Solar Impulse is the only airplane of perpetual endurance, able to fly day and night on solar power, without a drop of fuel.
The chances of succeeding at the first attempt to build a solar airplane capable of flying around the world were judged to be slim, so a more rudimentary prototype, HB-SIA (Solar Impulse 1), was first constructed. Lessons learned from this prototype are incorporated in Solar Impulse 2, the Round-The-World Solar Airplane.
Whereas the prototype uses existing technologies, Solar Impulse HB-SIB (Solar Impulse 2) requires the development of new materials and new construction methods. Solvay has invented electrolytes that allow the energy density of the batteries to be increased; Bayer MaterialScience is allowing the project to make use of its nanotechnologies; and Décision is using carbon fibers that are lighter in weight than any previously seen.
The first wing spar section was delivered to Dübendorf in March 2012. However, during the final test of this central part, the structure of the wing spar succumbed to the load and broke. The initial shock soon turned out to be an opportunity: the flight around the world had to be postponed which opened the door for going to the United States and completing the epic journey across America.
After the official presentation of Solar Impulse 2 to the public on April 9th, the airplane will be rigorously tested during 2014, and the Round-The-World flight will be attempted between March and July 2015.
Below, the first flight of Solar Impulse 2.
How companies can nurture innovation and motivate their talents to bring innovations forward?
Each company is destined to get the results it gets. What I mean by this is that poor organization, lack of solid and sustainable innovation culture lead to poor results, and more than before, to a company’s trouble or death.
Smart business leaders shape the culture of their company to drive innovation. Success and constant positive results come from the implementation and execution of strategies, business models, structure, processes, technologies and incentive systems that encourage innovation.
1. Define your company’s mission around innovation
Many companies don’t have a mission statement, but for those which do, often times statements use generic terms, such as “best product in the world”, “best customer service”… They do not inspire employees to innovate. A strong and inspiring vision should be framed around how the company works to change its customer’s world, for the better.
2. Create the structure to allow employees to experiment new ideas with unstructured time
Successful innovative companies give time to their employees to get away from their daily tasks, to work on personal or company projects not directly related to their work. Then tap into this creative process.
3. Recognize employees’s contribution to the innovation process
Some companies offer monetized incentives. It is hard to assign a $ value to innovation; this is good for sales teams. Some companies give annual innovation awards; it is a good initiative for a short term, but it creates more competition than it encourages collaboration and creates emulation.
4. Return to the past
No new idea is completely original. Some concepts may not have materialized for various reasons, but it is always good to look at the past and understand why it did not work out. You avoid future mistakes, you can find ways to better the products (new technology, new process, new skill…). Start-up companies which by definition don’t have a past can look at what’s be done in the industry, what did not find success, and bounce off this to create something new.
5. Pay attention to culture, not trends
Culture is mass ideology – a system of values and beliefs that runs so deep we don’t question it. There’s an American belief in personal invention and reinvention. You see that in social products like Snapchat and Instagram, which allow us to invent ourselves in the moment. They may seem like a trend. But they reflect a deep underlying value.
6. Continuous education
Self-development is the key to employee’s success. In the same system where company should create a structure for unstructured time, those same companies should create time for continuous education. Allow employees to seek new interests, learn and develop new skills.
7. Allow failure
The essence of innovation is that it takes multiple experiments to successfully create new products, solutions, services. Failure is part of the innovation process. When employees are not afraid of failure, they will feel empowered to take risks and be “crazy”.
Yemi Adesokan, 35- year based Nigerian born researcher, has put his country’s name on the map of nations of innovation.
Adesokan’s discovery which has potential to change the way mankind responds to disease pathogens, according to experts, may bring an end the era of increased burden of drug resistance in the world particularly, in sub Saharan Africa.
When he moved to United States in 1996, little did the young innovator have realise that he was going to rub shoulders with some of the greatest names in scientific technology.
But today, Adesokan who has been listed by Technology Review, an independent media company owned by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, (MIT) USA. as one of the TR35 Award of the 2011 World top innovators. Past recipients have included Sergey Brin (Google), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), and Konstantin Novoselev (later a Nobel Laureate in Physics).
Adesokan is being so specially honoured for his work in the application of next generation sequencing to clinical diagnostics. Adesokan, who is also the founder of Pathogenica Inc., was selected as a member of the TR35 class of 2011 by a panel of expert judges and the editorial staff of Technology Review, who evaluated more than 300 nominations.
This work is being carried out by a biotechnology startup that I founded with Prof George Church of Harvard Medical School DNA technology. The Pathogenica’s test kits are able to identify the presence, allowing for physicians to screen for multiple diseases with accurate results and a rapid turnaround.
Sequencing technologies have improved a million – fold in the past seven years, bringing scientists a wealth of individual genomics and the key now is to employ the data to improve clinical practice. The DNA sequence of each individual or organism is unique, and is the most detailed signature for identification.
