The 3Doodler is a 3D printing pen developed by Peter Dilworth and Maxwell Bogue of WobbleWorks LLC. 3Doodler began funding in February 2013 on the crowd funding platform Kickstarter. It utilizes plastic thread made of either acrylonitrile butadiene styrene or polylactic acid that is melted and then cooled through a patented process while moving through the pen, which can then be used to make 3D objects by hand.
The 3Doodler has been described as a glue gun for 3D printing because of how the plastic is extruded from the tip, with one foot of the plastic thread equaling “about 11 feet of moldable material”.
WobbleWorks launched a Kickstarter campaign for the 3Doodler on February 2013 with an initial fundraising target of $30,000. The $50 reward level was the minimum needed to receive the product, with higher reward levels of $75 and $99 including more bags of plastic thread, and the highest level of $10,000 including a “membership in the company’s beta testing program for future products” and the opportunity to spend an entire day with the company’s founders, along with the backer’s 3Doodler being personally engraved.
The reward levels were expanded due to demand, with the added tiers of the product shipping in 2014 rather than in September, October, November or December 2013 for the earlier backers. The company also teamed up with several Etsy wire-artists to showcase the abilities of the 3Doodler and to create “limited edition art pieces” for the campaign.
The fundraising target was reached within a matter of hours and many of the reward levels were sold out within the first day, along with all the Etsy art pieces.By end of February, more than $1 million had been pledged.
- First 3Doodler 3D Printing Pens Ship to Kickstarter Backers (inhabitat.com)
- The $75 3Doodler is a simple, handheld 3D-printing pen (venturebeat.com)
- 3Doodler Finally Shipping to Early Backers, Retail in 2014 (news.softpedia.com)
- IFA 2013: Hands-On Alone Time With the 3Doodler 3D Printing Pen (news.softpedia.com)
- 3Doodler 3D printing pen starts shipping to Kickstarter backers, retail models arriving in early 2014 (engadget.com)
Launching a sustainable business goes well beyond learning how to draft a business plan or fill out a financing application.
It involves a range of skills, both “hard” and “soft”, such as managing a start-up enterprise, motivating employees, assembling a cohesive team, tailoring a product to a well-defined market, adapting rapidly to fast-changing circumstances and consumer sentiment, and understanding how to convert an interesting technology into a viable business. These skills are not acquired, and nor can businesses succeed, in a vacuum. They need a business “ecosystem”, where potential entrepreneurs can learn the right skills and innovation is both encouraged and nurtured. For the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), this will require a change in the cultural attitude toward entrepreneurship.
Nascent ecosystem emerging in MENA
A nascent ecosystem has been emerging in MENA over the past five years. The few businesses that have achieved success in this evolving environment were private sector led, usually by members of the diaspora or those who had either studied or started a business abroad. These individuals come equipped with access to international networks and markets and they have clear incentives to see their ventures succeed. They invest their time as well as their money; key ingredients for a successful business ecosystem that need to be further encouraged. Governments need to know that strengthening innovation-led growth entails understanding and promoting investments in research and development (R&D), cultivating the necessary skills, putting in place a functional and effective business environment and the mechanisms to foster private and public collaboration.
Two initiatives from World Bank
The World Bank has launched two initiatives to support the fledgling ecosystem and help foster innovation and entrepreneurship in MENA. “Supporting the Ecosystem for Fostering a Dynamic Entrepreneurship” is funded by a Bank Development Grant Facility that supports regional partnerships for development. The program leverages a partnership between two leading regional incubators Oasis500 and Wamda to boost the support they already provide to pre and early start-ups across the region. In addition to expanding mentorship, skills development and access to investors, the incubators will also engage stakeholders (governments, universities, investors, other incubators) in each country as a means of expanding the partnership and broadening the transfer and exchange of critical knowledge and skills. Outreach is an important component and will include dissemination of success stories and “lessons learned.” To ensure they reach a diverse audience, a variety of media and platforms will be used, such as popular web sites, an Arabic Entrepreneurship Newsletter, comics, info graphics, cartoons and videos. Particular attention will be paid to rural areas and to groups who tend not to see themselves as entrepreneurs, such as women and youth. The Bank continues to seek funding and partnerships with other entities that have a track record of supporting entrepreneurship and building this capacity in the region.
