What are YOU looking at?

When I was a young professional decades ago, I learned a lot about product development, marketing and general business from a brilliant consultant and engineer named Peter Marks One of the things he used to always tell people that sticks with me today is that human beings get 90% of their information visually, or as he would say “through the eyes.”

This is one of the reasons why he maintained that design was so important to a product, the power of visual appeal and also it’s role in ergonomics, such as color coding.  Today, I am coming at this from a different angle and wonder about all the different technologies and techniques that will be employed as our world continues to evolve and proliferate new ways to give us visual input.

From TVs to smart phones to tablets, join me as I ponder the potential form factors of tomorrow’s computing devices in my latest column in Time Compression magazine: Considering the Next Screen


A Quantum Leap of Faith

Is Quantum Physics a religion?  There are many similarities.  Quantum physics tries to explain the nature of the universe, the ultimate answer to the question of where do we come from and how does it all work?  Both are filled with deep mystery and require tremendous faith to reconcile its concepts with our everyday real lives.  Many theologians believe that the ultimate answer to how quantum mechanics works is God, and some scientists don’t necessarily dispute that idea.  It is often hard to conceive that quantum physics is a generally accepted field of science and not a fringe field like paranormal phenomena and ufology.

Someday in the future, I believe we will get much closer to cracking the code of the universe, and although there will likely be dimensions that always stay out of our view, things like quantum computers and possibly time or dimensional travel will answer many of today’s questions while exposing innumerable additional mysteries.

Until then, it is fun to ponder, just what is under the universe’s hood, and how does the reality on our earthly three dimensions resemble the microscopic world, and how our individual selves mimic the nature of quantum particles.  Check out my latest column in Time Compression, “Quantum Physics Meets Product Development.”

Is there a shortcut on the road to nowhere?

In the 1980s the business drumbeat sung to the tune of “better, faster, cheaper.”  In the 1990s, the Internet augmented this cadence to “free, perfect and now.”  Who knows, what tomorrow will bring, maybe it’ll be “superior value, available everywhere, just when you need it.”.

What I do know is that in order to get there, we’ll all be looking for the same thing, a shortcut.  Take a moment out of your busy day and click this shortcut to my latest column in Time Compression magazine, there, I saved you a bunch of mouse clicks.

A cubists view of business improvement…

“Innovation” is a nebulous term that business pundits bandy about with reckless abandon.  Perhaps at one time it held a narrower and truer meaning, but years of human handling have converted it to almost a non-word through years of misapplication, like a child’s use of the word “fairness.”  Many people treat innovation as if there was an objective innovation detector that lights up and audibly whines when in its presence, rather than the amorphous and highly contextualized substance it more accurately represents.

At a conference I once asked Dr. Eli Goldratt, the infamous Israeli manufacturing guru, about the role of his body of knowledge, the Theory of Constraints, in the area of innovation.  “There is none,” he told those of us at his lunch table.  “Ideas are plentiful, it is the ability to act on them and execute that is rare.”

People have ideas all the time, but often have no clue on how to judge an idea’s practicality.  In my latest column for Time Compression magazine, I explain what I once learned from one of my early role model’s, the “MBA in a box” concept.

To read more about using this technique as a quick and dirty idea filter….click here.

My Android Phone is taking me Back to the Future

Marty McFly and Doc Brown just recently celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the hit movie, Back to the Future. To mark this occasion, I recently focused my column in Time Compression magazine on how my new Android Smart Phone has given me a glimpse into the near future of product development, symbolizing a few trends I’ve noticed that could be of critical importance to anyone making stuff for customers.

Why is touching good? Why do I call smart phones “partial products”? And how do they enable humans to mimic subatomic particles? Just click the link below to find out.

Read: My New Phone & Product Development

Measuring up…

Good metrics are the ultimate business tease, offering tremendous promise, making it sound easy, and then falling apart at the last moment. I think that humans become seduced by the logic and stability of math’s reputation, forgetting the fact that numbers, like humans, can also be irrational, chaotic, misleading and untrustworthy. If left to our own mental devices, human managers kvetch over most decisions, especially those with critical financial impact, like when to accelerate which engineer’s work, which set of customers to design features for, and how much to spend to ensure product quality. If you offer these managers a measurement that promises to provide the objective red or green light, you can probably get their attention pretty easily. Unfortunately, plug and play metrics are too often like pyrite, shiny but worthless. Continue reading

How is Open Innovation like throwing spaghetti on the wall?

Some people say “Open Innovation” isn’t all that innovative. Of course they’re right, trends in business are rarely new, they are far more likely to be retreads, even if it’s just a new sum of old parts. Someone was practicing pieces of Lean Manufacturing before Taichi Ohno and Shigeo Shingo, just like someone was doing mass production before Henry Ford. But the pages of history can’t fit everyone, so many become forgotten. Did you know that two people (possibly more) invented calculus, but it’s Sir Isaac that gets the blame. Do you even know who Gottfried Leibniz is? Of course you don’t.

Now to the question titling this blog entry. Do you want to know the answer? Well, then you’ll just have to read my latest column in Time Compression Magazine. If you are so inclined, click here.