There are critics of Samsung who argue that its success is mostly due to copying and then tweaking the innovations of others. There is a good deal of truth in this, especially around the early Galaxy designs.
But Samsung is a global leader in screen technology, TVs, batteries, and chip design. So in terms of innovation it is doing a lot right. But we know very little about how.
We know how its competitors innovate – we look at Google and see the 20% time, the big adjacencies, the search for disruption, the bold statements about the future of autos, for example.
We know that within Apple when a project gets to a critical stage, the company assigns three teams to its development, each of which competes against the other. We know the importance of design thinking, an attribute Google is learning about. And of customer experience.
What does Samsung do in comparison? How does it line up against these American masters or conversely are Google and Apple good enough to compete against Samsung?
There’s no doubt that patent circumvention is an aim when Samsung innovates. From its early forays into innovation, competing against Toshiba in washing and drying machines, Samsung has chased patents in areas where its competitors appear to have protection and has oriented its innovation efforts to find new patentable ideas in its competitors’ backyard.
Samsung has nurtured a close relationship with the Russian Academy of Science since then. There is a framework agreement between the two parties. And the Korean Government has its own agreement under which it funds Korean small businesses to develop projects on the back of Academy research. Samsung meanwhile appears to help the Academy to increase its patent count and to exploit its inventions.
The relationship with Russian science was the introduction of TRIZ, an innovation method that Samsung adopted from 2000 onwards but which only reached American companies from the mid-2000s onwards.
TRIZ is a methodology for systematic problem solving. Typical of its origins in Russia, it asks users to seek the contradictions in current technological conditions and customer needs and to imagine an ideal state that innovation should drive towards.
Samsung had early successes with TRIZ, saving over $100 million in its first few projects. It was also adopting Six Sigma at the time.
But it was TRIZ that became the bedrock of innovation at Samsung. And it was introduced at Samsung by Russian engineers whom Samsung had hired into its Seoul Labs in the early 2000s.
In 2003 TRIZ led to 50 new patents for Samsung and in 2004 one project alone, a DVD pick-up innovation, saved Samsung over $100 million. TRIZ is now an obligatory skill set if you want to advance within Samsung.
At the Samsung Advanced Institute for Technology, Hyo June Kim, who wrote The Theory of Inventive Problem Solving, a foundation text on TRIZ published in Korean, trained over 1,000 engineers across Samsung companies in 2004 alone.
At Samsung even the subsidiary CEO has to take TRIZ training. From looking at the various presentations I estimate that engineers get about 15 days of training plus 7 days specific project work. That’s quite an investment in method and people.
So the answer to why Samsung is so innovative – with at least two major product announcements this month – is that it is heavily invested in its people, it goes in search of special talent wherever it can find it, but specifically made astute moves into Russia early on; it targets its innovations towards specific competitors and patents that it wants to overhaul (as Apple did under Jobs); and it has an innovation culture based on extensive training, repeatable methodology and creative elite formation, backed by the highest levels of management.
Lenovo’s innovation lies in its technology, products, business model and cultural management, according to Liu Chuanzhi, founder of the Lenovo Group and president of Legend Holdings Ltd., and Yang Yuanqing, CEO of Lenovo.
International acquisitions fueling global innovation
Referring to Lenovo’s innovation history, people tend to indulge in the story of Lenovo’s buying IBM’s PC business in 2004. “At that time, Lenovo didn’t expect to become the global leader of PC industry”, said Yang Yuanqing with emotions.
To date, Lenovo’s Innovation Triangle Teams in the USA, Japan, and China collaborate have been fusing together different cultures of different countries and collaborating in a 24-hour non-stop manner to ensure leading position of Lenovo’s innovation in the world.
After successfully absorbing IBM’s PC business, Lenovo’s international acquisitions have been unstoppable. Lenovo’s international mergers, from single business like PC and server to comprehensive business like cloud computing, serve not only as effective strategies for Lenovo to strengthen its operation volume and optimize market distribution, but also a way for Lenovo to bring in talented people from different fields and fill its innovation teams with new blood.
