Creating Generational Legacies

Friday, February 23, 2018

Disruptive innovation and entrepreneurs

The Bob Pritchard Column 

Disruptive innovation and entrepreneurs go hand in hand. Entrepreneurs are often the ones that develop new products or services that change an entire industry. But before we get into the reasons why that is, it’s important to ensure we’re all talking about the same thing.
“Disruptive” has become much like the word “innovation”—both are used so often and to describe so many different ideas that the real meaning often gets lost in translation.
Disruptive innovation is, “a process by which a product or service takes root initially in simple applications at the bottom of a market and then relentlessly moves up market, eventually displacing established competitors.”
Disruptive innovations are:
  • Affordable to a large group of consumers
  • Simple to use
  • Improved upon and continue to take a larger share of the market
Incumbents in the market don’t tend to focus here, instead choosing to modify existing products, concentrate on producing higher-priced products and enhancing the value for current customers.
This open space should be good news for entrepreneurs, who can start small in a niche market, and then build the product to appeal to wider and wider groups of people. Startups don’t necessarily need to be intimidated by bigger players either, as established companies are probably not interested in developing these low-margin products and are usually very slow to introduce new initiatives.
But, just because an entrepreneur has a potentially disruptive innovation, doesn’t mean instant success (or success at all). It can take a long time for a product to reach a large audience. For example,  it took six years for the smartphone to reach a 50 percent adoption rate in the US.
Where might a disruption happen down the road? One scenario is in the electric vehicle (EV) industry. It’s argued that electric vehicles are not disruptive, because, compared to cars today, EVs are not cheaper or simpler to use; nor do they reach new consumers. And more significantly, all the major car companies are developing their own EVs.
Certainly, the definition leaves open the possibility that any industry can be disrupted, including education. Higher education could be disrupted by online institutes that are creating cheap (sometimes free) courses that are simple to use, and can potentially reach a large group of students, from all over the world.  Whether these changes will lead to a disruption, only time will tell.
To reiterate, a technology may have a significant impact on an industry, but few products are disruptive since they don’t create new industries. When pitching an innovative product, “valuable” or “groundbreaking” might be more appropriate adjectives. Then wait to see if it is disruptive.
Looking forward to REFERRON being seen as a disruptive technology!!!!! 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Vodaphone’s 8 tech trends that we expect to see in 2018

Here are eight tech trends that Kellie Gale from Vodaphone suggest that you can expect from 2018 

1. The rise of Machine Learning
2. Increased adoption of cryptocurrencies
3. Prepare to talk to AI chatbots
4. VR introduced in the workplace
5. Longer battery life
6. Foldable smartphones
7. Drones will become more of a reality
8. Demand for more data
New research from Deloitte has predicted that this year will see a large amount of growth in the adoption of Machine Learning (ML) in medium and large-sized enterprises. In fact, according to their 2018 Technology, Media & Telecommunications (TMT) report, in 2018 the number of ML pilots and implementations will double. For the uninitiated, Machine Learning is exciting technology that teaches binary logic computers to learn the way we do – by interpreting information around us and learning from successes or failures. This may sound a bit dystopian, but the technology can be extremely useful for personalising products, advertising to customers, and more.

Bitcoin was certainly one of 2017’s favourite buzzwords – just don’t expect the cryptocurrency craze to slow down in 2018. The CEO of Blockchain predicts that this will be the first year that we see banks hold digital currencies as part of their reserves in case they need to react to any market shocks – so we know things are getting serious. Of course, it isn’t just Bitcoin on the rise, other digital currencies like Ethereum, Ripple and Cardano are increasing in popularity. Will you get on board with the blockchain?

Technology will affect every aspect of our lives – and that includes customer service! Customer experience (CX) is becoming more and more important for brands to survive, and companies are starting to get on board with Artificial Intelligence to interact with customers. Gartner predicted that by 2020, 85% of conversations with customers will be with chatbots. Some businesses like Qantas are already using chatbots to help people complete orders or even just engage with their content. According to a LivePerson report, How consumers view bots in customer caremost customers in Australia would still prefer talking to a human, with 57% people preferring to wait on hold for 3 minutes to talk to a human over talking to a bot. However, chatbot technology is getting smarter, and is going to be a way of life very soon – so watch this space.

While we know some people (like the Wallabies) already use VR tech at work, 2018 could be the year that we start seeing it more and more in businesses, according to Deloitte’s Tech Trends 2018 report. Deloitte identifies VR as a key ‘digital reality’ opportunity for organisations, as it could solve a lot of common business problems – like connecting remote teams, improving the employee training process, and even improving focus with virtual reality desktops. It could even be used in the recruitment process. Personally, we’d love to see how VR tech could be used in the workplace, too!

