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Innovation Insights by Stephen Shapiro

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innovation disruption

Disruptive innovation forcesI was recently asked by a European magazine to provide my list of the most disruptive companies of 2015/2016.

I thought about it and struggled to answer. For me it is not companies that disrupt but platforms, industries, and other macro forces that disrupt.

Given that I provided my top 7 disruptive forces…

  1. Peer-to-peer – This is causing disruption to all industries and will continue to do so. Uber, Airbnb, and platforms from every industry, including banking and insurance. No one is immune.
  2. 3D printing – Although it is not disrupting massively today, it will in the very near future. Cars and motorcycles have now been 3D printed. Houses too. The disruption isn’t just to manufacturers, but the supply chain/shipping companies. When you can print your product at home (just like a printer today), you don’t need to ship anything.
  3. Autonomous/electric vehicles – I realize these are two categories lumped into one. Just today the first autonomous truck (a beer delivery) was “driven” over 100 miles – on real highways – with human intervention only on the exit ramps. The implications for self-driving cars is massive – not just to companies and industries, but to society. And electric storage (not just for cars) will reshape our relationship to fossil fuels.
  4. On-Demand Video – This is a board category, but for the first time we are seeing Netflix and Amazon win Emmy awards. You can subscribe to individual stations rather than paying a one-size-fits-all cable package. YouTube falls into this category too. The AT&T/Time Warner merger will certainly add an interesting twist to this area.
  5. Millenials – A generation is disrupting every industry. Their decision making process is different. Their desires are not the same as past generations. They are social and technologically savvy. This is forcing every industry to change their business model. Every client of mine is struggling with this one…more than any other disruption.
  6. Blockchain – A biggie for banking industry, but has ramifications in many industries including the music industry. It will even disrupt the disrupters as it will eliminate the need for intermediaries like Uber.
  7. Virtual Communications and Augmented Reality –  We are in the early stages of this, but these will disrupt so many industries. Meetings and travel industry (e.g. hotels and airlines) will be impacted. Pokemon Go is just the start of augmented reality. This will ultimately become a virtual communication tool also for people to engage with others who are not physically there. Facebook is already working on some cool things in this space (having recently purchased Oculus VR).

What are your thoughts on disruptive forces? Which ones concern you the most? Which do you think are fads and will not become mainstream?

P.S. Someone commented on another platform that AI is another, and I tend to agree. Whether it is really AI, machine learning, or some variation thereof, machines will continue to do tasks better and faster than humans. This coupled with enhanced robotics will provide some major disruptions to the workforce.

TheInnovationMinute

Today we continue the “Test”” part of the FAST Innovation Model (Focus, Ask, Shift, Test).

In the last video I discussed why confirmation bias will cause you to run faulty experiments. In this episode I share several techniques for overcoming this issue.

Be sure to watch the previous videos!

Transcription:

Today I’m going to give you some specific techniques you can use to run better experiments, and overcome the brain’s confirmation bias…

In the past videos I talked about why the brain wants to prove our beliefs to be true. We run experiments designed to confirm or disprove our beliefs, but most of the time we prove them to be true because if we believe it’s a great idea, we’re only going to find evidence to support that idea.

However, there are some things you can do, in order to overcome this natural tendency… Continue reading >>

TheInnovationMinute

Today we continue the “Test”” part of the FAST Innovation Model (Focus, Ask, Shift, Test).

In the last video I mentioned the need to focus on experiments. Unfortunately most experiments lead to ultimate failure due to a psychological tendency we have.

Be sure to watch the previous videos!

Transcription:

Today I am going to talk about why the brain is designed to cause you to run faulty experiments, which will ultimately lead to your failure…

In the world of innovation, we seem to think that “Yeah, but…” is the enemy of innovation. But guess what, it’s not!

We need disproving evidence. We need people to prove why maybe our ideas are bad.

The real enemy of innovation is the, “Wow! This is a great idea.” Here’s why… Continue reading >>

TheInnovationMinute

Today we move to the “Test”” part of the FAST Innovation Model (Focus, Ask, Shift, Test).

Although failure seems to be the buzzword in innovation, it is actual detrimental to an organization’s success. There is an alternative: experiments.

Be sure to watch the previous videos!

Transcription:

Today on the Innovation Minute, I’m going to talk about why failure is a bad thing for innovation…

In the world of innovation, we seem to think that failure is a good thing. If we’re not breaking eggs, we’re not innovating. But this, to me, is faulty reasoning. We don’t want to fail. We want to experiment. Let me talk about this a little bit. Experiments are designed to prove or disprove a hypothesis. There’s nothing wrong with running an experiment and disproving what you believed to be true. When we run experiments there are possible outcomes… Continue reading >>

Pokemon Go Logo

Pokemon GoI’ve been talking/writing about the phygital movement for a while now. This is the blending of the physical and digital worlds. Be sure to read my recent article on the topic, “Let’s Get Phygital.”

In the past, we were a physical world. We didn’t carry electronic devices everywhere. When we said we were connected, we were connected to human beings or the earth, not a phone. We played board games with groups of people, not video games in the basement alone.

As technology progressed, we’ve become more and more connected to our digital devices that we’ve become less connected to others and the real world. But human beings crave this physical connection at a deep level; it is ingrained in us.

Therefore it is not surprise that the phygital movement is starting to gain momentum. The pendulum is swinging back from the purely digital and more towards the physical. Virtual reality did not achieve this because it is purely digital. But augmented reality provided some promise.

And that promise has been (partly) achieved with Pokemon Go. People are leaving their houses to participate in a digital game that integrates with the physical world. This is phygital, or at least it is a start… Continue reading >>

TheInnovationMinute

We continue with the “Shift” part of the FAST Innovation Model (Focus, Ask, Shift, Test).