At present, Lenovo owns about 11,000 patents globally, about 2/3 of them coming from China and 1/3 from oversea teams. According to Zhang Dekui, director of Lenovo’s Innovation division, Lenovo spends USD500 million on R&D every year, and has 5,000 product developers, including engineers, researchers, and designers, and more than 100 advanced labs around the globe. These constitute Lenovo’s unique innovation and quality guarantee system.
Complete industry chain supporting innovations on multiple levels
Liu Chuanzhi has said that “Lenovo’s first innovation is to combine technology with the high-tech industry”. In 2012, when sales of Lenovo’s PCs were thriving across the world, Lenovo keenly grasped the new trend of the mobile internet and started its PC+ strategy, beginning to increase investment in mobile internet terminals like smartphones, tablet computers, and smart TVs in the meantime of consolidating its advantages in the PC industry.
Today, the fall of some traditional PC manufacturers and the achievement of Lenovo in the PC+ area have proved that Lenovo has made a right decision. In the Q2 of the 2013 fiscal year, the global market share of Lenovo’s smartphone increased to 5.1 percent, behind only Apple and Samsung, and the growth of its tablet computers was even higher. Also, sales of Lenovo’s tablet computer and smartphones had exceeded that of its PCs for two quarters in a row, their revenue accounting for 15 percent of total revenue of the company and profit margin steadily on the rise.
In Lenovo’s Innovation Center, Lenovo’s employees, from system design engineer to software application researcher, from part technology R&D director to product design director, demonstrated Lenovo’s innovation industry chain to the reporter. Lenovo has set up technologies in four major fields to bolster the entire Lenovo business innovation endeavor, including part technology and system innovation, natural interaction technology, cloud service and big data technology, and new materials and design innovation. These make up Lenovo’s core R&D innovation strategy, dubbed “one cloud and multiple screens”, and they are also the source of Lenovo’s business innovation.
Independent manufacture and protection of innovation achievements
In October 2013, Lenovo’s industry base in Wuhan was completed and put into operation. This is a comprehensive industry base that integrates R&D, production, and sales of mobile internet terminals, with a total investment of more than RMB5 billion Yuan. “In this base, a product will need to go through dozens of labs before it is finally put onto the market, and it will be examined and checked repeatedly during production. This is the advantage of independent production and development. It can protect our innovations”, said Yang Yuanqing.
There used to be doubt that Lenovo was a computer assembler and not a core technology innovator. For this, in 2011 Lenovo began to shift its focus onto parts and components, striving to achieve breakthroughs in component technologies and walk ahead of competitors in terms of system innovation. This requires Lenovo to attach more importance to working with upstream manufacturers, extensively consolidate upstream and downstream technologies, and provide parts for system innovation. Lenovo’s independent manufacturing enables it to communicate directly with upstream manufacturers, which would increase its leverage for innovation.
10 years ago, Lenovo introduced a relation-type business model that targeted at corporate customers and government customers, to go along with its consumption business model that targeted consumers. That was a business model innovation. Now, Lenovo again introduced a new-era dual business models, with one online model and one offline model, and its marketing campaign is moving from traditional advertising to internet marketing, digital marketing, and micro-blogging marketing, etc.
In 2012, Lenovo added “Pioneer” to its 4P corporate culture, showing its intention to be a pioneer of the time. Internally, Lenovo has its unique innovation mechanism, including CEO innovation discussion, ideas management, etc, so as to promote the realization of technology and product R&D.
Sir James Dyson is the world’s most famous vacuum maker. His “never loses suction” vacuum is the top-selling vacuum cleaner in the world, and his company has since expanded into making better fans and hand dryers as well. He founded the James Dyson foundation in 2002 to nurture young engineers.
James Dyson said: “I made 5,127 prototypes of my vacuum before I got it right. There were 5,126 failures. But I learned from each one. That’s how I came up with a solution.”
Few British designers can claim to have had as much impact on the cleanliness of our homes as James Dyson – but the man’s achievements go far beyond hard-sucking vacuum cleaners.
A decade after the Cyclon came the DA001 (quickly renamed the DC01), the first vacuum cleaner sold under the Dyson name and, to put it mildly, a real game-changer (despite being a very similar design to the Cyclon). Dyson’s patented Dual Cyclone technology gave the DC01 huge suction power compared to its rivals (90 airwatts, to be precise) – although this came at a premium price.
