Looking Back at 15 Years of Killer Innovations

We are celebrating the 16th season of The Killer Innovations Show. This week, Bob O’Donnell, Silicon Valley veteran, the President, Founder, and Chief Analyst at TECHnalysis Research, joins us to discuss the history of Killer Innovations and some memorable moments throughout the history of the show.

Killer Innovations

How It All Started

Let’s talk about the backstory of the podcast. In 2004 while at HP, I spoke with my mentor Bob Davis. I asked him how I could pay him back for all the help he had given me in my life. He laughed at me and told me just to pay it forward. Fast forward to March 2005, where I recorded a little test show while in a bathroom at the Marriot Resort in Arizona, and the show was born. For me, it was all about innovation. Everybody thinks of me as being a tech guy because of my time at HP, but my background also covers things like wireless and mobile. It’s all about giving people an inside look at things and helping them take ideas and develop them into knockout products and services. It doesn’t matter if you’re running a lawn care service or a large multi-national company providing auto insurance.

Our listeners cover a wide variety of sizes and industries. Innovation is a skill that anyone can learn, and anyone can become proficient at it. We are all born naturally creative, and we need to find those channels of creativity to create and share the ideas running around in our heads. It’s all about taking those ideas and not letting the fear of failure stop you from successfully solving those problems.

FIRE

Recently, we’ve been working with Brother, the U.S Marine Corps and the Veterans Administration, helping the government understand innovation from a unique perspective. We teach a framework with four elements around the word FIRE. F stands for focus, and it’s about identifying where the upside opportunity is. Once you define the problem space, then you can get into the I which is ideation. There are a lot of different ways to come up with ideas. Each person goes off on their own and comes up with ideas. Then they come back and share those ideas with their group. The third step is ranking. Very few organizations participate in rankings. There are different processes for ranking ideas, but as a leader, it is vital to get your team involved in it. The last letter is E for execution. Without execution, it’s a hobby. For the Marine Corps, we can do focus, ideation, and ranking in two to three hours. That includes problem statement definition, individual and team brainstorming, ranking, and an early phase of execution.

Memorable Shows

Over the many years of the show, there have been many memorable shows and moments. I’ve had Peter Guber, co-owner of the Golden State Warriors on the show, and got to be in one of his books. Bob Metcalfe, the founder of 3Com which co-invented ethernet, was also on the show. In 2005 before iTunes was a thing, I started podcasting. There was a company called Odeo that specialized in podcatching so people could get podcasts on their iPods and phones. They reached out to me, asking for feedback when they were first conceiving their product. Odeo ended up becoming the social media platform Twitter. The show we did with Dean Kamen (FIRST/ Inventor of the Segway) recently was also a very memorable one.

Fan Moments

It’s motivating for me when I get feedback from fans of the show. My very first fan engagement was in London, back in the early days of the show. A guy reached out to me, asking if he could meet me. We ended up going to a pizza restaurant across the street from the hotel I was staying in. I thought he would be the only one there, but it turns out the whole restaurant was filled with fans of the show. Not too long after that, HP acquired webOS, and I announced that I would be flying to New York. When I got to the hotel at around 2 am, there were almost a dozen people I didn’t know waiting in the lobby to talk to me.

The Innovators Network

The podcast has growth going from an individual podcast to the Innovators Network and onto the Bizz Talk Radio. The Innovators Network launched around two and a half years ago. We wanted to create a platform allowing up and coming podcasters to get distributed on platforms like iHeart and Spotify. It is a host distributor for innovation podcasts such as Tech.Pinions, Killer Innovations, 5 Minutes to New Ideas, and the Kym McNicholas on Innovation podcast focused on medical-tech innovation. A few years ago we got asked to syndicate the The Killer Innovations Show on BizTalk Radio and are now on ~63 radio stations in the United States.

Glad you could join us for the kick-off of season 16. Thanks for taking the time to listen to the show. Let’s connect; I am on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. If we do connect, drop me a note and let me know. The email address is feedback@philmckinney.com, or you can go to PhilMcKinney.com and drop me a note there. If you are looking for innovation support, go to TheInnovators.Network or want to be challenged to develop the next big idea, check out our Disruptive Ideation Workshops. Don’t forget to join our Innovators Community to enjoy more conversations around innovation.

To know more about the history of the show and what we’re up to in Season 16, listen to this week’s show: Looking Back at 15 Years of Killer Innovations.

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Playing Personality Poker with Your Innovation Team

This week’s guest is involved in the innovation game for as long as I’ve been around. Stephen Shapiro is a leading speaker and author on innovation, who previously lead a 20,000-person innovation practice at Accenture. We will discuss creativity, reframing questions, and how diverse personalities can come together to create a thriving innovation team.

