Archives For innovation

The Crucial Question

November 11, 2015

Why, what, how, whom, when, the so called “interrogative” represents a crowning evolutionary achievement. To ponder, toBlog image 3 wonder, to question and then seek to explain sets humans apart. Yet too often our assumptions fill in – when we believe we already know, fail to question, to confirm, and fail to dig deeper.

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New Gig?

September 3, 2015

As reward driven creatures, the invention of monetary systems may represent the single most transformative moment in history. Beyond food, shelter and family, perhaps nothing drives humans more. As individuals in societies moved beyond simply bartering with each other to employer/employee based relationships, a new type of compensation – one that could not be quantified in specific units had to be invented as well.

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Making Sense

August 3, 2015

We are visual creatures. To help us emphasize this we often use phrases like, “a picture is worth a thousand words” or “seeing is believing.” When we “look” inside ourselves using a functional MRI (fMRI), we can see just how neurologically intensive our visual acuity brain regions are. Even for most of those who are visually impaired, their other senses – hearing, touch and smell – fill the visual void with dynamic spatial maps of what surrounds them. With these neurologic landscapes, we codify our status and activate the memory heuristics from which we elect our next actions.

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In January of 1968, the expected holiday truce between North and South Vietnam was shattered when the North Vietnamese caught the U.S. and South Vietnamese allies off guard in the Tet Offensive, beginning what would prove to be the most expensive and deadliest year of the Vietnam War.

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Why do some organizations remain innovative long after the well has dried up for many of their peers? Motivation is critical to understand when creating and nurturing an innovation culture. To pinpoint and cultivate the forces that drive individuals or groups to do something extraordinary may be the only thing that separates a great idea from a transformative new solution.

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In the nascent “sharing economy,” ownership is highly fractional and consumption is collaborative. Individuals have caught on, giving rise to new ways of sharing bikes, cars, and even homes in exchange for value. Diverse healthcare corporations are beginning to understand the value proposition inherent in this model as well—offering a sneak peek into a vision of the future healthcare R&D model.

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Innovation rarely happens in a vacuum. Rather, it is intimately tied to a confluence of factors – some of which organically occur while others are purposefully initiated and nurtured. In recent decades, we’ve witnessed how so-called innovation “hot spots” (also often referred to as “clusters”) have given rise to critical, sometimes even unimaginable, advancements in medicine, technology, and other disciplines.

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In recent years, microbes have moved from public enemy number one to a critical ally in the fight against illness. After a century marked by a “shock-and-awe” relationship with the 100 trillion microbes that live in or on our bodies, a new crop of entrepreneurs believes that the next generation of therapies may come from identifying the friendly microbes among us, and harnessing their power for good.

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It’s remarkable how often, when asked to reflect on how to spur innovation, the most successful inventors wind up talking about architecture.

At its peak Bell Labs housed 1,200 Ph.D.s who worked in an ingeniously designed space created by modernist architect Eero Saarinen. As Jon Gertner’s book The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation points out, Bell Labs understood even back in the early 1940s that they would increase their odds of success by creating a space in which smart people naturally bumped into other smart people to have unplanned but potentially productive discussions.

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Biotech investment has rarely been hotter. After a decade of anemic public markets for startups, more than 70 life sciences companies have successfully gone public since the start of last year, raising nearly $2 billion in the process.

In analyzing how we got here, pundits inevitably offer the benefits of a strong overall stock market, spillover investing from huge profits made in technology or the positive impact of the Jobs Act for putting wind back into the sails of biotech investments.

But what if the answer is more primal? Or is something new and innovative contributing?

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