Thursday, February 24, 2005 - 17 Feb 2005 For those of you who have been following the latest innovation discussion on the Corporate Innovation group site (and you should really check it out if you've missed it so far!) - here's yet another article that suggests China's growing potential in the global innovation arms race.

Senior Chinese ministers are talking about the building of a national innovation mechanism to spur more scientific and technological breakthroughs. Very much unlike the current US government's attitude, the Chinese are instead considering adopting new incentives to help nurse innovative ideas and human forces for scientific innovation.

What's most impressed me is the stress on not borrowing/buying the technologies needed from the developed countries - thus ensuring they have the intellectual capability to innovate beyond the current technologies... the debate continues..
Guardian Unlimited | Online | Where do you wear your thinking cap? - Jan 27 2005 The Guardian's Jamile Milne reports on new research that shows that 81% of people have their best ideas outside of the office - usually while in bed or in the car. The survey looked predominantly at men and woem n working in so called "progressive" areas such as IT and biotech.

Here are some of the highlights:

Where did you have your last implemented good idea?
- 25% whilst socialising
- 18% in bed
- 6% in the bathroom/restroom/lavatory

- 65% of people felt creative at their desks
- 80% thought meetings helped creativity
- Off site meetings were seen to be more creative by a majority, although fewer saw the need for outside influences or triggers for more creative ideas.

Interesting, if not amusing, results - the rest of the article looks at what to do with those ideas - although it's flawed by the typical British Government viewpoint that Innovation and Invention are one and the same - and as such, starts talking about getting marketing plans and the like ready for your idea...oh well.
Fast Company | Fast Take: Imagination This short blurb on how Boeing's Connexion subsidiary uses their imagination to gather insights and ideas for scenario planning that takes into account potential competitive moves is quite interesting.

Not in the respect that it's new - but in the respect that it signifies a growing trend towards the increasing use of ideas, and idea management, for many more uses than just product development. Many client companies of Imaginatik's Idea Central have reported using the software and the event process to regularly gather competitive intelligence, conduct scenario planning, high level strategic planning, conduct post merger synchronisation, and many other strategic topics like these.

The reality is that people are finally starting to explore the true value of what can be achieved when you harness the brainpower of your company's employees, suppliers and customers. And you know what? They're finding that value to be unbelieveably high.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Innovation Ships Out - outsourcing - impact on innovation and supply chains as big U.S. computer makers move R&D overseas - CIO Magazine - Jan 15,2005 For all those of you who didn't believe the predictions in the Jan/Feb issue of Corporate Innovation on how Innovation Outsourcing and the continuing strength of the Asian super-economies - have a look at this article.

CIO's Christopher Koch looks at the increasing trend for IT companies to outsource not only the manufacturing and fullfillment parts of the industry (as is the norm nowadays) - but to outsource their whole R&D function too to save money.

But might this this whole push to save money at any cost backfire in the long run? Already, spending on R&D by U.S. companies declined more in 2002 (3.9 percent) than it has since the National Science Foundation began tracking the number in 1953. In addition, according to the senior economist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, most of the remaining spend has been on incremental improvements rather than original research.

What really shocks me is that for a country that built up its competitive advantage and economic wealth on a strong base of leading edge research during the industrial age - the US, and US companies, are being remarkably slow to react to what is really the outsourcing of one of the greatest sources of competitive advantage for them. Just how long will it take for the foreign companies who are providing the outsourced innovation services to turn the tables and take over more and more of the process until they are the powerhouses and not vice versa? Already some Far Eastern ex-allies have begun to retalliate - BenQ, a former supplier, has now begun selling its own cellphones and other equipment in the US under its own brand - offering good quality for a lot less price.

You've got to wander just what will be left of US companies - will they simply become outsourced sales and marketing organisations?...