Knowledge Creation : Globalization and Exponential Growth

This article is the second of a series about knowledge acceleration and fragmentation, after Knowledge Flood and Change Acceleration. Globalization of knowledge creation For the first time in 2012, Chinese residents accounted for the largest number of patents filed throughout the world (World Intellectual Property Indicators, December 2013). The Chemical Abstracts Service data (the same data that in the previous article) were analyzed with regard to the geographical origins of the authors. The resulting geographic distribution of each year’s publications is shown in the figure. It appears that the growth deficit observed in the figure during the 1980s was due to the collapse of the USSR and the associated countries pulling out of the knowledge-creation race, presumably temporarily. The most significant long-term

Read more

Knowledge Flood and Change Acceleration

This article is a first of a series about knowledge acceleration and fragmentation.  Examining the past century, we can see that the rates of both knowledge creation and innovation have accelerated. It is sometimes difficult for people of our time to appreciate the quantity of knowledge that humankind has accumulated throughout history. A mental exercise that may help consists of scanning the inventory of knowledge that forms the basis for modern items such as the mobile phone, the hybrid car, weather forecasting, breast cancer treatment, and so forth. Let us begin with the oral wisdom of our ancestors, and then consider the knowledge of ancient Greek philosophers as Archimedes and Pythagoras, and finally proceed, layer by layer, through knowledge created

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 and government agencies. Small satellites only 1 to

Read more

Is Buffer an Example of the Company of the Future?

In a previous article extracted from his co-authored book Innovation Intelligence, Albert Meige talked about the mega trends in employment and work organization. Among these mega trends, he mentioned flexibility in terms of both time and space in the future work organizations. Well, it seems that at least one company is already in the future. Let’s talk about Buffer ! Buffer is a software application that allows its users to manage accounts in social networks. The most interesting feature of the application is that it gives the possibility for users to schedule posts to Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+. The company was created back in 2010 by Joel Gascoigne (CEO) and Leo Widrich (COO) in the UK. The two co-founders quickly

Read more

Timing and Process of Knowledge Acquisition During an Innovation Wave

This article is the fifth and final one of the series about Innovation Waves, after Innovation Waves Associated With Invention and Discovery, Time Sequence for Innovation Waves and Their Applications : the GPS Example, How Kodak Missed The Turn…, and Knowledge Distribution During an Innovation Wave. Early strategic phase: knowledge acquisition to mitigate risks At the onset of a potentially fruitful innovation project, many companies need access to a portion of the relevant new knowledge while performing their minimum duty, roadmapping. This includes strategically evaluating the potential impact of the new invention or discovery on the company’s current business and then defining if, how, and when the company should introduce the new concept into its innovation pipeline. By definition, the invention or

Read more

Knowledge Distribution During an Innovation Wave

This article is the fourth of the series about Innovation Waves, after Innovation Waves Associated With Invention and Discovery, Time Sequence for Innovation Waves and Their Applications : the GPS Example, and How Kodak Missed The Turn…. When an invention or discovery is born, only very few experts, researchers specialized in the specific topic, can understand it and foresee its full potential and limits. If the concept is indeed fruitful, other laboratories will try to reproduce the results and will distribute the knowledge further within a small international community of experts. This process of knowledge distribution is summarized in the table. In the early phases, the knowledge associated with the invention or discovery is not widespread, and it is generally missing within the

Read more

How Kodak Missed The Turn…

The first and second previous articles were the beginning of a series about Innovation Waves. This article is the third of the series, and is taking the example of Kodak to illustrate the threat that innovation waves can pose to established companies. In the mid-1970s, Steven Sasson, a young electrical engineer, was hired by Eastman Kodak, at that time the world leader in silver-based photography. He was a member of a team that was incorporating electronic commands into film cameras. He was asked to evaluate a new CCD chip from Fairchild Imaging (containing ten thousand pixels!) and took the concept so far that he actually invented the first portable digital camera. The prototype was a proof of concept but was

Read more

Time Sequence for Innovation Waves and Their Applications : the GPS Example

In the previous article, we introduced a series of 5 articles about innovation waves, with Innovation Waves Associated With Invention and Discovery. Here is the second article of the series. As an example, let’s consider GPS, a tool for geographical positioning and that was initially created by the military. The annual rate of GPS-related innovation can be represented by GPS-related patents granted by the USPTO. As shown in the figure, the GPS-related innovation wave appears as an S-shaped curve with an acceleration peak in the late 1990s. The early phase following the invention of GPS was the lag time. The industry was contemplating GPS, a new push technology, with prudence. Eventually, its successful introduction into plane, ship, and finally automobile navigation

Read more

Innovation Waves Associated With Invention and Discovery

This article is the first of a new series of 5 articles about Innovation Waves. It introduces the topic with Innovation Waves Associated With Invention and Discovery. Looking at innovation from a historical perspective reveals that the long series of innovative products generated by the industrial world have come in a progression of waves, with each wave originating from an invention or a discovery. The following are a few examples of inventions and discoveries that have changed drastically the world in which we live today: Liquid-crystal display (LCD) technology (including electro-optics), first a scientific discovery then the basis for products such as flat-panel LCD displays and LCD projectors Signal compression, first as mathematical algorithms then the basis for products such as music

Read more

Innovation Cycle and Risk Management

In the previous articles of this series, we wrote about Internal Knowledge, Time Horizon, Frontier Sciences, Academic Knowledge, Learning and Experience, and Parallel Worlds.  Here we deal with Risk Management. Innovation as a risky venture Innovation is the process of pushing a new concept toward its implementation in the society with the objective of creating value. At least in the early phase of its process, innovation is always an endeavor with a low probability of success. Innovation is risky, because it explores paths that have not yet been visited or mapped and in which the presence and location of treacherous obstacles have not been recorded. Uncertainty is the key, unavoidable aspect of innovation. The economics of innovation can only be

Read more