The second initiative works at the policy level. The World Bank, the private sector, academia, think tanks, civil society experts and governments formed a community of practitioners to cultivate change through innovation and technology. “The How-to of Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship” (ITE) was launched last year in Prague. It is a practitioners’ exchange, networking and learning activity. Its goal is to help countries in the region advance policies that promote the various elements required for a thriving, innovative economy. It provides an opportunity for the exchange of operational lessons from other countries on the “how” of public support in this area.
- Jamaica: hub of innovation in Caribbean? (worldofinnovations.net)
- Hello High Potential Global Women Entrepreneurs! (womenentrepreneursgrowglobal.org)
- Whodini Expands Offerings With Grappple Acquisition (prweb.com)
- Cultivating an Entrepreneurial Community as a Student Leader (studentambassadorsusa.com)
- Govt’s role sought in promoting women entrepreneurship (dawn.com)
- “Pi Slice and the Heavy Weights” Our First Visit at the WEF (pi-slice.com)
Innovation is a big corporate buzzword, and it’s one of the hottest topics on this blog. That’s because it’s one of the biggest mysteries to business leaders. A new study from Accenture, “Why Low Risk Innovation Is Costly,” revealed that fewer than one in five chief executives believes their company’s strategic investments in innovation are paying off. Because of the high percentage of failure, nearly half of the executives surveyed said their companies were less likely to risk implementing breakthrough ideas.
Innovation only happens in the right environment, one where everyone is not only allowed to innovate, but they are actively encouraged to speak up and bring new ideas to the table. This may sound like common sense, but it is far from common practice. How do you create an innovative environment?
- Innovation only comes by invitation. Invite people to bring forth their new ideas. True innovation takes place when people are free to raise ideas, take ownership of them, and then implement them. If people are required to ask permission for every step they take, they will stop asking permission.
- Innovation is not a solo sport, it requires a group of players with skills specific to the effort. Many companies appoint an innovation department or hire a chief innovation officer, which can make innovation just another stovepipe in the organization. The message this sends to your organization is that innovation is “their job” and “not mine” – siloed off. While an idea may come from one individual, it’s the cross-functional creativity, trust, and collaboration that bring innovation to life.
- Encourage everyone to put their ideas to test fast, fail fast, and then reiterate. If people wait for perfection before they put the idea to work, the effort will lose steam before it ever gets off the ground.
- Value the lessons taken from failure as much as your successes, and apply those lessons toward each new attempt. This makes it safe for everyone to innovate. The idea is not to encourage failure but to foster innovation that leads to winning success as rapidly as possible.
- Ensure this behavior gets modeled at every level, from the very top to individual contributor. That means the senior leaders must be actively involved, not just mandating the change.
- Resist the desire to project manage your way to innovation. It cannot be generated by focusing solely on budgets, resources, and timelines. If you try, you can guarantee your innovation investment will be wasted.
- IT Innovation: is outsourcing possible? (worldofinnovations.net)
- CMiC Innovation Award Contest 2013 – Submit for a Chance to Win for Your Charity! (prweb.com)
- Week in Review: Dell, Innovation, and Clean Energy (axialmarket.com)
- Six Steps to a Smarter Start-Up (inc.com)
- Chief Innovation Officer (leticiacaminero.com)
- Guest Post: 4 Ways to Turn Your Company Into an Innovation Machine (marenhogan.wordpress.com)
Helping Frontline Workers Become Innovative
Innovative organizations do not miraculously come into existence. Rather, they are created by leaders who establish the conditions necessary to bring out the innovative ideas within everyone.
How can organizational leaders create these conditions? In particular, how can they create conditions that will encourage frontline workers to be innovative? This requires, I believe, that leaders fulfill two major conditions. They must convince frontline workers that the leadership supports the line; and, they must ensure that frontline workers understand the big picture.
In every effective organization, there is some kind of implicit contract between the leadership and the line. The line will produce what the leadership wants; in turn, the leadership produces what the line wants. The organization’s leadership wants to make this message as explicit as possible: “You produce for us, and we’ll produce for you”.
This implicit contract is needed by any organization that seeks to become innovative. Frontline workers will not help an organization’s leadership do a better job at achieving its mission unless they believe these leaders will help them.
Frontline workers: leadership on their side
But what should those frontline workers who have decided that being innovative is good for the organization attempt to accomplish? In what direction should they attempt to innovate? What are the constraints? How will an innovation fit within other efforts being made throughout the agency? What is the purpose of the agency and how will any specific innovation help to achieve that purpose? To be effective as innovators, frontline workers must understand what the organization is trying to accomplish, why it is trying to accomplish that, and how it might achieve that goal.
