Innovation: Finding The 3rd Alternative

There are two quotes on innovation that I came across recently that I liked and wanted to share:


The first by David Ben-Gurion:

If an expert says it can’t be done, get another expert. 


The second by Shimon Peres:

When you have two alternatives, the first thing you have to do is to look for the third that you didn’t think about, that doesn’t exist.

Both of these smart thinkers understood that solutions and innovation means breaking previous paradigms and thinking outside the box.

They got it absolutely right! 😉

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

That Decisive Qualitative Edge

So I am reading this book called “Israel’s Edge.”


It’s basically about their elite genius program, “Talpiot,” in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).  


Each year the program accepts only the top 50 out of 100,000 graduating high school students for a 9-year commitment. 


There are the mathematicians, physicists, and computer scientists that help give the IDF the cutting edge in military R&D and other innovations. 


These are the brain trust behind Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system and Trophy tank active protection system and many more both military and industrial advances. 


This program was born after the almost disastrous 1973 Yom Kippur War where Israel misjudged the intelligence and the advances in their enemies capability and almost lost the war. 


I like the philosophy of General Yitzhak Ben-Israel who understands the importance of challenging the status quo and looking differently at critical situations and avoiding confirmation bias:

My method is not to look for supporting evidence. I look for refuting evidence…you see one white swan, then a second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth. You still can’t conclude that all swans are white…nature builds us to be inductive, to make generalizations from past experience…this standard way of scientific thinking can be limiting and destructive.”

Instead we must be continuously curious, think outside the box, be creative, and innovate. 


Especially, where we don’t have a quantitative advantage like with Israel surrounded by many enemies, then we must rely on a very sharp qualitative edge. 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 

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)

Is Beer A Color?

So thought this was an interestingly funny flip chart. 


It’s titled “Colors”.


And it has the typical ones you’d expect: blue, red, green, yellow, orange, purple, black, white, grey, brown, and tan. 


But thrown into the mix is beer (and Summer)–maybe these go together! 


Perhaps, someone had a little too much beer when asked about colors.


On second thought, maybe beer is a color.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Actual From Abstract

A colleague’s daughter drew this. 


At first glance, I wasn’t sure what I was looking at. 


Do you see what it is?


At first, I was thinking something a little alien perhaps. 


But there it is right in front of you.


It’s the head, ears, nose, and tusks of an elephant. 


I really like the abstractness of this art. 


All from simple circles, and voila you have an elephant. 


Look carefully at what you think you see, and let your mind put the whole picture together. 


That’s how you come to the actual from the abstract! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Breaking The Paradigm

So a colleague has this sticker (with a do not image) on their computer that says:


“But we’ve always done it that way.”


They told me a funny story about the lady that made the ham with the head and tail ends always cut off.


One day, her daughter asked, “Why mom do you make the ham with the head and tail ends always cut off?”


The mother answers and says because “My mother always made it that way!”


So they went to her mother and ask the question and they get the same answer again.


Finally, they went to her great grandmother and ask, “Why do you always make the ham with the head and tail ends cut off?”


And the old lady takes a breath, pauses, and says, “Because, we didn’t have a pan big enough to fit the whole ham!”


Just thought this was a great lesson on critical thinking and also on “asking why.”


Change can be brought about by questioning underlying assumptions and historical ways of doing things and bringing an open mind and fresh light to it. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Space Force: Up Up And Away

Space Force as another full branch of the military is the right thing to do!


The things that get focused on, get accomplished. 


Space is the “final frontier.”


And as Gene Roddenberry realized with the creation of Star Trek in 1964, it is the future of Mankind’s very survival. 


It’s time to stop thinking small as in planet Earth, and start thinking big as there is a whole universe out there!


Russia and China get it–hence their development and testing of anti-satellite rockets and other “kill vehicles” in space as well as lasers and jamming equipment against our satellites, and of course, their plans to colonize the Moon and land men on Mars and beyond. 


Why have we in America only gotten it in Hollywood?


Yes, there have been a few notable exceptions such as President Reagan with his vision for the Star Wars’ Strategic Defense Initiative and President Trump with the bonafide stand up of a Space Force.


Some of the Pentagon brass, particularly the Air Force, may hem and haw about the politics of this thing…losing money and prestige for their branch of the military, but their power is not the concern, our power as a nation is!


I envision a day in the not too distant future when the Air Force doesn’t run Space Command, but rather Space Force runs the Air Force. 


We need to put politics aside and stop laughing at our own ignorance about the potential of space for our future survival and for conflict. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)