There have been several reports that new technology in the new year will have significantly better battery life. The battery life of some laptops might last a full day (for instance, LG has claimed that its 2018 Gram laptop will last up to 22.5 hours). Innovation continues for smartphone batteries, with some exciting smartphone releases planned for 2018, and technology is improving to charge less frequently, and charge faster.

Microsoft, Apple and Samsung have hinted at plans to release foldable smartphones in the future, with both Apple and Microsoft recently filing patents. Huawei has also recently suggested that they will release a foldable smartphone in 2018. The rumours are flying, so it’s time to wait and see what happens.

At the moment, drones are somewhat of a novelty for most people, however drone expert Elaine Whyte predicts that the drones market will become a ‘mature professional service offering’ in 2018. Potential uses include collecting 3D data for building information modelling, drone delivery, and of course, photography. With this also comes regulation, so it will be interesting to see where this goes in Australia.

As smartphones develop their capability, there’s demand for more data in mobile phone plans, for video streaming, social media and file sharing. 

All this is just the beginning. Every year is full of surprises, and we can’t wait to see what lies in store in 2018!

From - Kelli Gale - Vodaphone Head of Retail Marketing, Brand and Communications

Disability or Coolability?

From Susan Lang, President/CEO, Lime Connect, Inc.

Here’s a mom’s/manager’s perspective on how her son’s disability helped her to acknowledge “quirks” in others (and herself) that helped her to tap into their strengths.  Inclusive leadership - great article!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Elon Musk Talking about AI and disruption

During the launch of  Tesla into the UAE, Elon Musk held his audience captivated at the World Government Summit in Dubai, when he was suggesting that humans need to merge with machines to become some sort of cyborg.

"Over time I think we will probably see a closer merger of biological intelligence and digital intelligence," 
“It's mostly about the bandwidth, the speed of the connection between your brain and the digital version of yourself, particularly output.”

Case in point .... Computers can communicate at a trillion bits per second", while humans, whose main communication method is typing with their fingers via a mobile device, can do about 10 bits per second.

Over the years, humans have been flirting with their inventions - We have created cars, computers and our mobiles to improve our communication and efficiency. 

“The next innovation is to merge the human to the machine by having some high bandwidth interface to the brain that will achieve a symbiosis between human and machine intelligence and maybe solves the control problem and the usefulness problem," Musk explained.

This symbiosis (maybe in the form of a chip in the brain?) will enable us  to access information quickly and tap into artificial intelligence. 

Will we have a “chip ceremony” 7 days after we are born?

The imminent disruption of a major industry 

Autonomous cars - which will be an amazing convenience - will displace jobs - this is going to be a major disruptive and will happen very quickly - within the next 20 years . This will render 12 to 15 percent of the global workforce redundant - they will need to find other jobs. 

What will be the new roles for us  humans? What do we need to do to upskill into meaningful work? What do webneed to? Will there be a new economy? Universal income? How will we behave? 

What will we look like? How will we evolve? Will the elite be some sort of Cyborg? Are we already not some sort of Cyborg? 

These are the narratives that are being discussed at I4J (Innovation 4 Jobs).

Where do you think the new jobs will be in 2050 and beyond?

The future of work - Beyond 2050 ? 

What will we look like - Beyond 2050?

Hopefully not like this

Monday, February 19, 2018

Embracing ambiguity in innovation

One key feature in all of my recent program roles is ‘ambiguity’. 

Ambiguity in this context is where there is a vision and set of principles or goals, but the rest evolves as the program evolves, discovers through a test and learn - Agile/LEAN start up type of approach.

Navigating and delivering outcomes where there is ambiguity is a necessity in today’s workplace and yet I see so many colleagues and staff struggling with it. 

They cannot seem to develop it as a capability/skill.

When I reflect and try to understand the why, a few things come to mind:

Fear of the unknown: We have been trained to build a solution as specified (waterfall type of approach) and then if the solution is not right we have the specifications to blame eg: detailed requirements. When things are ambiguous it evolves and the clear line of sight to the outcome can be lost. People seem to struggle to redefine a clear line of sight through test and learn - Agile/LEAN start up ways of working.

What gets measured gets done: People want to be able to measure success and if it is not clearly defined and tangible they struggle. They cannot see the success that comes from discovering, acquiring knowledge, building, testing and learning in short intervals where you ‘build and learn as you go’. They can only see success when something is physically built and it works as specified.

Fear of failure, people are scared to fail and if it is ambiguous then they can not guarantee that they will not fail. Traditionally there has been no reward for failure or as I see it learning. I love the example where an employee loses a substantial amount of money for an organisation and when they try to resign their manager says that the mistake was a very expensive training course. The manager encourages the employees to stay. This is a different way to view ‘failure’.

What do you think? Why do people struggle with ambiguity and what can we do as leaders to help them? Look forward to hearing your views.