Dyson has been working on a robotic vacuum cleaner for seemingly forever – but has never put it into production. James Dyson claims that the DC06 worked fantastically well thanks to an amazing complement of electronic brains and more suction power than rivals, but its 70 sensors and three on-board computers meant it was also fantastically expensive to build – it would have cost something like £2,500. The company put the project on ice, with James Dyson saying he wouldn’t build a cheap robotic vacuum that didn’t work as well as the pricey prototypes.
Dyson’s air-moving expertise wasn’t to be restricted to vacuum cleaners, and in 2006 it was applied to commercial hand dryers with the Airblade. Rather than using a wide stream of heated air to dry your sodden mitts, it produces a single layer of cool air moving at a speed of 400mph that dries hands in 10 seconds. Dyson says the Airblade uses less electricity than its competitors as well as working far more quickly, while the cooler air doesn’t increase bacteria to the same degree as traditional dryers.
In 2013, Dyson squeezed Airblade tech into a water tap, allowing people to wash and then dry their hands at the basin.
And in 2014, we can be sure that Dyson will continue to innovate with new tests, new failures and of course new products.
Google’s primary source of profit is search-related advertising while Apple’s is consumer hardware. And Google’s five-front assault on Apple’s profit model takes advantage of that difference.
Here are five of Apple’s fronts and how Google is attacking them:
Apple lags and has lost share in high end smartphones where 426 million units were sold during the first three months of the year. Gartner reported that in the first quarter of 2013, Apple’s global share of the high-end mobile phone market declined from 22.5% in the 2012 period to 18.2%.
Apple is number two to Samsung — which supports Google’s Android operating system. Samsung’s market share increased from 27.6% to 30.8% in the first quarter of 2013.
Android has already taken the tablet market lead from Apple. IDC expects Android to control 60% of the tablet market by the end of June 2013.
It wasn’t always so gloomy for Apple’s iPad. After all in the second quarter of 2012, the iPad commanded over 60% of the tablet market — but that figure has dropped ”to around 40% in each of the third and fourth quarters of 2012 and the first quarter of 2013,” reports Venturebeat.
And Android has been gulping iPad’s market share. Venturebeat notes that between the first quarter of 2012 and the first quarter of 2013, Apple swapped the lead with Android — in 2012 Apple outsold Android by 11.8 million to 8 million; while in that same period in 2013, Android trumped the iPad by 27.8 million to 19.5 million.
Moreover, IDC expects skies to darken for the iPad. In the second quarter of 2013, IDC believes that Apple will ship fewer than 19.5 million units because Apple is not launching what CEO, Tim Cook, called its “amazing” new hardware until “fall 2013 and throughout 2014.” Thus IDC expects Apple to ship between 17 million and 18 million iPads — leaving Android tablets with 60% of the market in Q2 2013.
When it comes to competing with Android smartphones and tablets, Apple can either cut price and slash its profits or hold its prices and win fewer new customers. Cook has yet to prove that Apple can innovate its way out of that profit-growth dilemma.
3. Apple Maps
Under a year after Apple removed Google Maps from the iPhone, Google introduced a new version that is simpler and can be customized to each user.
By sharing what Google knows about each individual from other services, Google can customize maps. According to the New York Times, “When users who are logged into Google visit Maps, they will see the places they frequently visit highlighted, like restaurants, museums and their home. Google learns the places they go by drawing information from all of Google’s services — including search and Maps history, Google Plus posts and information in users’ Gmail in-boxes.”
Bernhard Seefeld, the product management director for Google Maps, bragged to the Times, “We can build a unique map for every place and every click.” For those who are worried about Google knowing too much about them, this new service is creepy — but potentially useful.
Meanwhile, the memory of Apple Maps six most epic fails lingers.
Google is going after music streaming through the introduction of Google Play Music All Access (GPMAA) — a service that lets users stream music using Google Play for Android. For $9.99 a month, GPMAA combines “users’ current Play collections with access to millions of additional songs,” according to Fortune.