In the last few videos I shared why expertise is the enemy of innovation. Today I provide a powerful examples of innovation in action, along with a useful concept for driving breakthrough thinking.

Be sure to watch the previous videos!

Transcription:

In the last few videos, we talked about shifting your mindset and why expertise is the enemy of innovation. Today I want to talk about probably my favorite example.

There was a group in Houston called Pumps and Pipes. These are a group of cardiologists who get together on a regular basis with people from the gas pipeline industry. And what they do is they share what they know about the cardiovascular system and how it would apply to the transmission of gas and vice versa.

Now, think about it. These are not two random groups. These are purposely brought together. They share something in common. It is all about the transmission of fluid through a tube. So, these are purposeful groups.

And if you think about the types of things that could be solved through these types of alliances and have been solved, think about gas pipeline. A big problem with the gas pipeline industry is they crack, they break, and they leak. Trying to find the cracks and seal those cracks is very expensive. But if you get a paper cut, you don’t run to the doctor, the body seals itself. And based on studying the body, they’ve now created a coagulant ingredient that goes inside of gas pipelines to seal cracks.

I call this “A Purposeful Tangent.” Two groups coming together with a shared purpose… Continue reading >>

TheInnovationMinute

We continue with the “Shift” part of the FAST Innovation Model (Focus, Ask, Shift, Test).

In the last video I shared why expertise is the enemy of innovation. Today I provide two scientific studies that prove this to be true.

Be sure to watch the previous videos!

Transcription:

In the last video, I talked about expertise being the enemy of innovation, and today I want to provide a little bit of scientific evidence to back this up.

There are two studies in particular which I find fascinating. The first study was done by a professor at Harvard Business School, who analyzed 17,000 patents. What he quickly realized was that most of those patents were derivative or adaptive. That is they were built on some other patent. And in most of those situations, an expert did indeed solve the problem and file the patent. This makes sense.

But when they looked at the discontinuous innovations, the radical innovations, the innovations which did not build on a previous patent, in every situation, these were solved by either somebody from a different discipline or area of expertise, or from a multidisciplinary team. Multidisciplinary teams bring a greater divergent view to your problems.

When everybody’s cut from the same cloth, you get innovation quickly, but it just might not be that different… Continue reading >>

TheInnovationMinute

We continue with the “Shift” part of the FAST Innovation Model (Focus, Ask, Shift, Test).

In today’s video I share why expertise is the enemy of innovation. Yes, it really is!

Be sure to watch the previous videos!

Transcription:

In the last video, I talked about toothpaste solution coming from a laundry detergent solution. We talked about, how do you ask who else has solved a similar problem?

This is a great tool for kick-starting any of your innovation efforts when you are looking for solutions.

Now, the reason why this is important is because I strongly believe that expertise is the enemy of innovation. Expertise is the enemy of innovation. The reason why is, the more you’ve thought about a topic, the harder it is for you to think differently about that topic.

So, if you’re an expert in a function, like HR, finance or sales, it’s going to be hard for you to think differently about that. If you’re an expert in an industry, like hospitality, financial services or manufacturing, it will be difficult for you to think differently about that.

Therefore, because expertise is the enemy of innovation, we need to recognize that connecting the dots to other disciplines is the key, and I’m going to talk about this more in the next video.

Toothpaste for innovation

A couple of days I posted a new video that introduces the “science of breakthroughs.”

For those who prefer to read rather than watch, here’s the transcription. (you can watch the video here)

Toothpaste for innovationToday, we move to the third part of my FAST innovation model. You’ll remember that FAST stands for Focus, Ask, Shift and Test.  Today, we’re gonna talk about shifting your mindset. I’m going to do that through a fun example.

A group of dental experts were trying to create a whitening toothpaste that didn’t use abrasives or bleach. If you think about the problem they were working on, they were asking the question, “How do we, the experts in dental care, create a toothpaste that whitens teeth without abrasives or bleach?”

They went off and they tried a number of different solutions, none of which worked…until they asked a different question. They asked, “Who else has solved a similar problem?” Not necessarily the same problem, but a similar problem.

They realized that, when they asked the question, “Who else makes whites whiter, without abrasives or bleach?”, possible answer would be laundry detergent.

As it turns out, the company that was working on the toothpaste problem also has a laundry detergent group. So, they decided they would have a conversation with them, and they asked, “Hey, when you’re not using bleach, how do you make whites whiter?”… Continue reading >>

TheInnovationMinute

Today is the first video in the “Shift” part of the FAST Innovation Model (Focus, Ask, Shift, Test).

In this video I share a fun example that provides a different approach to finding breakthroughs. Hint: your years of expertise may not be helping!

Be sure to watch the previous videos!

Transcription:

Today, we move to the third part of my FAST innovation model. You’ll remember that FAST stands for Focus, Ask, Shift and Test.  Today, we’re gonna talk about shifting your mindset. I’m going to do that through a fun example.

A group of dental experts were trying to create a whitening toothpaste that didn’t use abrasives or bleach. If you think about the problem they were working on, they were asking the question, “How do we, the experts in dental care, create a toothpaste that whitens teeth without abrasives or bleach?”

They went off and they tried a number of different solutions, none of which worked…until they asked a different question. They asked, “Who else has solved a similar problem?” Not necessarily the same problem, but a similar problem.

They realized that, when they asked the question, “Who else makes whites whiter, without abrasives or bleach?”, possible answer would be laundry detergent.

As it turns out, the company that was working on the toothpaste problem also has a laundry detergent group. So, they decided they would have a conversation with them, and they asked, “Hey, when you’re not using bleach, how do you make whites whiter?”… Continue reading >>

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