advertising and don’t have much of a consumer presence. Our CEO has asked us to have a consumer based product line yet we are mainly pursuing B2B opportunities.

This project is an example of having great technology, great design yet without a business model we cannot truly succeed. We are missing the third leg in my diagram. Furthermore, if we just simply pursue the “normal” business model for the company (advertising) we may not have an innovative product. After all the consumer in an advertiser-based business is the ad agency not the consumer.