Breakthrough Hybrid Car Technology

Saw this photo on Facebook.


Thought this was just too excellent. 


Yes, a new hybrid car.


– The chassis goes one way.


– The passenger compartment goes the other way. 


Was the engineer on hallucinogenics? 


Or perhaps, this is some super secret new technology for easy parallel parking. 


Think about it, if the car is driverless than what difference does it make anyway? 😉


(Source Photo: Facebook)

Change Everybody Loves To Hate

I thought this saying from a colleague was really astute.

“Everybody hates the status quo

but nobody wants to change.”


How’s that for a conundrum. 


The question is are we more unhappy with the dysfunctional way things are or are we more afraid to make the necessary changes in our life?


I think that when the pain and dysfunction of the status quo are greater than the fear and inconvenience of changing, only then will people quite resisting and adapt to the new reality. 


Welcome to change!  😉


(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

Rise Oceans Rise

Rise Oceans Rise

The polar ice caps are melting–does anyone believe it or care?

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Antarctica alone holds 60% of the world’s fresh water “locked into millions of cubic miles of polar ice.”

NASA glaciologists states: “Ice is going to retreat in this sector for decades and centuries to come and we can’t stop it.”

In other words, we may have “reached the point of no return.”

Sea levels are seen rising 10 to 12 feet–that’s almost 1.8 x Magic Johnson across all our oceans!

The New York Times says that just a four foot rise would inundate cities like New York, Boston, Miami, and New Orleans.

WTOP reports that the impact will not just be in low-lying cities but even Washington, DC along the Chesapeake Bay is at great risk.

And while over time barriers may be able to be built up around DC to protect it, other areas like New York City is “almost unenclosable.”

Global warming has is changing our earth’s ecosystems, and like the National Deficit, we can try to prove it false, ignore it, or hope for a technological breakthrough or miracle to save us.

Yes, there are lot’s of doom and gloom scenarios, and it’s hard to know when to take catastrophe seriously and when it is Chicken Little.

While I wouldn’t go looking for high ground just yet, maybe that Miami oceanfront–as much as I love it–may not be the best long-long term investment around. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Looking Forward, Backwards

Looking Forward, Backwards

Farhad Manjoo argues in today’s Wall Street Journal that “there’s plenty” of innovation going on, despite the grumblings that their isn’t.

His main argument is that “the smartphone and the tablet ‘are’ the next big things.”

Manjoo tells us to “grow up” and calls us “spoiled children,” because we are not satisfied with these and simple future enhancements of this.

He would have us accept that there won’t be “anything as groundbreaking in a generation.”

Well, looking back at past innovation and calling that as our current and future innovation is like looking back at our past successes and simply resting on our laurels as good enough.

Unfortunately, no business can rest on their past successes–they must constantly innovate to stay relevant in the marketplace and meet their growth targets for revenue, profit, market share, and customer satisfaction.

As they say in financial prospectuses, “past success is no guarantee of future success.”

Similarly, as individuals we do not just settle for past success, but we strive everyday to make a contribution, to learn, and to grow as long as we have the strength to try.

When we stop striving, we may as well be heading downhill in the cycle of life, because as we all know, “if you are not moving forward, then you are moving backwards.”

Life is not stagnant, and yesterdays innovations are not todays creative breakthroughs or tomorrows leaps forward.

The rate of innovation is no longer measured in generations in the 21st century–and for those who think it is, they would have us accept defeat in this highly global, competitive marketplace.

While we should not be greedy, why are we so ready to say good enough, instead of really critiquing ourselves (e.g. calling a dry spell, a dry spell) and continuing the tough journey into the future.

At least Manjoo cites incremental work in privacy, enterprise technologies such as cloud computing, and robotics as tech trends – so maybe there is still hope. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Go Curly!

This was a funny picture hanging around a local eatery in D.C–at election season.

Curly for President–sort of reminded me of when I was in grade school and had a head full of curly hair and some of the other kids (especially the females in the class) fondly called me “chief curly chicken”–yeah, it stuck for about a year or two. 

Anyway, maybe this is something both Democrats and Republicans can agree on: the three Stooges–Moe, Larry, and Curly–were pretty darn funny. 

With the big looming issues facing America today (exploding national deficits, high unemployment, endangered social programs, declining global competitiveness–now 7th, and more), we can certainly use a little humor to get past it, along with a good dose of strong leadership and breakthrough solutions. 