Meanwhile, Google was able to secure content deals with three major record labels—Universal Music, Sony, and Warner Music Group — and beat Apple to market with the streaming service that iTunes has long-been rumored to be developing, says Fortune.
The most important front where Google is trouncing Apple is innovation. To be fair, under Steve Jobs, Apple’s approach to innovation was to introduce a much better product in an established industry. The result was big success from great products like the iPod, iPhone, iPad, and iTunes.
But Google Glass’s big media splash suggests that creating entirely new categories of products can also be a way to spur growth. We can also speak about the Google Cars that can for sure impact also IT solutions.
Google certainly needs help there — since its traditional markets are slowing down.But it looks like Google is winning the war for the future: Google is offensive and Apple only defensive.
- Google’s Five-Front Assault on Apple (forbes.com)
- Who can rescue Google Wallet? Apple. (sivag1.wordpress.com)
- Google’s Five-Front Assault On Apple (soshitech.com)
- Google’s Getting Its Game (Console) On (newsy.com)
- Report: Google developing an Android-powered console (polygon.com)
- Why Apple, Google want to make consoles (stuff.co.nz)
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)
4-day visit to Santiago on Innovation
A 12-person delegation, headed by Julian Robinson, minister of state in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, has just returned from a four-day visit to Santiago, Chile, to see first-hand how that country is developing a robust ecosystem for entrepreneurship and innovation.
The primary purpose of the mission was to visit Start-up Chile (SUP), a government-financed programme launched in August 2010 to attract early-stage, high-potential entrepreneurs to bootstrap their ventures in Chile, without taking equity in the firms.
Its goal was to convert Chile into the innovation and entrepreneurial hub of Latin America, akin to other centres of innovation in the world, particularly the Silicon Valley.
The Jamaican group was particularly thrilled to meet the founder of SUP, Nicolas Shea, a Stanford-educated entrepreneur who was recruited by the then minister of economy, Juan Andrés Fontaine, to join his staff as his entrepreneurship adviser. Only days after Shea relocated to Chile, a massive earthquake struck in February 2010, causing more than $15 billion in damages.
Today, after two and a half years, SUP is a highly successful programme that supports both foreigners and Chileans to create innovative ventures using much the same model as it did in 2010 with some minor changes to enhance its effectiveness.
Now, 40 per cent of the applications received are from Chile, but it is clear that the original objective of importing talent with a view to changing the entrepreneurial culture is still very much at the forefront of the programme.
To understand SUP innovative program
With a current budget of US$12 million per year, funded by Chile’s economic development agency CORFO, which is itself funded by a tax on mining companies operating in Chile, SUP can boast some impressive results.
Today, it has received 5,600 applications from 70 countries, admitted more than 1,000 entrepreneurs from 53 countries, and a host of social impacts – almost 600 “meet-ups” organised by SUP and participants or “suppers”, and 3,790 hours of mentorship provided by suppers. Additionally, there are all kinds of spin-off programmes supporting entrepreneurship and innovation and a global rush to emulate the programme’s design elements and impacts.
SUP has also created strong links to local and international companies and entrepreneurs, the global investor community, local and international universities and other programmes in Chile.
We visited one facility, Wayra, a tech incubator operated by Telefónica that incubates 10 companies for 10 months. The incubator manager, Claudio Barahona Jacobs said that Wayra wants to support international start-ups to capture the “winds of talent blowing” in its midst.
Wayra makes a direct investment of US$50,000 in each company in three parts: an initial sum and the other two tranches when agreed milestones are achieved. The investment is in the form of convertible notes. The incubator provides space and services, coaching in how to make a pitch to investors, how to run a company, to hire people and be a boss.
The entrepreneurs we spoke to said that the coaching was one of the most important elements of the programme, and they also participate in management courses run in collaboration with a local university.
Critical is making business links with Telefónica itself, using the company as a distribution channel or as a first customer, testing the applications developed by the entrepreneurs.
Telefónica has 11 million customers in Chile who have smartphones and 300 million business and consumer customers in 30 countries worldwide, so the company is a vital link to this huge market for mobile apps and business applications for its incubator clients.
