Knowledge for Innovation: Trends and Environment for Innovation Deployment Horizon

Knowledge is at the source of the rationale for the key decisions that shape and drive an innovation project. Relevant knowledge can come from a wide variety of sources. Winners at the innovation game are the best at rapidly seeking, filtering, digesting, and interpreting the appropriate knowledge. In the previous article we wrote about Internal Knowledge. We have positioned on the left side of the figure all knowledge related to the industrial and social environment in which a potential innovation project should be considered. This knowledge is typically acquired by a company when defining its strategy. However, when an innovative concept is proposed, it is very important to revisit the environment for the proposed project. By environment, we mean the broad,

Read more

Knowledge for Innovation: Internal Knowledge Flow

Knowledge is at the source of the rationale for the key decisions that shape and drive an innovation project. Relevant knowledge can come from a wide variety of sources. Winners at the innovation game are the best at rapidly seeking, filtering, digesting, and interpreting the appropriate knowledge. Relevant knowledge comes first from within the company contemplating the new endeavor. Although it may be considered obvious, we take this opportunity to stress the importance of the internal knowledge transfer shown as the upper vertical arrows in the figure. Above all, the innovation drive must be consistent with the company’s strategy. This requirement is not as easy to satisfy as you may think. In real life, company strategies are often vague, wishful,

Read more

Knowledge and innovation: a tight interdependency

Any innovator knows from experience that knowledge is as important to him or her as mortar is to a mason. Knowledge is required at every step of the innovation process. Knowledge is the key resource in the generation of an innovative concept. We speak here about all types of knowledge, not only technical knowledge but also knowledge of markets, user ergonomics, business trends, geopolitics, and so forth. When an idea is found worth pursuing, further knowledge is needed during the engineering phase to implement the concept. In parallel, another layer of knowledge is required, this one to back one of the most critical phases of innovation—the process of shaping a business model and defining a marketing strategy for the new

Read more

Mega-trends in employment and work organization

In parallel to the third Industrial Revolution, the world of work and employment is changing rapidly. Birth of the enterprise: from a marketplace of skills to employment Blanche Segrestin and Armand Hatchuel give a very clear history of employment and of the notion of an enterprise in their book Refonder l’Entreprise. A traditional factory, such as a textile factory, before the first Industrial Revolution, differed from today’s factories in two important ways. First, people rented out their skills to the factory—the worker was a supplier. The notion of a work contract did not exist, but rather there was a real marketplace of skills driven by demand (by factories) and supply (by workers). Second, the factory relied on inventions and innovations

Read more

Toward the third Industrial Revolution: optimizing resources

The economist Adam Smith identified three key factors for economic growth: labor, capital, and resources. While the first and second Industrial Revolutions were mostly concerned with optimizing labor productivity and capital allocation, the third Industrial Revolution is expected to focus on optimizing resources. Resources are understood in a broad sense to include land, raw materials, energy, workspace, knowledge, human resources, and so forth. First Industrial Revolution: optimizing labor The first Industrial Revolution spanned from the late eighteenth century to the early nineteenth century and was characterized by dramatic improvements in the methods of producing material goods. The steam engine, invented by Jerónimo de Ayanz y Beaumont, commercialized by Thomas Newcomen and much improved by James Watt, replaced more traditional power

Read more

The Internet of Skills and Knowledge

This short chapter elaborates on works by Jeremy Rifkin and also Stefan Heck and Matt Rogers. They see our world entering a third Industrial Revolution. The first Industrial Revolution, which took place during the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries and was associated with steam and steel, boosted industrial productivity. The second Industrial Revolution, also called the Technological Revolution, took place during the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries and was associated with urbanization and corporate creation, mainly with regard to corporate banking and research and development (R&D). We are entering a new period, during which the focus will be on sound management of resources. Although Rifkin focuses mainly on energy, we agree with the prediction of Heck and Rogers that nearly all resources

Read more

Three meanings of the word ‘disruption’

The word “disruption” gets thrown around a whole lot these days, including on this blog. A good word-throw requires a good grip on the meanings of a word, a bit like in wrestling. In the case of “disruption”, three plausible meanings emerge from the semantic chaos: Disruption as the innovator’s dilemma (Clayton Christensen) Disruption as digital scorched earth strategy (Bruce Sterling) Disruption as a misguiding buzzword (Peter Thiel) 1. The innovator’s dilemma Christensen wrote a series of books based on the idea that what explains the sudden death of healthy companies is the difficulty for established companies to switch to new product technologies. Customer-orientation is useless when the problem is to avoid being blindsided by technologies that at first don’t seem to pose

Read more

How the world of industry confronts the hurricane of digital transformation

When Apple launched the iTunes Music Store in 2003, it unknowingly created a textbook case of digital disruption. Initially designed to facilitate legal downloads in order to increase the demand for iPods, the platform has revolutionized the music industry by becoming an inescapable medium, capable of imposing the demands of its clients on its suppliers (purchase by song instead of by album, removal of DRM …). At that time, five major companies dominated the music market. Now there are only three of them. Since then, this exemplary scenario has repeated itself in almost identical fashion in countless sectors: through the use of digitalization and by adopting a fresh perspective on a given industry, new entrants have inserted themselves into value chains, captured client relations,

Read more

The imperative of open innovation is shaking up the world of corporations

In an era where information is instantly available everywhere on the planet, novelties seem to fade instantly. The competition is never far away, and in order to survive, there is no other choice than to innovate faster. In the space of just a few years, the time required for the design of an airplane has decreased from ten to seven years, and that for one molecule has gone from seven to five years. This acceleration of innovation cycles is one of the fundamental trends of our economic environment, and is naturally inseparable from another basic trend: digitalization. Together, they accelerate the reconfiguration of traditional value chains. Companies are seeing that their products are in danger of being instantly commoditized while at the same time the very nature of their business models are called

Read more

When startups disrupt the space industry: Interview with Ane Aanesland, co-founder and CEO of ThrustMe

Recent years have seen a variety of new players enter the space industry. One domain ripe for disruption is the satellite propulsion market, with technological breakthroughs championed by startups such as ThrustMe. At Presans, we take a professional interest in disruption in all shapes and forms, so we took the opportunity to sit down and have a chat with ThrustMe co-founder and CEO Ane Aanesland. What’s your take on the ongoing space revolution? I think we’re at the start of a significant wave of disruption in the satellite industry. The miniaturization of satellites has opened up and democratized the access to space related activities that before were only accessible to large corporations, government agencies, and hedge funds. Small satellites only

Read more