I admire Clover’s mission of addressing climate change by making vegetarian food tasty for all consumers. Despite eating there pretty regularly, I didn’t know they had this responsive, open development process. I see parallels to the Agile software development process here — the fast development of a prototype, limited launch, and rapid iteration toward improvement. It works for Clover. I always like seeing what new items they’ll have on the menu when I stop by, and now I see that their constant menu cycling is related to their open innovation approach. Thanks for the recommendation for the Alvin Toffler book — it looks like a good read. The “prosumer” idea seems like a handy concept to keep in mind for future reference.
I love the idea of crowdsourcing innovation for big public challenges and think NASA is making a smart strategic move in going there. In fact, I think crowdsourcing is especially valuable for organizations like NASA, whose mission captures the imagination of many thousands of space enthusiasts and amateur scientists in the US and abroad. Open innovation allows people to feel connected to NASA’s work and provides NASA with free inputs for its initiatives. It’s a model that more public organizations should consider adopting — and to take it one step further, open innovation through this kind of model would be a smart addition to the US’ strategy for digital government writ large.
I used to work at a medical center with a major in-house 3D printing service. In addition to making custom prosthetics and surgical implants, one innovative use of this technology was to enable so-called “practices swings” for medical procedures. For example, surgeons preparing for a major cranio-facial procedure would 3D print the patient’s skull from scans, add major arteries and nerves, and test the procedure in an operating room the day before the patient arrived for surgery. This “practice swing” process was still in the early stages of adoption while I was there but the program generated a huge amount of interest from the medical staff, and anecdotes from surgeons indicated that the “practice swing” did improve outcomes. More here: http://simpeds.org/simpeds3d-print/
I have been watching the bioprinting space for several years and have had an eye on Organovo specifically for much of that time. It seems like one of the most exciting new technologies that we will are likely reach in our lifetimes — but progress has been frustratingly slow so far. It’s clear that the regulatory issues around 3D printed organs are a major challenge to overcome. While the FDA is right to be cautious and conservative, there tens of thousands of people die each year while waiting for organ transplants in an environment of extreme scarcity. Surely there must be patients who would volunteer to take on the extra risk of testing a potentially life-saving technology like bioprinted tissue. I hope the FDA responds to that grim reality and wish Organovo lots of luck in getting us over the hill.
They say that all industries are becoming technology industries, and it makes sense that cement manufacturing would be no exception to this trend. Automation generally enables companies to employ fewer workers — or at least to shift human labor to different kinds of roles. Here we see a shift toward employing data scientists to monitor production algorithms. Automation is a well established, unavoidable trend, but its effects can be painful for highly experienced workers whose expertise is suddenly no longer valued. I would be interested to know whether this labor shift is apparent in Cementos Molin’s operations and how its employees feel are reacting to this production automation.
IoT seems like such a promising new horizon but has been slow on the uptake. I think the current challenge in IoT is that much of the technology’s potential exists in untapped opportunities for optimization*between* companies in an ecosystem, rather than the low-hanging fruit of optimization within a single company’s operations. It will take a shift in business mindset to apply IoT solutions to larger ecosystem problems. If GE does choose to stick with Predix, they would do well to guide their clients toward broader applications of IoT to expand their market.