Optimistic about Jamaica
SUP’s founder, Nicolas Shea, is optimistic about Jamaica and encouraged the group to adopt and adapt the best elements of the SUP programme. The World Bank and Minister Robinson plan to invite Shea and a number of the Chileans whom we met to Jamaica, later in the year, to continue discussions with a wider group of stakeholders.
Everyone on the mission agreed that Jamaica has the opportunity to replicate some of the successful elements of the Start-up Chile programme. Jamaica has talented and technologically savvy young people who are eager to tap into the global demand for creative applications that solve real-world business and social problems.
In so doing, they create their own employment. We have the interest and support of international development partners including the World Bank to finance initiatives that will support the growth of the Jamaican economy. It is an opportunity to forge public-private partnerships to provide early stage and venture capital financing for SMEs, mentorships and access to markets. But will our leaders champion such efforts to move us beyond mere talk? And will we collectively have the courage to act now to secure the future of our nation?
- Start-Up Chile: See Why Many Americans are Itching to Enter This Early-Stage Accelerator (youngentrepreneur.com)
- Wayra seeks 10 digital start-ups for Dublin incubator (siliconrepublic.com)
- Vanessa Van Edwards: Start-Up Chile: Growing Pains of the Chilecon Valley (huffingtonpost.com)
- Jamaica – the hub of innovation and entrepreneurship in the Caribbean? (emergingfrontiersblog.com)
- New Irish venture Reverbeo selected for Start-up Chile programme (siliconrepublic.com)
- Twin Cities-based Exotic Wood Chips LLC becomes Sole US Importer of Jamaican Pimento Wood, Leaves and Charcoal (prweb.com)
- The lure of Chilecon Valley (oguz.me)
- Wayra Dublin start-up accelerator makes last call for new entries (siliconrepublic.com)
I totally agree with this article; I wrote it in a previous article, the problem of Windows 8 is esstentially a wrong device. And this is why the PC market go down: the problem is not the Tablets market but a lack of innovative approach of PC manufacturers during the last 2 years. But it will change, for sure.
Read my article on it: https://worldofinnovations.net/2013/05/05/q1-2013-pc-down-14-between-1q13-1q12/
- Windows 8.1 ‘Transfer Settings’ Screenshot Leaked (microsoft-news.com)
- The ASUS Transformer Book Trio: Atom + Haswell, Android + Windows 8 (anandtech.com)
- Big surprise: Bill Gates thinks Windows 8 is great (reviews.cnet.com)
- Asus unveils Transformer Book Trio — a Windows 8 and Android hybrid (betanews.com)
Despite my early optimism for Windows 8 and its potential for interesting laptop-tablet hybrids, I must make a confession: I haven’t gotten around to buying one yet.
It’s not because I lack the funds or the knowledge of what’s available. For the right machine, I’d be willing to spend $1,000 or more –it would serve the purpose of two devices, after all–and I’ve tested a handful of PCs that fall roughly within that range. But so far, none of them have hit all the right notes, and judging from what we’ve seen so far at the Computex trade show in Taiwan, it’s going to be a while until the perfect Windows 8 PC comes along.
In theory, a good hybrid can be held like a tablet for casual uses such as web browsing and reading, but can also transform into a laptop for productivity. Although I mainly use my Nexus…
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We are speaking about cold fusion more than 15 years. But, until now, no result to produce energy more than used to produce cold fusion itself. But this energy will be the future and will redisign the world with more energy and possibly more innovations with an energy less expansive. Let´s read this very interesting article fromage Tech in America.
- By Sebastian Anthony (courtesy extremetech)
Against all probability, a device that purports to use cold fusion to generate vast amounts of power has been verified by a panel of independent scientists. The research paper, which hasn’t yet undergone peer review, seems to confirm both the existence of cold fusion, and its potency: The cold fusion device being tested has roughly 10,000 times the energy density and 1,000 times the power density of gasoline. Even allowing for a massively conservative margin of error, the scientists say that the cold fusion device they tested is 10 times more powerful than gasoline — which is currently the best fuel readily available to mankind.
The device being tested, which is called the Energy Catalyzer (E-Cat for short), was created by Andrea Rossi. Rossi has been claiming for the past two years that he had finally cracked cold fusion, but much to the chagrin of the scientific community he hasn’t allowed anyone…
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