Innovation Team

Innovation Team

Creativity & the Innovation Team

Stephen says that we all start with a high level of creativity. We are all creative in our ways, but some people approach creativity differently. As we discussed in the previous show, every innovation team needs a variety of different players with varying levels of creativity to achieve success. Stephen says collaborating with teams is vital to innovation success. Finding what teams are and what they are not will help them surround themselves with the key members that are needed. What is one lesson you learned from your time at Accenture? Stephen says he learned early on that everyone is creative and innovative; we just contribute in different ways.

Personality Poker

Stephen created a card game to help bring different people together to achieve a goal, known as Personality Poker. The game has four steps to the innovation process, and four different styles are linking back to the steps. While in Vegas playing Blackjack, I got the idea of 4 steps, 4 styles, 4 suits, went home and grabbed a deck of poker cards, and got writing. The goal is for people to play to their strong suit, and to make sure your innovation team is playing with a full deck. Not playing a strong suit is where a lot of organizations are falling flat.

We tend to hire people and who “fit the mold” and result in the loss of breadth of experience and thinking. How would you compare this to something like Gallup Strengthfinders? Stephen says it’s not about what you are good at, but what gives you energy. We can be good at something, but it might rob us of our energy. The game helps you see what you do well and what gives you energy while telling you who you are and aren’t. How have these impacted teams? Stephen says there are 52 cards as well as words that describe behavioral attributes.

People can gift these cards to others, which allows you to see how you are perceived and how people remember you. It acts as a great conversation starter within organizations and helps to bring the right people to the right team. On top of that, the game emphasizes having diverse perspectives and appreciating what each person brings to the table.

Reframing the Question

What drove you to write your new book, “Invisible Solutions”? Stephen says that his previous book emphasized asking better questions but did not explain how to do it. I spent the last ten years building a toolkit on reframing problems and decided it was time to put it into a book. “Invisible Solutions” are the solutions right in front of you, but you can’t see them because you are asking the wrong questions. What approach do you use to craft good questions that people understand? I created a systematic approach to reframe questions, not to generate new questions necessarily.

What is the “aha” moment for people in figuring out how to reframe questions? Stephen says they first come to have a deep appreciation of how important it is. They also start to understand how difficult it is. People usually don’t want to take the time to stop and think about what the right approach is. Thirdly, people can’t stay in the question stage, and they just want to start solving the next one. Most people don’t spend enough time trying to solve the problem, and they just rush the answer.

Advice for the Listeners

What is one story that will give the listener some advice to take away? Stephen says a great example would be of a group called Pumps & Pipes in Houston, Texas. This group is composed of cardiologists who get together with people from the oil and gas pipeline industry. As far apart as those groups sound, they both work with the movement of fluid through a tube. In one story, a cardiologist was trying to figure out how to break up clots in the body. An oil engineer was dealing with the same issue from sludge and had developed a filter. They collaborated and were able to create a filter that breaks up clots in the body.

If you want to keep up with what Stephen Shapiro is doing, check out his website here. Follow him on LinkedIn here.

About Our Guest: Stephen Shapiro

Stephen Shapiro is a full-time innovation speaker and advisor to clients around the world. Before becoming a full-time speaker, Stephen created and led a 20,000-person innovation practice at Accenture. His work has been featured in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, SUCCESS Magazine, CNBC, ABC News, TLC, and USA Network. He is the author of four books and continues to teach and lead innovation and problem solving everywhere he goes.

Let’s connect; I am on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. If we do connect, drop me a note and let me know. The email address is feedback@philmckinney.com, or you can go to PhilMcKinney.com and drop me a note there. If you are looking for innovation support, go to TheInnovators.Network or want to be challenged to develop the next big idea, check out our Disruptive Ideation Workshops. Don’t forget to join our Innovators Community to enjoy more conversations around innovation.

To learn more about Personality Poker and how to come together as a thriving innovation team, listen to this week’s show: Playing Personality Poker with Your Innovation Team.

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The Optimal Innovation Team Size Is

On this week’s show, we will be discussing the most optimal innovation team size that will generate the most creativity and innovative ideas. This topic is something that would have helped me much if I had studied and learned it early on in my career. I will also discuss eight types of people that every innovation team needs to be successful.

Optimal Innovation Team Size

Innovation Team Size Study

Does team size have an impact? Recently, I read a study done by Jeanne Brett and Dashum Wang from the Kellogg School of Management and Northwestern University titled “If You Want Creativity, Keep Your Team Small”. This study said that large teams solve problems, and small teams generate new problems to solve. As the teams grew from 1-50, the levels of disruptiveness decreased. The large teams delivered value by developing established ideas and used smaller companies to be disruptive.