Biotech at World Economic Forum 2018

In “Future Shocks: Rogue Technology,” panelist Feng Zhang, MIT neuroscience professor and one of the scientists who developed CRISPR gene editing, spoke of the promise and peril of advancing gene editing technology. “As we sequence more organisms, we can find interesting properties these organisms evolved to allow them to survive in their own environment and transfer some of those [properties] into other organisms…and prevent the extinction of species,” he said.

But he also emphasized the importance of exercising extreme caution when altering organisms’ DNA and developing a “containment mechanism” to control technologies that turn out to be dangerous for humanity.

The Forum announced a partnership between the Earth Bio-Genome Project and the Earth Bank of Codes. As part of the WEF’s Fourth Industrial Revolution for the Earth initiative, these organizations will collaborate to sequence the DNA of all life on earth, a hugely ambitious project estimated to take ten years and cost $4.7 billion.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

A chess game got Australian of the Year Michelle Simmons on the path to quantum physics

Michelle Yvonne Simmons named 2018 Australian of the Year

From an early age, Michelle Simmons liked to understand things.

She used to watch her brother and father play chess, a lot.

"One day I asked if I could play my father and he was a little bit surprised. I could see he wasn't expecting it," the 2018 Australian of the Year said.

"After about 20 minutes I thought, 'gosh I think I'm going to check-mate him'. And I did and he was totally surprised.

"It made me think 'wow he didn't really expect me to be able to do this' and that really got me thinking 'there must be other things that people don't expect of me, let me find out what they are'."

Professor Michelle Simmons has pioneered research that could reshape the way we live
Professor Michelle Simmons has placed Australia at the forefront of quantum physics researchABC News: Tobias Hunt

One of those things was understanding the world at a level of physics and mathematics.

"So I got into it," she says.

"And I found that the more difficult the challenges I took on, the more rewarding it was and I thought wow this is a phenomenal world to be in.

"It's absolutely rewarding in a way I didn't get with easier things. From that point on I thought what can I do that's going to be useful for the world."

She went on to become one of Australia's top scientists.

The 50-year-old mother of three is a professor in quantum physics at the University of New South Wales, and has placed Australia at the forefront of research that could reshape the way we live.

But even though her world is filled with fascinating concepts, Professor Simmons concedes being Australian of the Year is a bit unusual.

"As a physicist we fly under the radar a lot. We're not in the public eye very much so for that reason it's very strange," she said.

Calling Australia home

Michelle Yvonne Simmons stands with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
Michelle Simmons was recognised as the 2018 Australian of the Year.ABC News: Jordan Hayne

Professor Simmons grew up in London and went to some of the best universities in the UK. 

She looked at going to the US and Europe but settled on Australia because of its society, ambitious attitudes and culture.

"I looked at Australia and I thought wow, they have an egalitarian society. You come in at an early age and they encourage leadership from a young age," she said.

"You're able to get your own funding, you're able to do your own thing.

"But also just the Australian culture of giving it a go, not taking themselves too seriously, working hard, being ambitious. I just thought 'wow, that's a place where I feel that I could actually do things in a way that would suit me'.

Michelle Simmons
Michelle Simmons was also awarded the NSW Australian of the year last November.ABC News

Since arriving in Australia in 1999, Professor Simmons has transformed her quantum physics department into a world leader in advanced computer systems.

In 2012, her team created the world's smallest transistor made from a single atom.

They put out an eight-stage plan and it was questioned internationally over whether all, if any of those stages were possible. But that was no deterrence to getting it across the line.

"We thought, 'we think it's possible'," she said.

And it certainly was.

"When we got to the final stage ... you can actually see the atom in a microscope. So we could see it was there but then we had to prove that it behaved as a transistor," Professor Simmons said.

"And then when we actually saw that it worked, that feeling is absolutely phenomenal and it will stay with me for the rest of my life."

The next thing on Professor Simmons' radar is to build a quantum computer — one that could solve problems in minutes, that would otherwise take thousands of years.

"It really starts to allow us to do things that we simply wouldn't be able to do in a timely fashion," she said.

Something like this would have the potential to revolutionise things like artificial intelligence, self-driving cars and drug design.

Achieving the 'unexpected' in a male dominated area

Some would say quantum physics is a man's world. 

But Professor Simmons said most of the time she has not been aware of a gender divide, other than the fact people had lower expectation of what she could achieve.

Michelle Simmons speaking on ABC News

"Because they're not expecting me to do anything, I can actually get on with it. No-one's paying attention to me, I can actually get on and see if I can achieve it," she said.

Only 5 to 7 per cent of her field is female and she knows there'd be benefits to boosting that number.

"I love having females in my group so I've been trying to figure out how to get more in the group," she said.

"There's all kinds of different schemes you can come up with but I think it's almost a cultural step change in just accepting that you've got to take on the hard challenges.

"Recognise that females, just as males, can do the hard challenges equally as well. And encouraging them not to lack confidence in what they can do, just get out there and do it."