Search Engine

Monday, November 25, 2013

A Hand's-On approach to R&D Innovations is a Great Strategy

Successful growth organizations are those that are constantly generating new innovations. Involving all staff to participate involves a structure approach, continuous encouragement from the leadership team, and rewarding employees who develop novel business solutions. Many of these innovations can be incremental and some can encompass new lines of business.

It is important that the C-Suite create a culture where staff are free to express their ideas either in ideas for driving new business or in solving customer problems. This culture is what brings increased revenue to the bottom line and improved customer satisfaction scores.

NEW ideas can be encouraged in 3 ways:

1. An annual New Ideas conference or workshop
2. A monthly New Ideas session specific to existing product and services
3. A New Ideas suggestion box right to the Innovations Officer

The key to innovation is to have a process of constantly generating new ideas and a follow up process back to the idea generator. In this way the dialogue remains open and consistent in a healthy manner.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Is Smartphone the King?

Is Smartphone the King?

The smartphone has been a technology disruptor and a company killer. It is the app frenzy but the browser with internet connectivity that became the big enabler of adoption for this technology. Think back 5 years ago and imagine your life then when the smartphone was a BlackBerry, and flip phones ruled the world with 10 key text input.

Nokia and BlackBerry are companies getting killed and Treo was actually killed. Not sure where Googorola fits in yet. Meanwhile Samsung took over the world one free android OS at a time.

Amazon and Facebook are trying to get into the game as well. Why? The smartphone is becoming the King and the preferred method of communications. For Amazon it’s all about the input device into their shopping networks and for Facebook it’s all about grabbing mobile advertising revenue.  Again it is the app driving the consumer.

Maybe BlackBerry should release a Twitter branded version of the Q10, a Kardashian branded version, The Pope version and even the Green bay Packers could do similar. These branded versions could have exclusive design and content features not available anywhere. Sprint did this with their Nascar branded Motorola i736 flip phone.

But John, you are off on a tangent , focus on disruptation. Ok folks here goes:

Kodak and Polaroid got killed by the smartphone. Really?  Sure they did and they did fall asleep at the wheel as the world switched to digital film. Back in the day, everyone had a film camera and the 110 format allowed a small, pocketable camera that could be taken anywhere. With the new Nokia Lumia 102 with its 41MP camera, Apple’s improved camera on the iPhone 5 means photography is now so much better. Why lug a heavy SLR around your neck? Just snap away and let Snapchat and Instagram do its work for you. Use the various apps to edit the photos in device before uploading to Flickr and Facebook. Hmmm the $3000 Nikon D800 cannot do that. Most consumers just need a convenient way of taking photos to print into 4x6 or file away in their hard drive. It is no wonder that point and shoot camera sales are down year over year and DSLR is being affected as well. The smartphone being an internet device can have its software upgraded and the photo app software upgrade very easily. Adding new features or simplifying storage is very difficult on a traditional digital camera. The most important innovations in photography have actually happened on smartphones.

Nintendo, Xbox, PlayStation are also getting slowly killed. Consumers have shifted their appetite for free and disposable games from their local app store. No need to have a purpose built portable game console anymore when the smartphone screen size and processing power exceeds the Nintendo DS and Game Boy. Though, like many other nerds really prefer playing Tetris on a GameBoy because that is just the way it is meant to be played, not in colour on a swipe screen device. Take your iPhone and Airplay it to your big screen TV and your PlayStation 2 just got donated to the Salvation Army.  However, the gamers will always run high end Desktops or the new game consoles to play Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto because you can now have wrinkles on the clothes, and other super fine detail. The new consoles are really now unified multimedia machines with Netflix, Blu-ray DVD, chat and VOIP apps embedded. Actually the PC is going to be killed by the new game consoles. Throw Microsoft Office onto the new Xbox and who needs a Desktop PC anymore especially when you have a Surface tablet.

Traditional Wallets are getting killed. The smartphone is becoming the payment device and you can store all your receipts online. Who needs a wallet? Who even wants a wallet for Christmas?  No one
Laptops are getting killed by the smartphone. You can actually do a lot of stuff with a Samsung Note 3 without the need for a laptop. Laptop users that need processing power and lots of memory will always be a market but if Google releases a Motorola Note G with a 6” screen and its cloud apps then road warriors will rejoice.  Please bundle in a HDMI cable and extended battery sleeve with a nice Blue Tooth headset into the Road Warrior Edition. Actually do up a 7” version and a smart watch to the mix.  You now don’t need a mini Tablet anymore.

The smartphone is a mean animal that has devoured the camera industry, the portable game console industry, nibbling away at the Laptop industry, the wallet industry is making more money selling smartphone cases,  and it’s on the lookout for the its next lunch.

My smartphone is my camera, game console, TV, music player, e-book reader, alarm clock, notepad, wallet, flashlight, portable office, tamagotchi, boarding pass and recipe box. I look forward to what the next 18 months brings to the market, who knows it may be able to cook a meal, or replace the home alarm system and my keychain as well.