The issues that impacted teams as they got larger were:

  • Relational Loss – the perception of team members that they are working with little support from other members
  • Social Loafing – the tendency of the individual group members to contribute less than they would contribute to working in a smaller group or alone.
  • Lack of Development Maturity – larger teams tend to look to leaders for direction and motivation. Smaller teams frequently progress to periods of intense productivity fueled by “trust-based” relationships, structures, etc. With five or six people on your innovation team, it is easier to move forward with a common vision for the problem you are trying to solve.

How do you address the innovation team size problem? Through utilizing Multi-Team Systems (MTS), which is the process of breaking down a large team into smaller teams with some form of structural network. Implementing this process will bring efficiency and a higher rate of success.

My Experience with Innovation Team Size

We will now discuss my experience with team sizes throughout my career. My career started at Deltak, where we developed computer and video-based training. This publishing operation required large teams. Later in my career, I joined Thumbscan, which had mid-sized teams of a couple of dozen people, and the lack of efficiency frustrated me. Through my frustration, I branched off to create a product called PCBoot, which ended up winning product of the year at Computer Dealers Exhibition (Comdex), the precursor to Consumer Electronics Show (CES). It took me by myself a long time to build that product to the point where the parent company ran out of money. Through these times, I realized not only how important a team is, but the size of the team as well.

Other Teams

Let’s talk about other teams outside of my direct experiences like Apple Macintosh in the 80s. They came out with the Apple 1, 2, and then the 3, which was not very successful because a large team developed it. Apple’s success came when Steve Jobs hand-picked his MacIntosh team and locked the doors to anyone outside of the team. He separated the team from the larger organization to reduce the risk of large team influence, and it paid off. Now let’s look at the Manhattan Project. It started with a small team and split up into smaller teams in different areas focused on various aspects of the project. Each team knew what they had to generate to contribute to the larger overall objective, and they were very successful. When teams are broken down and given a specific objective, they become efficient in obtaining their specific goal.

My Optimal Innovation Team

 I’d like to use a religious reference here. Jesus had twelve disciples, so why would I try to handle more than he could? Throughout my career, I’ve learned that my optimal innovation team size is in the 6-8-person range. If I have more than that, I tend to lose focus and feel less engaged. I would argue that nobody should have more than twelve people directly reporting to them. While the number is essential, the make-up of the team is also important. As a leader, it is your responsibility to bring together an innovation team with the right skillsets.

Here are seven people that I believe are core to any high-impact innovation team:

  • The Visionary – the person who is the heart and soul of the idea.
  • The Leader – the person who recruits and motivates the best possible team.
  • The Mother – the person who is sensitive to everyone and makes sure everyone is taken care of.
  • The Energizer – the person who will get it done, sometimes at a cost. They pump energy into the team
  • The Customer Advocate – the person who advocates for the customer. They are the voice of the customer on the project.
  • Radar O-Reilly – (from the movie and TV show Mash): The person who can find/secure anything you need by understanding the process in an organization.
  • The Designer – the designer is no longer a behind the scenes activity.

 Bonus:

  • Neurodiversity – get people who think differently than you on your innovation team. They can see what others don’t see uniquely.

With these key players on your innovation team, you are that much closer to creating that game-changing product or idea.

Let’s connect; I am on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. If we do connect, drop me a note and let me know. The email address is feedback@philmckinney.com, or you can go to PhilMcKinney.com and drop me a note there. If you are looking for innovation support, go to TheInnovators.Network or want to be challenged to develop the next big idea, check out our Disruptive Ideation Workshops. Don’t forget to join our Innovators Community to enjoy more conversations around innovation.

To learn more about optimal team sizes, listen to this week’s show: The Optimal Innovation Team Size Is.

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Innovating Technologies behind the Tech

Introduced to me through a mutual contact I worked with at HP, this week’s guest is the Senior Vice President of Product and Technology at Universal Electronics Inc. (UEI), Arsham Hatambeiki. We will discuss innovating technologies and what UEI is doing to make in-home technology experiences better for the consumer.

Innovating Technologies

UEI

What is UEI, and what is the company’s history? Arsham says he’d bet just about every listener of the show has a product of UEI. The company started with a basic concept of making life easier both for the consumer and the service provider. We came up with the idea of a “universal remote control” that could control different aspects of TVs and set-up boxes from the provider. How big is UEI today? We are about 3,700 employees distributed globally with offices in Scottsdale, AZ, the Bay Area, Orange County, and San Diego, California. Does UEI deliver finished products or just components added to a later finished product? Arsham says they do both. We offer finished products such as remote controls, security sensors, and gateways. We also have software that can integrate with smart TVs and smart speakers, as well as a software-only solution.