Frontline workers understand the big picture
Before frontline workers are going to become innovative, they have to believe that the organization’s leadership supports them, and they have to understand the big picture.
Be immediately responsive
When an executive first asks frontline workers or middle managers what should be done to improve the organization’s effectiveness, the responses will inevitably focus on working conditions. People will complain about the lack of a soft drink machine, the broken toilet, or the photocopier that barely reproduces the original. Obviously, workers will be more productive if they have the right tool.
The quicker that top management produces the new copier, the better its credibility will be.
In fact, before asking frontline workers what should be done to improve the organization, its leaders ought to know the answer they will hear. Before top management meets with the workers, leaders ought to find out what kind of improvements the workers will request. Before the meeting, they ought to check out exactly what they will have to do to produce the improvement and how long it will take. Then, when confronted with the request, they can commit to making the improvement and also state clearly whether the improvement will be completed in a day, a week, a month, or a year.
To identify the needs of frontline workers, the agency’s leadership ought to ask the union. In fact, in a unionized agency, if the organization’s leaders go straight to their frontline workers, the union will view this as a direct threat, an effort to undermine its role.
Innovative organizations make mistakes, lots of mistakes. And how the organization treats these mistakes and those who make them sends important signals throughout the organization. If the mistaken innovators are punished in any way, even if they are just perceived to be punished, frontline workers will relearn a basic lesson of bureaucratic life: It does not pay to experiment with new ideas.
Unfortunately, a lot of people make their living catching mistaken innovations. These mistake catchers get their jollies and their professional recognition from uncovering and exposing mistakes. The moral fervor with which they take on this assignment combined with the well-known and easily implemented strategy for publicizing any mistake creates the
If frontline workers learn that no mistake, even an honest mistake, goes unpunished, they will certainly be reluctant to be innovative. Consequently, leaders who wish to create an innovative organization have to figure out ways to prevent those who make mistakes from being punished.
- IT Innovation: is outsourcing possible? (worldofinnovations.net)
- Innovative Leadership Workbook for Emerging Leaders and Managers is a… (prweb.com)
- Free Yourself with a Fearless Front Line (cherylmcmillan.com)
- Should You Take That Innovation Job? (blogs.hbr.org)
- 2- Leadership and Innovation: Relating to Circumstances and Change (serdarbicer.wordpress.com)
- Should You Take That Innovation Job? – Bloomberg (bloomberg.com)
Are you thinking about ways to transform your workplace into an environment more conducive to innovation? This article takes a closer look at six components of creative climates that have shown to be significant at facilitating creativity according to new research.
What is a creative climate?
A climate can be seen as various aspects of the psychological atmosphere in a team and the surrounding organizational environment. The climate often conveys expectations about which behaviors and attitudes that are acceptable. In the creativity research field there has been many attempts to conceptualize the idea of a ‘creative’ climate – i.e. such a climate that facilitates outcomes that are creative.
This article highlights six components of a creative climate that have been shown to be among the most salient in predicting creative and innovative outcomes.
Complex, challenging and interesting tasks and goals spur intrinsic motivation, which is a critical component of creativity. Yet here also lies an important caveat. Tasks and goals should not be too overwhelming because then the challenge risk becoming an obstacle – effectively stifling motivation.
2. Intellectual debate
When working with complex and challenging tasks, problems often surface. The nature of these problems is that they are often novel to the people that encounters them and complex in that they can be solved in different ways. To ensure that a project can move forward, many viewpoints must be heard and people must feel secure enough so that they put forward their best ideas. In organizations where there is no debate people tend to stick to “tried and true” ways of doing things – applying old solutions to new problems.
3. Flexibility and risk taking
A basic reality of creative endeavors is that they are inherently uncertain. Often, there is no valid information that ensures that an idea or an innovation is guaranteed to succeed. Even a creative idea itself may not be practical enough to be realized into a new product, service or process improvement. Thus, risk is inherently built into innovation. Research shows that tolerating this risk, not minimizing it, is the best strategy. Thus, it is crucial that organizations accept and allow risk, encourage experimentation and failure.
