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Drawing It Off

I’m in the middle of one of my final exam weeks, which means that most of my time is taken up by studying. Sometimes, however, I need to take a break and do something completely different. Either physical or mental.

And so it happens that I did another few quick tutorials from this list for Illustrator, which gave me these cool results (and some nice new knowledge).

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The most easy way to test if everybody understood your lecture, is by having a small quiz at the end of it. As simple as it sounds, there are not many options to gather the answers of students in a simple and fast way.

However, almost everyone has a WiFi-enabled device with them these days, being it a laptop, iPad or smartphone, which means that you can easily use these to gather the answers.

And that is exactly what Kahoot.it does.

This site allows you to simply make quizzes, where the answers can be given via the internet. No registration of the participants is required, all a participant has to fill in is a pin and choose a username. After that you can run the quiz.

Between the questions you will see the scores of each player, sparking some extra competition between the players.

On their site GetKahoot.com you can find all the details and try it out for yourself.

Last week we used it during one of the lectures and I can say that it works really well, everybody was in the game in no-time and it was a real fun way to test us. Highly recommended (at least from the user side).

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Big Problems Presented Easy

Whenever you encounter a problem, the hardest part is really getting to the core of the problem. Most of the times you’ll get there, and sometimes not.

But when you get there, you can take the next step, and try to make something that conveys the message of your problem in a simple way.

Like I did with this info graphic. The youth camps which we organize did not go through this year, simply because we didn’t have enough participants. No is this a quite simple problem, but to get it across better ahead of a brainstorm session, I designed this simple info graphic.

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Now of course this is something simple, but it can also be used to try to get much more difficult things explained in an easy way. All that you need before that is a thorough understanding of your problem, and a nice idea how to present it.

I believe that this making hard things understandable for people is one of my powers. Something for which you’ll need an expert, which can really delve into the problem and bring it back to its most simple form, without loosing important details.

That’s what I’m trying to do, and bring to the world (or your company).

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Gamification at the University

I know I’m not always the most positive about my study, but there are many good things about it. For example, the growing use of serious games within the courses.

Using games within courses helps bridging the gap between the literature and the rest of the world, which is something which was sometimes forgotten in the past.

Luckily, this is rapidly changing, and so I had the pleasure to take part in two games during the past few weeks.

First of all, I followed the course on Open Innovation, which was a combination of lectures in which the literature was covered, together with a serious game in which the literature of the week was used to make decisions for a virtual robotics company.

The overall goal of the game was to run the most successful company, by taking decisions on exploration and exploitation, collaborating with other teams and all kinds of other variables linked to running a company using open innovation.

Although our team didn’t win the game, we did learn a lot (as I did win the quiz in which we were tested about how much we learned), showing that it is very useful to make use of these serious games.

Next to that, I also follow the course on Selling New Products. For this course also a serious game is part of the program.

This game was about selling a Baggage Handling System to a Vietnamese Airport, were the entire game was hosted by VanDerLande.

Also during this game the team learned a lot, and mainly that it’s not so much about the facts, but more about the soft values of the customer, and convincing them that you are the best partner for them.

These two examples show that also enough good stuff happens at the Innovation Management master at the TU/e, and that the university is slowly moving out of it’s ivory tower. Slowly, but at least there’s some form of movement, and I hope that it will continue conquering the university.

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Innovation Management is a very interesting field of study. However, not everybody can go to the university to follow (part of) the program.

Luckily for those people, the internet has a very good alternative. InnovationManagement.se offers an enormous library of innovation management articles, as well as online courses to teach you in several subjects that are part of the innovation management world.

On the site you can find an enormous amount of information, which can help anyone interested in using innovation in their organization. Want to see it yourself? Hop over to InnovationManagement.se.

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When Gadgets Meet Beer

As the start of your weekends, I have something which attracts almost all men (and also some women, though probably less than men).

In Swansea, England, the first iPub has opened. In this pub you order your beers using an iPad. And if it’s just a regular pint, you can even tap it yourself.