This year marks one decade since the completion of the Human Genome Project, a three billion-dollar effort to sequence a human genome.
A major issue in Nigeria today, is that some sterilised water may contain harmful pathogens. The technology is useful in screening a range of pathogens in water, livestock (poultry, etc.), and in food manufacturing. The key point for this technology is its high multiple. As it scales up, we actually see a reduction in price.
With the innovation, the cost of DNA sequencing has dropped more than 40,000_fold since that time to just $5,000 today. The price continues to drop. We are applying this fast, inexpensive technology in a unique way to improve routine clinical diagnostics.
Disruptive innovation, a term of art coined by Clayton Christensen, describes 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.
As companies tend to innovate faster than their customers’ needs evolve, most organizations eventually end up producing products or services that are actually too sophisticated, too expensive, and too complicated for many customers in their market.
Companies pursue these “sustaining innovations” at the higher tiers of their markets because this is what has historically helped them succeed: by charging the highest prices to their most demanding and sophisticated customers at the top of the market, companies will achieve the greatest profitability.
However, by doing so, companies unwittingly open the door to “disruptive innovations” at the bottom of the market. An innovation that is disruptive allows a whole new population of consumers at the bottom of a market access to a product or service that was historically only accessible to consumers with a lot of money or a lot of skill.
Characteristics of disruptive businesses, at least in their initial stages, can include: lower gross margins, smaller target markets, and simpler products and services that may not appear as attractive as existing solutions when compared against traditional performance metrics. Because these lower tiers of the market offer lower gross margins, they are unattractive to other firms moving upward in the market, creating space at the bottom of the market for new disruptive competitors to emerge.
Ryan Raffaelli, of Harvard Business School, has examined examples of “re-emergent technologies” in detail. The most striking example is the Swiss mechanical-watch industry. In the 1970s it was almost washed away by a tide of cheaper and more accurate digital watches. Today the industry is more successful than ever, providing the country’s largest source of exports after pharmaceuticals and machinery, and the engine of its revival is the old-fashioned wind-up watch.
There are plenty of other examples of re-emergent technologies. Sales of fountain pens collapsed in the 1950s with the arrival of cheap ballpoints; since the mid-1970s they have enjoyed a steady revival. Trams looked destined to become nothing more than tourist attractions in proudly quaint cities such as San Francisco and Paris. But hundreds of cities in the world have either installed new tram systems or have plans to do so. Sales of vinyl LPs in the world have increased from almost nothing in 1993 to more than some millions in 2013. The number of independent bookshops is rising for the first time in decades.
How do businesses go about reviving old technologies in the face of so much innovation? Mr Raffaelli argues that the key to success lies in redefining the product’s value and meaning. Swiss watchmakers redefined their products as status goods rather than a means of telling the time. That they are so much harder to make than digital watches added immeasurably to their desirability. Independent booksellers are redefining themselves as communities where people who care about books meet and socialise. Trams are re-emerging as a green solution to both pollution and urban sprawl: a striking number of the cities that are adopting them are formless sunbelt cities.
This redefinition demands a careful balance between tradition and change. Revival businesses often need to cultivate a close relationship with their craftsmen and customers, who may see themselves as guardians of a great tradition rather than mere employees or consumers. The Swiss watch industry arguably survived only because collectors kept paying record prices for watches at auctions and skilled craftsmen refused to abandon the old ways: when Zenith decided to throw away its mechanical watchmaking moulds at the height of what Swiss refer to as “the quartz crisis”, one old-timer decided to store them in a shed instead, wheeling them out once again when the luxury market took off. Revival businesses need to peddle their back-story remorselessly.
However, while peddling their traditions and reassuring customers and craftsmen that they are holding true to them, revival businesses also need to be willing to change. Nicolas Hayek and Ernst Thomke saved the Swiss watch industry from impending death by applying a succession of electric shocks. In a series of deals they brought together a bunch of ailing businesses into the mighty Swatch Group, whose sales last year reached SFr8.8 billion ($9.5 billion). They fought back against cheap digital watches by first redefining Swiss watches as fashion items, with Swatches, and then redefining them as luxury items, with brands such as Breguet, Blancpain and Omega which sell watches for six-figure sums.
Revival industries need to be willing to take tough decisions: for example, sacrificing market share to new entrants while holding firm on price. They also have to be ready to reorientate themselves to new markets: the Chinese have proved enthusiastic buyers of Western heritage goods.
Elon Musk is the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla. In these two companies, products manufactured have never been proposed before. For SpaceX (USA), the company is able to sell a rocket launch for satellites for 12000 dollars / kg as cost for Ariane 5 (Europa) is 23000 dollars / kg and for Proton (Russia), 18000 dollars / kg.