4. Top management support
Another salient component of a creative climate is the perception of support from top management. This support entails both espoused support; when top management communicate norms that encourage innovation, risk taking and experimentation, and enacted support. This latter form of support is perhaps the most important, since it is the amount of resources such as money, time and facilities that top management is prepared to commit to innovation. If resources are not available, employees will see through the rhetoric of encouragement, effectively undermining these efforts.
5. Positive supervisor relations
Support for new ideas by the supervisor or team leader is critical for the further development and implementation of these ideas. Especially supportive leaders listen and give feedback to ideas, and tolerate a certain degree of experimentation. Furthermore, leaders should publicly recognize and reward creative efforts.
6. Positive interpersonal exchange
The last salient component of creative climates is joy. When team members experience a sense of “togetherness” that comes with a common goal, team members will want to cooperate efficiently for their mutual benefit. This increases both team performance as well as individual performance. With increased togetherness communication is facilitated, which will allow different perspectives and keep conflict away.
- Top Six Components of a Creative Climate (innovationmanagement.se)
- 6 Ways to Unleash Creativity in the Workplace (worldofinnovations.net)
- Leadership: Creating a climate for innovation (bringinnovationalive.wordpress.com)
- Invest the Time in Innovation (iacquire.com)
- A Research-Based Guide to Brainstorming Linkbait – or Anything Else (seomoz.org)
Underdelivering on expectations
IT and business leaders nearly universally believe in the value of big data, but many current projects are underdelivering on expectations, a survey indicates.
The survey by IDG Research and big data solution provider Kapow Software suggests that companies are having trouble gathering actionable business insights from big data fast enough.
The research also suggests the emergence of a new technology trend – the consumerization of big data.
Hopes and realities
While only one in three respondents have implemented a big data solution at present, nearly nine in ten agree that there’s huge value to be had from big data. And the pace of adoption is expected to double over the next 12 months.
IT leaders agree that the value of big data is its ability to help make intelligent business decisions and foster a data-driven organization.
Around 80% consider big data to be critical or very important for making informed business decisions. Almost as many believe big data is key to increasing competitive advantage, while 68% cite improving customer satisfaction.
Other popular uses for big data include increasing end-user productivity, improving information security and creating new products and services.
But of the companies that have adopted big data, more than 50% report having only lukewarm success.
The research suggests that big data projects are taking too long, costing too much and underdelivering on ROI. Most respondents believe that big data requires a prohibitively expensive investment in infrastructure.
Partly for this reason, big data projects typically take 18 months or more to complete, an eternity in the IT world.
Faced with these delays, employees from multiple parts of the business are taking it on themselves to attempt to mine insights from big data solutions. More than 80% of survey respondents report that manual data aggregation is being conducted in their business, with IT being tasked to try to automate these internal efforts.
Time and money aren’t the only barriers to big data adoption. Nearly half (43%) of IT leaders also report finding it difficult to find, access and integrate the right information among the piles of data needed. The data they require is often unstructured and spread across a wide range of internal and external sources.
A lack of awareness of the technology’s potential is considered the biggest barrier to big data success.
Furthermore, businesses are finding it difficult to wring value from big data without the presence of expensive data scientists or consultants.
Big data is mostly useless without employees with special training, and specialists are in short supply. Business leaders at the forefront of a big data project are often having to wait for their IT teams to extract insight using the complicated tools available today.
Demand is therefore springing up for simple but effective big data tools that can break down the barriers preventing big data from becoming a business rather than IT endeavor.
With consumerization transforming enterprise IT, users want the same user-centric approach to transform the tools they use, to help address the complexity barriers to big data utilization. More than half of IT leaders consider this a chance to become a business partner.
Tools with the ability to deliver insights in an accessible, easy-to-consume format have the potential to be more cost effective, to be deployed more rapidly and to avoid the expense and headache of a lengthy infrastructure rollout.
- Big Data – Helping Businesses Develop Better Perspectives (bigdatacompany.wordpress.com)
- Big Data Infographic | How Big is Big Data? | Domo | Blog (domo.com)
- Big Data – Security Concerns Rob Many Of Huge Benefits (bigdatacompany.wordpress.com)
- How Are You Managing Big Data? Data, Data Everywhere | Domo | Blog (domo.com)
- Big Data – Beyond The Hype, What Will It Do For Us? (bigdatacompany.wordpress.com)
- Infographic: The Physical Size of Big Data (domo.com)
1. Innovation as a corporate function
At a growing number of large organizations, innovation is now an identified organizational group, with a specific mandate, roles and responsibilities, metrics, processes, resources, and governance. According to a 2012 Capgemini study, 43% of large global companies now have a formally accountable innovation executive. Innovation has become a corporate function, and the trend is gaining steam.