All other food and drinks can also be ordered via the tablet and will be brought to your table within a few minutes.

This ordering at the table takes away one of the biggest troubles of being in a crowded bar, namely the ordering of your drinks at a bar while screaming at the bartender. Now, you can just do-it-yourself, reducing the costs of staff, and therefore also your beer.

So, anybody up for a field trip to see it ourselves?

Cover photo: Robert S. Donovan under CC

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Strategy and Technology are two of the main focal points of the master Innovation Management in Eindhoven. Also, they are the two building blocks of Ben Thompsons’ blog “Stratechery.com

On his blog, he writes about  technology and strategy, linking them together. He looks at the tech news through these glasses, and reflects on the strategy of for example Apple and what he expects that will come.

Anybody whose interested in these topics should take a look at it. Sometimes he has somewhat more extreme opinions, but overall he can give you some nice inspiration.

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Maintenance & Delays

This weekend was the weekend for doing maintenance on things, both ICT and infrastructure. And somehow, a lot suffered from big delays.

First of all, the TU Eindhovens student portal was updated this past saturday. It has been announced for over two weeks, and they did take the website down at around 9:00, as planned. However, instead of having it back up and running at 12:00 after an update, it took them till at least 16:30 to get it back to work, which just meant that you could’t do much (or anything at all) this saturday when you needed the portal.

This is especially a shame since we’re two weeks away from the exam period. This means that it’s deadline time these weeks, and that acces to the portal is really needed.

As I see it, this could have been made much more client (student) friendly, by changing a few things. First of all, the software should be working without any bugs on a test-server, and it should be able to migrate to the working server with a few clicks (and three hours or so).

I hope they did this right, but when they didn’t, or the system fails on you, it’s better to choose a less annoying time slot.

Instead of working just before the exam week, choose the weekend after these weeks. Much less people will need to access the portal, making it much less worse if it takes somewhat longer. And move the migration to the night. Start friday night at 22:00 and use the night to fix any issues.

In this way your clients won’t have the troubles if it goes wrong, making them more happy.

Lucky for them it can also get worse. A totally different project this weekend took place at the tracks between Amsterdam and Almere. They had to take out part of the tracks to prepare it for a new bridge.

Unfortunately, they managed to not have the right dimensions for some parts, meaning a delay of the works of over a day on one of the busiest train routes in the Netherlands. Right now they hope that tomorrow (tuesday) the trains will run as normal, but they only know for sure when they really do.

The only plus side for this project is that they timed it in the holiday period. There are slightly less travellers this week in this area because the schools have a autumn break.

However, as these two examples show, it is extremely important that you test and check that your project is working as it should, before implementing it. And when you come to the point of implementing, do it with the right timing. Otherwise you have a lot of disappointed customers, with all problems attached to that.

Header Image: PhilAndPam via Flickr under CC

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2.0 Consultancy

The end of the current way of working of large consultancy firms has already been predicted last year, in the HBR article: “Consulting on the Cusp of Disruption“.

On the other hand, this means that there are plenty of opportunities for new consultancy firms to do it different. Like Transparency Lab, a relatively young Dutch consultancy firm, doing consultancy 2.0.

This firm has brought the entire process online, and uses not just a few employees of a firm for its research, but the entire population ills in the questionnaires. And by doing this online, everything can be done much faster, at much lower costs compared to the traditional firms.

Another advantage of using the entire population is that it’s very simple to serve every single employee with a personal advice on what they can improve, and who they can use for that within the firm.

What this shows is that it is always possible to do things radically different, but as almost always, it has to come out of a small firm, instead of the big ones.

This offers opportunities for the big ones, but ceasing them will be hard, unless a firm really has a well defined policy on spinning in start-ups. This is not the most simple, but it can be done. As long as they keep their eyes open and cease the opportunity when it comes by.

And an (open) innovation manager might really help with this, so consider hiring one when you want something like this.

Fotografie en Innovatie – Net even anders