Look in New Directions to Create the Unexpected and Spark Innovation S14 Ep14

At the Innovation Boot Camp, I had a chance to talk with Kym McNicholas.  We’ve both been traveling.  Kym’s made stops in Europe and Asia to promote medical innovations.  I’ve driven 12,000 miles in four months in the Mobile Studio. On the road, we’ve found innovation in non-obvious locations.  Here’s a recap of what we’ve been tracking in the innovation arena.


A New Market of Employees

Kym notes, “Real innovation is happening in different parts of the country.”  I found this in Paducah, Kentucky. FIn Gourmet Foods is innovating on several levels.  This company has created a unique solution to an invasive species problem.  Their processing method renders Asian Carp a hot menu item in tony New York restaurants.  They also employ felons on parole. Through employment, they help these people readjust to independent living.  

On our diverging travels, one stop Kym and I had in common was South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, TX.  I hosted a talk on neurodiversity hiring.  Like FIn Gourmet Foods hiring approach, I encourage companies to discover a new market for employees.   Working with Hacking Autism I’m exploring ways to bridge the work gap for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder.  Companies interested in sparking innovation should consider a neurodiversity hiring program.  Many autistic adults are highly intelligent, capable people. They can offer a fresh and different perspective to a team.  By establishing this hiring program, companies will gain an edge. At CableLabs, the people in our program are having phenomenal impacts on our business.

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An Invitation to Create

At SXSW, Kym’s focus was on electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles (VTOLs).  Kym joined a discussion with partners Embraer and Uber.  There are challenges and potential for VTOLs in urban settings.  Embraer and Uber invited the innovation community to get involved.  The drive is to start testing by 2020 and market by 2024.  Through empowering the community to create with them, Uber and Embraer hope to achieve this goal.  Other companies may create in parallel. But Uber realizes the need for an ecosystem.

Tell the Story

One of the challenges in launching a “flying car” is navigating the regulatory system.  VTOL creators need to ensure federal, state and local regulations accommodate use in urban environments.  As with many innovations that face this issue, innovators need to convey the story. It’s not the pitch laden with tech speak.  It’s not something that sounds good but doesn’t hold water. The innovation story has to be genuine, compelling and convincing.  It has to reach the audience. The story should make them understand what you’re doing, see the value in it, and realize why it’s important.

Five Minutes to New Ideas

Magazine publishers are in a predicament. With free content available on the internet, magazine publishers must make their content worth paying for. One creative way to keep customers engaged with the product is to tap into the backlog of content. Those willing to experiment and try repurposing will discover new areas of growth in their business. Could you provide components separately or in unique combinations to serve new customers? Listen to Five Minutes to New Ideas to learn more.
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