Path to UEI

What was the spark that led you on the path to UEI? Arsham says he would categorize it into two different things. Firstly, I wanted to help the market evolve by integrating innovative technology into smart home, speaker, and other innovative home products. Secondly, I saw the need to keep brands in control of their own experiences. UEI came together to enable direct home delivery for the consumer. We focused on protecting choice and bridging the gap between entertainment experiences and smart home experiences. Have you seen pushback from consumers with privacy concerns? Arsham says most concerns of privacy by consumers have been misguided. I do think clear business models from brands will be the only way to address that. Having a clear business model stated by the brand is the only way to address that.

Cross-Brand Innovation

What advice would you give to people innovating technologies across ecosystems? Arsham says to always start from the user in the application. In the world of smart homes, there is much more value in going deep than going wide. When integrating across ecosystems, you are often hoping that your business model doesn’t conflict with another’s, so beware of that. Users have proven that they like specific brands, they want to have a choice, and they like to build their own experiences. You need to go to the market with that in mind.

If you want to keep up with what Arsham Hatambeiki is doing with UEI, check out his website here. Follow him on LinkedIn here.

About Our Guest: Arsham Hatambeiki

Arsham Hatambeiki is the Senior Vice President of Product and Technology at Universal Electronics Inc. Arsham has a research background in areas of data communication networks and machine learning with a special passion for smart home applications of conversational AI.

Let’s connect; I am on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. If we do connect, drop me a note and let me know. The email address is feedback@philmckinney.com, or you can go to PhilMcKinney.com and drop me a note there. If you are looking for innovation support, go to TheInnovators.Network or want to be challenged to develop the next big idea, check out our Disruptive Ideation Workshops. Don’t forget to join our Innovators Community to enjoy more conversations around innovation.

To learn more about innovating technologies behind in-home technology experiences better, listen to this week’s show: Innovating Technologies behind the Tech.

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Global Perspective on Changing Innovation Landscape

Today’s guest is one who I met a few years ago at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Albert Zeeman is the Director of Marketing Services at GBO Innovations Makers and is an editor for the GadgetGear tech blog from the Netherlands. On today’s show, we will discuss his perspective on the changing innovation landscape.

Changing Innovation

Governments at CES

With all the changes with the companies at CES, what have you seen? Albert says he’s seen a lot of changes in his 16 years attending CES. I’ve seen different trends from Apple products such as the iPad to different flying cars and drones. Most notably, there have been several policymakers in attendance at the show recently. People from the EU, the U.S Department of Energy, and some state secretaries of European countries have attended. Countries are sending different people to CES to promote themselves. Why is this trend arising? Because government policies have been struggling to keep up with the rate of the changing innovation. AI has been growing and continues to be a hot topic these days. While the government can’t regulate everything, the question of whether there should be some ethical principles plugged into AI continues to resurface.

Change at CES

With all the new innovative products, have you noticed anything that isn’t at CES anymore? A lot of technology has moved in, and design products have moved out, an ever changing innovation cycle. Everything is becoming touch screen and interactive. Another thing that disappeared has been companies making mounts for TVs. There used to be thirty or forty of them, but now there are just three. Audio headphones were also huge, but now its wireless earbuds such as the Apple AirPods.

Startups at CES

At Eureka Park of CES, there are a ton of different companies. Albert says that Eureka Park is filled with diverse startups eagerly looking for investments. A lot of these companies think they have the best idea and are going to win investments with it. In reality, a good idea in and of itself does not win anything. Proper timing, execution, and focus are the keys to a successful startup.  Many startups make the mistake of having one target market. Albert says that startups should redefine their target market strategy to three or four target audiences.

Medical Products

Albert said that there had been a lot of new medical startups at CES. One product I saw measured stress level from something added to the wristband on a watch. Medical devices always have been interesting to me since I oversaw accessibility technologies creating products for those visually impaired or deaf while at HP. Albert says he’s seen a lot of hearing aid devices at CES this year.

If you want to keep up with what Albert Zeeman is doing, check out his LinkedIn here. Check out his book and marketing plan methods here.

About Our Guest: Albert Zeeman

Albert Zeeman is a certified marketing and IT specialist who has worked on various innovative products throughout his career. Albert is the author of the book “Marketingplan Today,” which details his proprietary method for developing a marketing plan in 1 hour. Currently, Albert is the Director of Marketing Services at GBO Innovations Makers and is an editor for the GadgetGear tech blog.

Let’s connect; I am on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. If we do connect, drop me a note and let me know. The email address is feedback@philmckinney.com, or you can go to PhilMcKinney.com and drop me a note there. If you are looking for innovation support, go to TheInnovators.Network or want to be challenged to develop the next big idea, check out our Disruptive Ideation Workshops. Don’t forget to join our Innovators Community to enjoy more conversations around innovation.