2. Most leaders see Innovation as distraction
Yet despite the trend, today’s innovation leader has a very difficult mission, for two reasons. First, most corporate warriors in middle management persist in thinking of innovation as a management fad – a distraction from quarterly goals and core objectives. As a result, the innovation leader faces a constant uphill battle for legitimacy – unless he/she demonstrates clear, powerful business results from innovation’s efforts. And there is a limited time window before faith and confidence are lost permanently.
3. Innovation breaks operational excellence
Secondly, innovation has a distinct rhythm from the daily business. Instead of driving to efficiency and operational excellence, successful innovation requires space and time to create, tolerance of failure and a culture of open experimentation. In a corporate setting, individuals with ‘innovative’ personalities have long since learned to hide or downplay them, for the sake of career advancement. So the natural rhythm of innovation inevitably feels strange and foreign within a large organization.
4. Innovation as strategic axis for competition
Yet senior leaders increasingly view innovation as a strategic imperative, allowing the firm to adapt and respond to competitive pressures, customer needs and technology change in a rapidly changing, information-rich 21st century world. Most of the time, a great deal is riding on the success or failure of the Innovation Leader. In some cases, the C-suite has staked the company’s future on it.
5. Innovation Project Outsourcing
In this environment, outsourcing is a critical enabler of success. Experienced innovation firms use proven methods and tools to produce those crucial early-stage results, while also injecting the DNA of innovation process into the organization. Typically this outsourcing takes one of two forms.
When the need for a specific innovation is clear – breakthrough new product designs, for example – the innovation leader may outsource the entirety of an innovation project. This is called Innovation Project Outsourcing – in which an innovation firm acts like a design agency, working independently and producing ready-made innovations as deliverables. These projects can range from R&D and engineering work, product and/or industrial design, to innovation process design.
6. Innovation Process Outsourcing
Ultimately, however, the innovation leader cannot be wholly dependent on an outsourcer to produce innovation. Innovation Process Outsourcing is a critical step in embedding innovation habits into an organisation’s DNA. An experienced innovation firm will be intimately familiar with the difficulties of involving broad sets of enterprise stakeholders in a collaborative process. Working underneath the innovation leader, outsourced programme managers can be embedded into the organization as change agents and campaign managers. Through careful scoping of innovation initiatives, combined with skilful management of the campaigns themselves, dramatic results can be achieved while also socializing the behaviors and rhythms of successful enterprise innovation.
7. Innovation Skill Transfert
The end goal of these outsourcing efforts is innovation skill transfer and discipline-building within the corporation. Over time, the outsourcer trains its client on the core Innovation Management skills and methods, which allows the innovation programme to achieve sustainable scale as an enterprise program. As a result, the organisation begins to treat ideas as valuable intellectual capital – and consistently collect, vet and leverage this capital for business benefit.
8. Permanent home for innovation outsourcing
In the longer term, there is a permanent home for innovation outsourcing in most companies. Innovation strategy is a core competence any organisation needs to build, refine and invest in – it’s the future of the company. But aspects of how innovation is built and executed may be outsourced, as external parties have skills and competencies which the company may not have or even need to be in-house.
- Cloud’s role in the move from outsourcing to smartsourcing (intechnology.co.uk)
- Why Innovation Programs Are A Total Waste Of Time (ceo.com)
- 5 Myths About Innovation And Strategy (ceo.com)
- 2013 Winners: Training Outsourcing Companies Watch List (barebrilliance.wordpress.com)
- Kill Your Innovation Champion (psychologytoday.com)
- Outsourcing Business Processes for Innovation (barebrilliance.wordpress.com)
These are slides and speaking notes from a presentation I made recently to a corporate training group.
I passionately believe…
1) That any information architecture (iA)needs to span more than one insular organization or it, in and of itself, just becomes one more stand-alone methodology…
2) That structure paradoxically engenders freedom by eliminating useless redundancy of content and effort…
- "Developing Researcher Skills in Research Data Management: Training for the Future - A DataPool Project Report" (digital-scholarship.org)
- Getting Your Web Site's Structure Right (tc.eserver.org)
- No matter how big it gets, data still demands management and quality checks (blogs.techworld.com)
- Easy Enterprise Architecture (xpdianea.wordpress.com)