Friday, May 21, 2010

Canon: Approach to Innovation

This is in contrast to Samsung in my previous posting, from the Financial Times regarding Canon:

"Technology has become too complex for Canon to develop everything in-house and it is expected to make more acquisitions... the company’s chief financial officer said in an interview with the Financial Times.

“We can no longer cover everything with our own technology so we need alliances and tie-ups,” said Toshizo Tanaka.

His comments highlight how the traditional model for Japanese electronics companies of relying solely on internal research and development has broken down.

Canon is likely to make acquisitions rather than license technology, however, in order to differentiate its products.

“If [technology] is not closed then others can make similar devices,” Mr Tanaka said."

This is still a traditional model.  Opportunities remain in the areas of customer/consumer driven innovation, driving supplier/partners to invest in R&D and/or introduce new invention into existing products, academic research tie-ups, etc.

Samsung: Investment on R&D

From the Financial Times:

"Samsung Electronics yesterday unveiled a Won26,000bn ($23bn) investment plan, its biggest to date, as the world’s largest technology company by sales looks to cement its leadership in semiconductors and flat panel displays.

The total investment for this year, which includes Won8,000bn (~$7bn) for research and development, ...

Samsung’s spending this year will be bigger than the combined investments of Intel, IBM and Sony, according to Bloomberg data."

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Development Sector

Having been engaged in the development sector for the past two years, I have discovered the difficulty the sector and people working in it face... i.e. their inability to move at speed, though they are tremendously dedicated and do not lack initiative.  In the Financial Times report on the sector:

" multilateral institutions and government development agencies work more closely with business, the non-profit sector faces the challenge of moving at the same fast pace as its private-sector partners."

"“Businesses take decisions faster than UN agencies,” says Ms Roman [director of communications, private partnerships and public policy at the UN World Food Programme]. “Right now, we’re partnering with Kraft and Unilever in Bangladesh. They’re eager to move tomorrow, and I’m eager too, but the system on our side doesn’t move that quickly.”"

Yet, public and private partnerships are enabling solutions to reach places where the needs are extreme, from medicine to shelter, clean water to education, self sufficiency to economic development.

Desertec: Solar and Wind Energy

A project to generate energy for Europe from North Africa is being initiated by Desertec, see here.  Financial Times writes:

"... the most ambitious solar project is in north Africa. The Desertec Industrial Initiative is a plan to build a vast network of solar power plants and wind farms, covering the desert and stretching for hundreds of miles, and connected to an advanced electricity grid that will carry power generated round or under the Mediterranean sea to feed Europe’s appetite for energy.

Desertec – backed by a coalition of more than 10 big name companies, including Munich Re, the German insurer, Deutsche Bank, utilities RWE and Eon and Siemens – is likely to cost about $400bn (€302bn, £262bn). If successful, the project could supply as much as 15 per cent of Europe’s electricity needs by 2050.

What I found interesting is Desertec's request for donations for the project via the web, see here.  Desertec is empowering the individual to act through a validated message of need, yet the value needs to be made clear for the "call to action" to be advocated.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Naomi Klein on NPR

In the "On Point" program on NPR Tom Ashbrook talks to Naomi Klein, listen here.  Watch Naomi on Comedy Central here.

Shoppers Reality at the Shelf

Having been the Architecture Leader at Procter & Gamble on the shopper and consumer virtualization platforms, I am thrilled to see that the statistics still hold true when you and I stand in front of the shelf to make the buy or not to buy decision.  My work was covered in AG Lafley's book "Game Changer" blogged here by friend and colleague Franz Dill.  Franz was instrumental in setting up the P&G Innovation Centers, now enabling P&G to be the leader in shopper and consumer insights to impact product development at the concept stage:

"In the Bases research, the biggest driver of new-product awareness in store was simply seeing the product on the shelf -- accounting for product awareness in 71% of cases where people cited the store. All the other tools marketers and retailers use to drive in-store awareness -- including off-shelf displays, retailer circulars, product demos, in-store media and samples, accounted for awareness in only 2% to 18% of those cases. In-store media and product demos both scored in the low single digits. That helps drive home the importance of packaging and signage, Mr. Twitty said."

States the article "This Upfront, P&G May Want to Boost Spend on Piggly Wiggly" here

Though AdAge's graph here from Nielsen showcases the impact of shopper based design, shopper driven marketing communication, shopper based package design, etc. see below a video from the Economist on the impact of TV on the shopper and the consumer.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Introspection on "Pain of Paying" by Dr. Dan Ariely

Dr. Dan Ariely provides introspection on daily consumer products like razors (specifically Gillette).  And of course, if this interests you then Dan's book "Predictably Irrational" provides deep insights on consumer behavior and associated economics.

Frugal and Bandit Innovation

I have believed that one of the key ways disruptions in products and services get developed is when the environment creates pressures and the creative thinkers deliver game changing and apropos to the need innovation.  I have been argued against that places like Silicon Valley are not being pushed yet continue to lead... and always an interesting debate ensues!

Here is an excellent video on how the developing and frontier markets are innovating on top of what is considered breakthrough for the developed countries.  I like having the Economist on my side in this debate.

World Perspective / Photo - 7 [Bull vs. Bear]

Excerpt from a letter in Financial Times:

"[Mehmet Aksoy's] monolithic stone sculpture is before the Istanbul stock exchange represents more closely the reality of the market.  The brawny bull is arrested on the cantilevered upward slope by the snarling maw of an angry bear.

The bull's stance is one of cautious respect, the bear's on the other hand forms a volatile cloud with a clawed paw carved as a concave negative shape at the apex of the bull's upward path."

World Perspective / Photo - 6 [Saudi Arabia]

From various news sources:

"Saudi newspapers ran front page pictures on Friday of King Abdullah and Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz in a crowd of women with their faces bared, adding fuel to the growing fight over mixing in the kingdom."

The picture is several weeks old though.

King Abdullah continues to lead with changes across all aspects of Saudi life, an example is:

"[King Abdullah] opened a new science university named after himself that permits the international body of students and faculty to freely mix together."