Yeah the smartphone is the King and with a bejewel case can be the Queen as well. Actually the smartphone has no gender.

The smartphone may also be chewing away on productivity, the sales flyer, newspaper, Sunday mass, and donuts. I do know one thing and that one day the smartphone will protect us from zombies, robots and vampires and there is a teenager in a garage somewhere working on that right now.

The Samsung Galaxy Gear Smartwatch Review (Wearable Technology wish list)

The Samsung Galaxy Gear Smartwatch Review (Wearable Technology wish list)

I was at the mall the other day and there was a pop up retail kiosk set up 100 feet away from the Apple store. The kiosk was staffed with a multi-cultural team of brand ambassadors that piqued shopper interest and created line ups.

What is the buzz? It seems the Galaxy Note 3, being the oversized smartphone (bigger may be better) of choice and the new add on of a watch.  I wonder how many consumers thinking they wanted an Apple product ended up buying a tablet, watch and shiny new phone from Samsung??

Wearable technology is the most anticipated next step for the smartphone manufacturers to gain market share and drive new revenue streams.

Samsung has fired the first salvo in the wearable technology battle and just before Christmas. Not sure what the boys back in Cupertino are doing but for every Samsung watch sold means one less Apple smartphone sale as consumers jump ship to seek a better integrated lifestyle’s platform. Sony is thinking the same thing if they can ever get a real ecosystem going their market share will improve.

The joy of syncing your BlackBerry with your Playbook was a neat trick but Apple killed that idea when you can now sync your MacBook with your iPhone, iPod and iPad tablet. Samsung now adds a watch to the mix and it is a clever device.

Pebble created the wearable technology craze when it kick-started over $10M in funding. Actually, historians will remember the Microsoft  SPOT in 2004 which was great for weather reports and stock prices. Let’s see what the girls in Redmond will create with Nokia and it could add a killer Xbox interface for Call of Duty. Imagine calling in air strikes with your watch.

So what does a $300 watch do for your fashion sensibility and first adopter status?  It does a lot in street credibility and showing off at slumber parties. I am sure the neon orange will outsell the white or black models.

Currently the watch only works with the Note 3 as the Koreans scramble to bring the other Samsung devices into the mix.

What does it do for you? It notifies you of messages and texts and you can make telephone calls by voice activation. This is a brilliant idea as it keeps the big Note 3 secure in your jacket pocket; however, you still need to reach in a check the message details. Remember, it is just notifying you of a message.
Solid construction, clear and sharp LED display, 1.9MP camera (kind of poor) and battery life is short needing a daily charge is the short and sweet.

There are some clever apps that can be a driver to buy the watch with Evernote allowing voice to text memos, Path is the photo sharing program, Pocket reads back stories you saved and Run Keeper and SnapChat fill out the 4GB internal memory. It also includes the favourite PSY app that can add gangnam style to everything you do (JOKES).

Expect more apps to fill up the catalog over the next few months.

I was kind of expecting a WOW moment but after spending time with the watch it is definitely a great start and a move in the right direction. It is a notifier of activity and an input/output device that marries with your smartphone.  It is not a standalone smartphone or micro tablet.

  • You’re driving in your car and you get a call and answer with the watch or you make a voice dial to call someone. That is handy.
  • You get a text during a meeting and you glance at your wrist when it vibrates and take note of it.
  • It wakes you up during your mid afternoon nap.
  • It feeds content into your Evernote world
  • You have one additional device to now charge before you go to bed.
  • Everyone notices that bright neon orange watch and you become the center of attention for several moments. You have proven first adopter status in your circle of influence now that Google Glass has worn off.

I would consider this to be a great add-on to your Samsung world and definitely has some very useful apps and ways to interact with your email, texts and phone calls. I look forward to the next release which promises more capabilities as the consumer demand becomes the watch being more of a standalone device than an add-on but the power of Sync between apps will become stronger. Now your
Consumers will expect an embedded Fitbit device, GPS, a better camera, spy video stealth mode, more memory and a eBay/PayPal app.

Now when you get outbid on the Batman Dark Knight lunch box, you get notified on your watch and you can click to increase your bid. Very useful when you are in a 3 hour sales meeting and can’t get your desk in time to win the auction.

Consider this opportunity for bringing efficiency and happiness to your world:
Your Samsung world is linked to your Amazon account. As you make your way to the bus stop, you fancy a Thai dinner. You open your  Smartdinner app and choose the Thai Shrimp Red Curry on Rice, it  pings your Samsung refrigerator and Smart Pantry  to see what’s in stock, and it reports back that you need coconut milk, red curry paste and red peppers. You also need to buy your girlfriend the new Lady Gaga CD, and buy Nancy Duarte’s new book on presentation skills. No problemo, with a triple flick of your wrist the amazon app opens up and you speak your demands, answer yes as it confirms, and charges your credit card. As you get on your 1 hour bus ride, you feel so happy that when you get home the purchases are in your courier delivery box. You are even happier that your girlfriend got your text and is making dinner while dancing to the new CD you bought her.

Happy, Happy, Happy