To learn more about the changing innovation landscape, listen to this week’s show: Global Perspective on Changing Innovation Landscape.

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Sports Tech Innovation Beyond The Field

This week’s guest is an old friend of mine with an entrepreneurial spirit and a passion for collegiate athletics. Craig Ridley, CEO, and Co-Founder of ROUTE Analytics Inc. joins us to discuss some game-changing innovation efforts in the world of college sports recruitment. On today’s show, we will discuss sports tech innovation and what ROUTE is doing to help young student-athletes make their dreams come true.

sports tech innovation

ROUTE

What is ROUTE? Craig says ROUTE Analytics is the convergence of three of his many passions. It’s sports, technology, and innovation through data science. We help high school athletes find their best path to play collegiate sports. We are grounded in the sport of football for three reasons: It is the most popular American sport, it is the most complex in terms of recruiting, and it is the most lucrative. There are many challenges for the parents, players, and coaches, in the recruiting process.

What is the process of getting an athlete noticed by colleges today? Craig says it’s more competitive than ever, and much of the lift falls on the athletes and the parents. That process begins earlier than ever, and the student-athletes and their families need to find the best opportunities to play. Collegiate athletic organizations such as the NCAA, NAIA, and NJCAA all have varying restrictions on college coaches and student-athletes contacting each other. That is where ROUTE comes into play.

What kickstarted ROUTE? My son played football as a wide receiver in high school and wanted to play Division 1 football, but his coach told him that he was a Div. II/Div. III player. Through the recruiting process, we realized it wasn’t that simple. Long story short, we took a sports tech innovation approach to the process and my son was able to get recruited to play at West Virginia University.

The Birth of ROUTE

Craig says that a dream without a plan is a wish. We put up a plan to help my son achieve his goal. When the coach told us that he was a D2/D3 player, we were looking at about 417 schools and a total of 672 schools with football programs in the NCAA. We went to a football camp at the University of Maryland and realized that with 350 kids at the camp, the coaches were unable to evaluate all the kid’s talents. Realistically, you can only do about five football camps a summer with the five weeks in between football seasons.

We came back from that camp and got smarter with our approach. I started to build a spreadsheet and went to athletic and academic websites, journaling information and narrowing down the schools to target. That is the approach that we took to get my son to his dream. After navigating that process, I had parents asking me for help, but I could only help one family at a time. With my sports tech innovation background, I wondered if there was a way to help navigate this process more efficiently. With regards to ROUTE, what has been the response from coaches and schools? Craig says the coaches love it because it makes their jobs easier. We provide the research and analytics and the predicted outcomes, simplifying the process.

Spreadsheet to Business

How did you go from a spreadsheet to launching a business? Craig says he started by looking for a great data scientist. I was blessed to find three of them and with some tremendous diverse experience. From there, we built a prototype and took it to the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA). The coaches at the show said they had never seen anything like it and encouraged us to build it. I put the initial capital in to go from prototype to beta, and now we’re post-beta and working on version three. 80% of our current customers are on IOS devices and we are working on getting it available on Android as well. We have athletes from every state in the country, Canada, as well as users from Europe using our product.

What is the next sport after football? Craig says basketball would be next, due to the number of kids playing it in the U.S. What does it take to bring on a new sport? Craig says they acquire a massive amount of data, so it is not a simple task. It’s not just on the athletes, but on the school’s athletic and academic data. We want to be the foremost data analytics and research company in the area we are in now. Focusing on sports tech innovation in one key area at a time is vital to maximization.

Advice for Startups

With ROUTE being your fifth startup, what is the advice you wish you had before all the startups? Aligning your interests with the folks you’re working is beneficial for everyone. Startups don’t die because they run out of money, but because the founders run out of energy. It comes down to what you’re willing to sacrifice to achieve your dream. How do you validate that your interests are aligned? Craig says it comes down to leadership. Listening is an underrated leadership skill. If you ask the right questions and you listen, you’ll hear who and what makes them tick. Assembling my team was the essential step in creating ROUTE.

If you want to keep up with ROUTE and download the ROUTE app, check out their website here. Follow Craig on LinkedIn here.

About Our Guest: Craig Ridley

Craig Ridley is the Co-founder and CEO of ROUTE Analytics Inc. ROUTE is a college football recruiting application that helps athletes make better decisions about where to play. Craig has a background in sports tech innovation through data science and was involved in five different startups.