As ILIAD for French Telecommunication, SpaceX is completely redefining the market of space rocket launch. He obliges restructuring Safran (Ariane) into Airbus group in June 2014.
Elon Musk is also the CEO of Telsa, a company selling only electric cars in USA! Elon Musk is a serial creator, as he was the creator of Paypal sold to Ebay in the 2000’s years.
“If a company depends on its patents is that it does not innovate or when it does not innovate fast enough.” It is with these words Elon Musk justifies his last “madness” make patents Tesla, the electric car manufacturer, accessible to all. And therefore its competitors, now free to take the technologies that have made the success of the models of the Californian company.
“Technological leadership is not defined by patents, history has shown repeatedly that they represented only a small protection against rival determined continued Mr. Musk. Rather, it is defined by the ability to company to attract and motivate the most talented engineers. “And therefore the ability to constantly innovate. “You want to innovate much faster than your previous patents lapse,” says Mr. Musk. It is demonstrated by the success of SpaceX, his second company, specializing in space launch and has only a limited number of patents.
Tesla web site: http://www.teslamotors.com
SpaceX web site: http://www.spacex.com
Originally posted on We Are Innovation:
In the near future, we may be wondering what makes us different from all these machines that can now combine power, knowledge, rapidity and some sort of intelligence of their own, some sort of experience, to work instead of us. If they can find the right words for the right events, analysing everything we say and the way we share it, if they can go up to create algorithms that can reflect feelings and emotions, what will make our work different from theirs? A question Jeremy Garner analysed in this article in Business Insider.
Here’s a few reasons shared on WAI social networks which show there are a few yet most important core reasons why we make better innovators than robots and machines. They are so much worth reminding the obvious.
Something about hope
These two young women have discovered a bacteria that could break down plastic and reduce…
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This is incredible to see how Google progressed within 1 year about their program “Google self-driving car project”. This is now not anymore, a concept with technical tests using a Toyota cars, as it was last year, with Prius or Lexus RX; this is not anymore a technical solution with engineers embedded in these cars, checking the issues of the software developed.
This concept allows Google to propose a completely automatized car without any steering wheel nor any pedals of acceleration or brake nor any engineer embedded in the car.
A new model of usage born
These cars will not be sold by Google; the cost of cars remains too expensive from now; some rumors speaks about a price of 1 million of dollars for the first Google cars, if we integrate manufacturing costs and R&D costs included; and the running costs of these cars is unknown for the moment; for sure, limited people could buy these cars if they would be allowed to buy them.
These cars will be firstly rented by Google to replace your car to go to supermarket, to go to airport or to go some meetings in your town. This model reinvent the usage of transports.
On one side, this car can be compared to a public transport, completely optimized: the car is able to take you everywhere; and you can go everywhere; this car is a two places car, it doesn’t take a lot of place in the road circulation and you don’t need to park them; the car is able to know the traffic jam and optimize the way to go to the destination.
On the other side, this car can manage all small “travel” corresponding to 80% if car usages. This is a complete revolution for the car manufacturers in the next 10 years; in this case, people will not buy anymore a car; what is the interest if you can “call” a car when you need it?
Of course, it means that there will be enough “automatized” cars available in one place as big towns. This is also a complete revolution for taxi or public transports: this automatized transport can be very competitive in the next 10 years and completely change the model of transports in big town.
Continuous disruptive model as Business model
This revolution is exiting because Google, a “big” company with 50000 employees and 60 billions of turnover, is able to make some disruptive innovations on many different sectors every year!
Generally, companies are able to make one disruptive innovation every 10 years; and when it is more, a big risk of failure of the company can be predicted. In the case of Google, it seems not; their Business model seems to be constructed on their capacity to continuously be able to build some disruptive concepts with a lot of synergies with existing profitable activities they also manage.
A lesson to be learn by many worldwide companies if they would continue to exist in the next decades.
Four colors pen is too nerdy? Go Scribble and 16 million shades!
What unleash your imagination!
This is a true innovation offers us an American company: the first pen connected. Scribble can take any color and reproduce on paper. This little gem of technology has a color sensor 16-bit RGB, an ARM 9 processor and an internal memory of 1 GB Add the Bluetooth 4.0 and micro-USB port for charging and you get a pen 2.0 tune with the times.
Usage is childish!
Place the sensor on the color you want to remove and press the button! The unit is responsible for storing the color. Thanks to its memory, can store up Scribble 100,000 colors. With its ink cartridge and mixing chamber, the pen offers an exact reproduction of the sampled color.
The Scribble will be offered in two versions, one ink (U.S. $ 149.95), the other version stylus (U.S. $ 79.95). The release date is not yet disclosed, but the company website offers users (in exchange for an email address) to warn when the pen will be available for sale.
See more details: http://getscribblepen.com/blog/