Portfolio Management For Innovators

One of the hardest parts of managing innovation is picking the right projects and managing these at the same time correctly. In the literature about this subject the main discussions are about exploitation (using what you already have) vs. exploration (diving into new areas of business and hardcore innovation) and about stage-gate models for developing the right innovations.

Portfolio management is also an important subject in this, since this focusses on what projects are in your pipeline, and which one’s you are kicking out of it. This is usually done looking at the incremental/radical division and how far does is suit our strategy, but you can go much further.

In this new article by InnovationManagement.se the focus is on four different types of innovations to consider when doing portfolio management, including the two named above, but also focussing on business model innovation and new venture innovation, focussing on how the company should react when the entire market changes.

Really interesting stuff for any company to think about when setting up their innovation goals for the years to come. Especially since it forces you to think deeper about what you’re doing and where you’re going.

3 Steps From Idea To Innovation (According To An Incubator)

A week ago I presented my research to the people from KIC InnoEnergy; an incubator aimed specifically at sustainable energy innovations funded by the EU.

They helped me get further with my research by pointing out some things they believe are necessary for the succes of the product, but also we had a nice discussion about innovation in general.

Along the way of the discussion we came across their method of getting a person with an idea towards an innovation. They do this in three simple steps, which I kindly turned into this nice infographic which is now also decorating some walls in the office.

3stagesInnovation-01

Hurray For Adobe

Just a quick thing I found out last week. For the past few years I’ve been using the student edition of the Adobe suite of software for creating all kinds of designs related to my study.

Now, I’m moving forward to the next phase, where I’ll be using the software to create things I get paid for. And for a long time I thought I wasn’t allowed to use the Education version of Adobe Creative Cloud for commercial purposes, but as I was looking into buying another license for the commercial work I found in the Dutch FAQ of the student and teacher edition this sentence (which I kindly translated for you):

Can I use the Student and Teacher Edition-products commercially?

Yes, Student and Teacher Edition-products can be used commercially on your own computer. Resale is not allowed.

This means that I can happily use this software at a discounted price, while having all the options I need. And yes, I’m happy about that, and I think that this is very smart, since they create a kind of lock-in for you when using these products (they’re kind of awesome in their class, I think).

Anyway, for anybody in the Student field this is a very interesting option where you can earn back the costs of a year license by producing some commercial work. Yay us.

One thing: although I found this in the Dutch version at this moment, Adobe has the right to change their terms at any moment and they may differ per country. Check for yourself to see if this is (still) applicable in your case. I can not be held accountable for any issues following from this post. Keep thinking.

Home Battery Storage for Many More

This week Tesla has made an announcement that will really kickstart the battery storage at homes. The new Tesla Powerwall is a very well looking battery box that can be mounted to your wall and attached directly to your solar panels to store the power so you can use it when you need it.

Although they are not the first one to produce something like this, they aim at doing it a such an enormous scale (by opening a new factory which will instantly double the current world production of Li-Ion batteries), that it will have a big impact on energy storage.

The only issue with this is that it might lead to a lock-in of the inferior Lithium-Ion technology for batteries, whereas currently researchers are investigating many better options, with higher power densities at lower prices. The issue currently however is that these are by far not ready for the market, but it still means that research aimed at this should be funded in order to bring the world further (are you reading this European Commission?).

Still, for now I believe that this is a very good start for this, and that it will lead to a much bigger market for sustainable energy generation. So yay for Elon Musk and Tesla.

Molten Salt to Keep it Cool

Nowadays almost all big buildings use large, high energy consuming airconditioning units to keep their buildings at a reasonable temperature throughout the year. Especially in the summer these cost an enormous amount of energy.

This problem has lead to some very fine solutions lately to keep the temperature in buildings down, of which the melting and solidifying of salts is one of the coolest.

The two types of salts used in this test have melting points between 20-25 degrees Celsius, which means that whenever the temperature is below they will solidify, thereby sending out heat and when it’s above they will take up heat to be able to melt the salt.

The main problem right now is that it’s very hard to give a small spread to the salts. Currently the spread of about 3 degrees Kelvin is normal, but the hope is to bring it down to maximum one degree spread.

The good point already is that these salts are able to almost take away the entire cooling need for part of an ABN AMRO office, as the research by TNO has shown. All we can hope for now is that many more buildings will follow.

Sneak Preview

Next week I have to give a pitch about my research, and for that I have created two simple images to show the idea.

And especially over here a sneak preview of these two images.

KantoorACDC graphic vs2-01 KantoorACDC graphic vs2-02

How to Sound Fancy as Photographer

One thing photographers are very good at is making it sound like they’re doing something amazing.

We’re not just shooting landscapes, no we”re shooting Fine-art. And we’re not just taking some holiday shots, no, we’re doing Travel Photography.

If you want to be able to sound just as awesome as photographer, take a look at this website, where one photographer has written down very well (and funny) what photographers actually mean when they say what they do.

Something I Was Told and I Am Secretly Very Proud Of

Yesterday I had a meeting about an innovation project, and it’s not so much that I’m proud of that, but the person I had the meeting with characterized me only from my resumé as the following:

” Nerdy combined with Creativity”

And secretly I am very proud of being called that, because that is exactly what I usually do: I combine the more hard core technical (or nerdy, as you like), with more soft of which creativity is the most important.

And I’m proud that I’ve been able to bring that across in a simple way, and I hope that more people will see that. (And else I’ll just tell them.)

Electricity Safety Issues (but in a good way)

One of the many things that Grontmij does is measuring a lot of things at the electricity grid within a building. Not only the amount of electricity used and voltage of the system can be measured, but also the more hardcore stuff like harmonics .

The issue with measuring things, however, is that these measuring instruments need to be connected to live wires to be able to measure. And finding a live wire to which you can connect your equipment is quite a challenge, as we found out yesterday.

To see how one of these measurement works we went on a quest to find a place where we could connect this apparatus to the grid. We visited three different places where we thought could do this, but all were protected in such a manner that it was impossible to connect to the system without shutting it down.

Is this a good or a bad thing then? I, and with me my colleagues, think that this is the best. Live wires are dangerous, and so one shouldn’t just be able to touch them by accident when you’re near them.

Only trained people with the right skills should be able to handle this, but still it is the best option to just take off the electricity while working on it. This might be more hassle then years back, but still the costs of an injury or even a fatality are never worth the risk for doing this.

So please, don’t try to do anything with live electricity unless you know extremely well what you’re doing.

Do you have any other nice examples of safety innovations requiring a change of workflow? Share them below!

Fotografie en Innovatie – Net even anders