Let’s connect; I am on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. If we do connect, drop me a note and let me know. The email address is feedback@philmckinney.com or you can go to PhilMcKinney.com and drop me a note there. If you are looking for innovation support go to TheInnovators.Network or want to be challenged to develop the next big idea, check out our Disruptive Ideation Workshops. Don’t forget to join our Innovators Community to enjoy more conversations around innovation.

To learn more about the latest in sports tech innovation and ROUTE, listen to this week’s show: Sports Tech Innovation Beyond The Field.

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Bringing the Game to Gaming Tech Innovation #CES2020

Today’s guest is one that I had the privilege of working alongside during my time at HP. Luca Di Fiore, Head of Products at Xtreme Performance Gear, joins us here at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2020, to discuss some game-changing innovation efforts. On this week’s show, we will discuss gaming tech innovation and the latest at Xtreme Performance Gear (XPG).

Gaming Tech Innovation

XPG

During my time at HP, I worked alongside Luca in the Innovation Program Office. Luca leads the effort for the carbon fiber laptop known as the Voodoo Envy. He went on to work for Razer, leading the VR efforts over there. Luca says after working on some award-winning products at Razer, he moved on to a new venture known as XPG by ADATA, a memory company. XPG had an exciting plan to push into gaming.

Given an innovation budget, Luca has the freedom to innovate. Why would a memory company want to get into gaming? Luca says it’s more evident than it looks. The connection is very simple. Memory is the one part that you can really push through the next level with gaming. XPG was able to assemble a team of people passionate about gaming tech innovation from different companies such as Razer, HyperX, Corsair, etc. How big is the group? Luca says he has three teams working in product management, marketing, and RND, totaling almost thirty people. In less than eleven months, we’ve managed to launch short of twenty products with a relatively low budget. Luca says most of his team is in Taipei, Taiwan, a hub of competitive gaming.

New Products

With XPG, you guys have made a ton of announcements recently. Can you give us the rundown? Luca says the big announcements here at CES are called “Invasion has Begun” and the fact that XPG entered into systems. There aren’t many gaming companies that can do accessories, peripherals, and systems at the same time, so this is big for us.

On top of that, we announced a new gaming laptop and a partnership with intel. We also partnered with a U.S startup called Pixeldisplay to create one of the most innovative gaming tech monitors in the market. We looked at how much time tech enthusiasts spend on their monitor and wanted to find a way to preserve their eyesight. We’ve implemented Pixeldisplay’s technology, which offers a better quality of the image that doesn’t filter out the blue color, but just the harmful blue LED properties. How big is this display? Luca says it’s the same size as any other display with the difference that it does not ship with a stand.

On the peripheral side, we have brought in our innovation spearhead called XPG Headshot. In developing this product, we asked the question of how to create an ultra-lightweight mouse. We used 3D printing to create a nicely structured mouse built into one place.

Product Customization

Typically, with mice today, there is a universal set of hand sizes, such as small, medium, and large. With 3D printing, do you customize the mice at XPG? We built this AI application to help in the customization of the mouse. An AI algorithm is used to take a picture of your hand and modify it based on the specific dimension. We let you choose your grip style and personalize the mouse specifically for your needs. Scalability isn’t a problem because our gaming tech innovation allows us to build anywhere in the world with these 3D printers.

What are some other announcements from XPG? We are sponsoring an ESL tournament in Bangkok, Thailand, and we brought a 24-karat gold keyboard, worth $10,000 as the prize. We also have a laptop collaboration with Intel. It is a gaming laptop with a 15″ display and is available to ship in Taiwan and Latin America, acting almost like a field trial for the future U.S market.

Idea to Product

Many listeners of the show have ideas. They’ve come up with but no expertise on how to turn them into a product. What advice would you give to an entrepreneur with a fresh idea? Luca says the first rule of thumb is to do great prototypes and make them as functional as possible. For example, my monitors had a prototype that could turn around in a month’s time frame. We have a lot of prototyping housing in Asia, specifically Taiwan, due to the cost-effectiveness of the area. The area also has a lot of companies that help with startups. Having a prototype will get you started in creating your gaming tech innovation products or any other product types.

About our Guest: Luca Di Fiore

Luca Di Fiore is the Head of Products at Xtreme Performance Gear (XPG) at ADATA. Luca is a bleeding-edge technologist with an international mindset and years of experience innovating and solving problems within the ICT industry, looking to make a difference in people’s lives through new human-machine paradigms. His previous experience includes Director of R&D at Razer, and Senior R&D Manager, CTO Office-Innovation Programs at Hewlett-Packard.

Let’s connect; I am on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. If we do connect, drop me a note and let me know. The email address is feedback@philmckinney.com or you can go to PhilMcKinney.com and drop me a note there. If you are looking for innovation support go to TheInnovators.Network or want to be challenged to develop the next big idea, check out our Disruptive Ideation Workshops. Don’t forget to join our Innovators Community to enjoy more conversations around innovation.