Whoever you vote for–keep smiling!  🙂

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Innovation Echtzing and Krechtzing

Make_a_difference

It used to be that either you were innovative or not.

Either you came up with out of the box thinking, new paradigms for doing things, cool new designs, and products and services using the latest and greatest technology–or you would eventually be dead in the marketplace and life.

Now as things seem to slow down a little on the innovators front–we’re echtzing and krechtzing (hemming and hawing) about what is innovation anyway?

The Wall Street Journal (5 October 2012) wrote about “The Innovator’s Enigma”–asking whether incremental innovation is real innovation.

For example, when P&G took the sleepy, drowsy part of the medication of NyQuil and made it into it’s own medicine called ZzzQuil–was that innovative or just “incremental, derivative.”

The article notes that big periods of explosive upheavals in innovation are often followed by “period of consolidation and then by valuable incremental innovation involving the same product.”

It’s almost like a lets face it–you can’t have the equivalent of the iPhone created every day–or can you?

When after the iPhone, people now ask for an iFighter (WSJ, 24 July 2012) and the real iRobot (like envisioned in the movie with Will Smith)–aren’t we talking about applying real breakthrough innovation to every facet of our lives?

With Apple coming forward with the integration model of innovation bringing together hardware and software –the bar has been raised on the expectation for innovation not just being functionally excellent, but design cool. Now, Fast Company states (October 2012), “good design is good business”

But even then innovation is questioned as to its real meaning and impact with Bloomberg BusinessWeek (2 August 2012) stating that “it’s easier to copy than to innovate” and “being inspired by a good product and seeking to make even better products is called competition.”

Here’s another from Harvard Business Review (April 2012) called “Celebrate Innovation, No Matter Where It Occurs” that calls out “adjacencies” as bona fide innovation too, where an adjacency is exploiting “related and nearby opportunities.” since inventions are often so large that “inventor’s can’t exploit them alone” and there are associated opportunities for other (think of new cool iPhone cases for the new cool iPhone).

One more thing I learned recently is that innovation isn’t just the great new product or service offering, but how you use it.

With Newsweek (17 September 2012), calling into question the iPhone’s “awkward invasion of the lavatory” with “not just phones, but tablets and e-readers and even our laptops” replacing the good ‘ol Reader’s Digest in the bathrooms around the world, then things have truly changed deep culturally and not just superficially technologically.

This message was brought home last year, when a friend told me how they dropped their iPhone in the toilet leading to a speedy drowning death for the smartphone, now not looking too smart anymore.

So innovation come in all shapes and sizes and can be mega big, incremental small, derivative, or even adjacent–the important thing is that we keep our thinking caps on and working towards better, faster, and cheaper all the time. 

Sometimes, I do look back and miss things or ways of doing them from the past, so innovation isn’t always–just by definition–a good thing, but what we really come up with and how we apply it perhaps can make all the difference. 

The perfect example for me is carving out some genuine space and quiet time to really think about life and innovate in what has become a 24/7 now always-on society that demands innovation but that often squashes it with incessant noise.

Turn down the noise, let innovation thrive afresh, and be sure you make a genuine difference, and whatever type it is that it is not just as they would say in Hebrew school more dreck (junk) or another narrishkeit (foolishness) in the making.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Head Over Heels For Technology

This is really a very cool video called iPad Head Girl.
The girl is covered with 4 iPads–each with an image of a different angle of a headshot (face, back, and sides) making it look almost like her real head.
You’re thinking–what is this: a robot, a person, an alien?–it’s really up to your imagination, but you’d better get a closer look.
I understand from Coolest-Gadgets that this is actually part of an advertising campaign by Thinkmodo for a racy iPad magazine called “Cosmo for Guys,” and No, I am not promoting this in any way!
However, the advertising with the walking head iPads and the images of the girl is definitely making heads turn, but for very different reasons and it has nothing to do with sex and everything to do with technology. 
My view is that we are fascinated by the “latest and greatest” use of technology–and are basically ready, on the lookout for the next great amazing breakthrough.
Technology while obviously amazing feats of science, engineering, and design–also borders on the magical for most of us as we watch and see what the new technology can do, even though we don’t really know how it does it.
Like the lady walking around with iPad head–we see it, but can’t really believe what we’re seeing.
The miracle of technology–keeps us all at the edge of our seats with hope, wonder, and awe for what magic is going to walk down the street next and leave us mouths agape.