Category Archives: Innovation and Technology

NEW ‘AIR FORCE VENTURES’ SET TO TRANSFORM TECHNOLOGY STRATEGY

The U.S. Air Force has adopted a three-phase strategy to select small, innovative companies outside the traditional defense industry to perform advanced development work and to tap Silicon Valley-style venture capital firms to help taxpayers finance the new technology. Acquisition chief Will Roper is implementing Air Force Ventures, a new method of attracting high-tech startups to the government. U.S. Air Force plans to make 50 large “bets” on technology. New acquisition training to be based on Fighter Weapons School. To prepare, the Air Force is sending acquisition officials back to school. Next year, a cadre of program managers will be enrolled in a six-month course at Stanford University, which will teach the Air Force to manage technology investments like venture capitalists.   Read More >>

LOSING SLEEP OVER THE QUEST FOR A PERFECT NIGHT’S REST

Sleep trackers worn on the wrist can actually be causing people to lose sleep. Sleep trackers have become increasingly popular. They come in the form of watches, wristbands, rings and even mattresses. The gadgets measure and crunch data on how one breathes, how fast one’s heart is beating, how much one is tossing and turning. An irony of the digital lifestyle, for some people, is that perfecting a sleep schedule becomes an end unto itself, so much so that people can lose sleep over it. This particular type of insomnia is called orthosomnia. It’s when one really becomes fixated on having this perfect sleep via tracker, and then start worrying about it, giving oneself insomnia.   Read More >>

3 WAYS THAT YOU CAN SUPPORT SUCKING EXTRA CARBON FROM THE AIR

Transforming the entire economy to get to net zero emissions is something that scientists say is necessary to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. It will require massive and complicated transformations of nearly-every aspect of society. Acting on climate change as an individual requires pressuring the government and companies to make systemic changes. It is possible to suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and turn it into a rock that can be stored underground. Reducing emissions is not enough; “negative emissions” solutions, which can remove carbon that’s already in the atmosphere, are also critical to get to a safe CO2 level. Firms from around the world are making innovative products to solve this wicked problem.  Read More >>

HOW B2B COMPANIES CAN UP THEIR CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE GAME

Most companies focus on their own sales targets instead of those of their clients’. Delivering a distinctive customer experience starts with a focus on the customer’s needs and wants, as well as an anticipation of the problems that customers may be unaware of. That focus is difficult with individual customers because everyone has their own desires and problems. Every company’s focus should be their customers’ outcomes, while paying close attention to the people, processes, and technology. Companies should start with their customers’ most critical issues first. It is important to pay attention to why the customers claim that they haven’t been able to solve a particular problem.   Read More >>

STARTUPS BET THAT LONELY FREELANCERS CRAVE COMPANY

Work clubs say productivity improves when you have a buddy.  This has become a problem from remote workers, who miss the interactions of nearby co-workers in the office.  There is a new trend of ventures coming into fruition: transforming remote work into a group activity. Many people get more work accomplished where there is no distraction at home, but feel more motivated in the workplace surrounded by peers.  Start-ups like Focusmate are trying to solve this problem. This start-up features fifty minute video sessions with randomly assigned partners. For $4 a month, users have unlimited access to the program, which can be an asset for people with deficit hyperactivity disorder.  Read More >>

Ready For Meat Grown From Animal Cells? A Startup Plans A Pilot Facility

Memphis Meats, a California based company, plans to build a pilot production facility to grow meat from animal cells. They have funds raised from high-profile investors including Bill Gates, Richard Branson and Kimbal Musk, as well as two giant players in the animal protein and feed space: Cargill and Tyson Foods. The company says its latest funding round has brought in $161 million in new investment. Memphis Meats is still technically made from animals, but helps fight against the environmental impact of livestock agriculture. Read More >>

Think Universities are Making Lots of Money from Inventions? Think Again.

About $75 billion dollars is spent on academic research, and it makes way for little return on investment.  A very small amount of university research products ever makes it to the public market. Colleges and universities only provide a small proportion of the nation’s patents.  In 2016, academic institutions only produced 6,639 of the 304,126 patents according to the National Science Board. A possible reason for this is that faculty are awarded tenure and promotion based on measures such as how much research money they bring in and how many papers they publish, not their numbers of patents or start-ups or the licensing revenue they earn.  Obtaining a patent is a long process that can take seven years. It is easier for universities to calculate merit over papers instead of patents.   Read More >>

Why Your Next Brainstorm Should Begin with an Embarrassing Story

New research from the Kellogg school shows that embarrassment can be a gateway to creativity.  It turns out that holding cringe-worthy anecdotes back creates an unintentional barrier of self-censorship.  “When you have a brainstorming session, what you’re hoping is that people are putting out any idea, without regard to any judgment or evaluation,” says Leigh Thompson, a professor of management and organizations at Kellogg and author of Creativity Conspiracy: The New Rules of Breakthrough Collaboration.  Sharing embarrassing stories is also a good way for groups to break the ice, as it creates a humorous space where people are allowed to feel vulnerable. This is opposed to traditional ice-breakers where people share their accomplishments. Adding this sense of pride inevitable turns ice-breakers into a competition.  Bragging about one’s accomplishments may be a confidence boost, but it results in a hindering of innovative thinking. Instead of closing people off from each-other, reinforcing funny or embarrassing stories can lead to trust and better performance.  Read More >>

The Science of Building Great Teams

While teamwork may have been fostered in youth, it is an incredibly useful skill in the workforce.  A study generated over five years of 19.9 million scientific papers and 2.1 patents showed that people produce more work in teams than as individuals.  Teams are more important than they used to be because there is much more to learn within a given field. When it comes to building the teams themselves, team-members’ ability to coordinate effectively trumps the individuals on the team’s respective talent.  Additionally, teams have their own level of intelligence, which is measured by a group’s ability to perform tasks. Read More >>    

In Bed, Bath, or the Bus: The Secret to Solving your Problems

Brainstorming is a task that many people find difficulty in.  Humans tend to hit mental blocks when it comes to problem-solving.  According to Professor Manfred F. R. Kets de Vries, taking breaks from wicked problems could be the key in finding solutions.  The idea is that ‘Eureka!’ moments cannot be forced, and many breakthroughs are found while tapping into one’s creativity. According to the Three B’s of Creativity, the best way to receive a solution from out-of the blue, is by being in bed, bath, or on the bus.  Dreaming, relaxing, and following routine leads the mind to wander, and gives rise to insight previously not thought of. Read More >>