To learn more about gaming tech innovation and the latest at XPG, listen to this week’s show: Bringing the Game to Gaming Tech Innovation #CES2020.

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Where is IoT Going? #CES2020

Today’s guest is no stranger to the Killer Innovations Show,  John Osborne II, Chairman of the Board of the Zigbee Alliance and General – Manager of Leedarson North America, joins us at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). On this week’s show, we will discuss the growth of IoT devices and the trend of consolidation within IoT.

IoT

The Zigbee Alliance 

With the recent scale-up of the device connectivity arena, what’s Zigbee been up to? John says that Zigbee has formed together with Apple, Google, and Amazon, to drive the industry into a common direction. If we can accomplish what we are trying to do with the big four, it will drive the industry towards consolidation. Consumers can go to stores and buy the product they want rather than focusing on specific brands. We don’t want this to be just another standard. Instead, we want to take the top existing technologies and put them together. We’ve seen more and more large companies desiring consolidation.

LEEDARSON and IoT

I get a lot of inquiries from listeners on the show with ideas for IoT devices. With your experience, what advice would you give to someone with these ideas? The company I work for, LEEDARSON, specializes in that. Whether one comes with a design ready to be built, or they have an idea, we can walk them through it. We try to educate, as well as walk them through the design process, and occasionally do real-time iterations. We’re happy to help whether they’re a multi-billion-dollar company or someone new to the industry. Sometimes people come in with similar ideas for devices that we already have. We’ll modify their idea, make it compliant, package it, and ship it to them. Others come in with great ideas about different devices, and we’ll test them and possibly do a joint development. We don’t strictly manufacture. We are involved in many different things.

Advancing IoT Products

What unique applications of IoT have you seen? John says there are very few significant new ideas. It’s mostly the same products being improved over time. The most changes we’ve seen are on the AI side. We’re trying to get the end device smart enough to operate without the cloud. Recently, I’ve seen some cool new things in the lighting arena. Lighting has been recently tied to entertainment. If you’re playing Fortnite, you want the room around you to emulate what is happening. However, this can often be tricky.

In the case of many IoT devices, there is a cost lift to each of these modified products. What is that cost lift? John says people want more functionality at a lower price. For example, people are willing to pay about $5 premium on a smart bulb. That is a target we are all shooting for. Today, it is at around $10 premium. What are the other barriers holding people from buying IoT devices? Most people won’t just throw away their already purchased light bulbs. LED bulbs last a long time, so people get comfortable with them. We need to figure out how to incentivize people to swap out a good bulb for something more connected.

Increasing Consolidation

As Chairman of Zigbee, what else have you been working on? Part of what we have been dealing with is whether we’re a technology or an alliance. We may be changing the name soon. We’ve been partnering with different entities and working to put our differences aside to reach common goals. We have also been working on consolidating internal protocols to gain more flexibility. Some massive changes are coming for Zigbee. With all these groups newly combining, do you see this continuing over the next 4-5 years? These organizations have assigned full-time resources into it, as it is essential to them. I believe we will see this consolidation grow a lot over the next couple of years.

If you want to keep up with Zigbee Alliance, check out their website here. Follow John on his Linkedin here and his website here.

About our Guest: John Osborne II

John Osborne is currently General Manager at LEEDARSON North America and Chairman of the Board of the Zigbee Alliance. In these capacities, he helps educate and grow the IoT market globally. LEEDARSON is a global provider in traditional and connected lighting and sensors. The Zigbee Alliance is the premier Internet of Things (IoT) standards development organization since 2002. John has extensive experience in new product development, rapid product commercialization, systems innovations, and operations improvement. He has demonstrated the ability to manage and inspire multi-cultural, internal-external teams. He is a skilled communicator and presenter and has a sound background in budgeting, resource allocation, and operations efficiency.

Let’s connect; I am on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. If we do connect, drop me a note and let me know. The email address is feedback@philmckinney.com, or you can go to PhilMcKinney.com and drop me a note there. If you are looking for innovation support, go to TheInnovators.Network or want to be challenged to develop the next big idea, check out our Disruptive Ideation Workshops. Don’t forget to join our Innovators Community to enjoy more conversations around innovation.

To learn more about the growth of IoT devices and the trend of consolidation within IoT, listen to this week’s show: Where is IoT Going? #CES2020.

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Innovating Across Enterprises #CES2020

A groundbreaking innovation group joined us this year at the Consumer Electronics Show 2020 (CES). E-Novia is an innovation company that inserts robotics and AI into everything they do. Our guests include Ivo Boniolo, Chief Innovation Officer and co-founder of E-Novia, Fabio Todeschini from BluBrake, Roberto Rossi from Smart Robots, and Patrizia Casali from Wahu, all enterprises of E-Novia. We will discuss E-Novia’s product lines and how they are infusing robotics and AI throughout various enterprises.

Enterprises E-Novia

E-Novia

Ivo says that E-Novia came from the desire to bring robotics and AI to Italy’s most recognized fields. E-Novia collaborates with local universities to find and develop products that will have success in the marketplace. Currently, E-Novia has 30 enterprises in their group while only being a company for five years. Ivo says E-Novia is presently in the process of an IPO to increase capital and qualify its unique model. What is the scale of E-Novia’s enterprises? E-Novia has enterprises that are in every stage, some early, in the middle, and some more advanced.

With the considerable design market in Milan, E-Novia has been working to create design products infused with robotics. We seek to develop products that will welcome and interest the users. How has E-Novia been funded so far? Ivo says that an Italian family has funded E-Novia in the Manufacturing Industry as well as through fundraising. We have been working on growing our international relations, as we have a subsidiary in San Francisco, CA, and are currently opening an office in Japan.

BluBrake

Fabio Todeschini of BluBrake, an enterprise of E-Novia that develops Antilock Brake Systems (ABS) for e-bikes, joined us. Why do e-bikes need ABS technology? Fabio says that the e-bike market is growing a lot. The way we use bikes has changed from strictly cyclists using them to commuters using them as well. Many people using these e-bikes are unfamiliar with how to use them, causing accidents. People panic brake, which causes the majority of e-bike accidents.

Is Bluebrake’s product being used by bike manufacturers today? Fabio says it is available in Europe and they are working on making it available in the U.S. What is the incremental increase in the cost of adding this product to an e-bike? Around $500 additionally, which has been positive due to our high-end target-market. Are there others out there doing this? Fabio says there one competitor is Bosch, but Blubrake’s product is a bit different from its competitor. With all this traction, what’s next for Blubrake? Fabio says they are in the scale-up phase and wish to expand into the U.S, as they already have customers in Europe. As far as product expansion, Blubrake has a potential interest in motorcycle, scooters, and car braking systems.

Smart Robots

Next was Roberto Rossi from Smart Robots, a system used to support production line operators in factories. Smart Robots emphasize making the human the center of the production process. What do these collaborative robotics mean? Smart robots put humans first and support them with their two configurations. One guides humans during manual operations to eliminate errors by suggesting feedback. The other configuration works as a co-worker alongside the human.

How do you get the workers to accept the robots as a tool? Roberto says that it is a step by step process. You introduce the robot to the workers and they get acquainted with it over time. Eventually, they come to appreciate the robot’s help and treat it as a colleague. Where can these robots be useful? Roberto says that there is a lot of interest in different sectors of manufacturing. Wide goods productions such as washing machines and automobiles can use them due to their need for human and digital assistance. Complete automation is an old approach and human use in manufacturing is coming back. What’s next for Smart Robots? We have a big surprise coming into the safety realm of the manufacturing process. Many conditions in manufacturing need extra safety to keep workers protected. Our new product will aid in the safety of these workers.

Wahu

Patrizia Casali of Wahu, a company that offers a shoe sole with the capability to adapt to ground features and environmental conditions, also joined us. Why is having a sole that changes so important? Patrizia says that if someone wants to go hiking or play golf, they need to use different types of shoes. With this technology, you use the same shoes and they adapt to your environment. How does the shoe auto-detect what’s underneath them? Inside the sole, there is an electronic board with sensors and actuators that take data and analyze it. We offer a lot of different customization options that the user may choose from.

About our Guest: Ivo Boniolo

Ivo Boniolo is a co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer of E-Novia, an innovative group that infuses robotics and AI into their ventures. Ivo studied at schools such as the Politecnico di Milano, the Politecnico di Torino, and Alta Scuola Politecnica. The experience gained from his schooling added to his skills in innovation, management, and invention. During his ten years with the E-Novia group, he has spent his time transferring his technical and innovation knowledge and experience to the growth of E-Novia’s many enterprises.

About our Guest: Fabio Todeschini

Fabio Todeschini is from BluBrake, an enterprise of E-Novia. Fabio has a Ph.D. in engineering. He has experience in working on Antilock Brake Systems (ABS) for motorcycles. Fabio has taken his experience in ABS and applied it to e-bikes, the product line of BluBrake.

About our Guest: Roberto Rossi

Roberto Rossi is from Smart Robots, another innovative enterprise of E-Novia. Roberto has a Ph.D. in robotics. After receiving his Ph.D., he helped start Smart Robots, which aids humans in the goods manufacturing process.

About our Guest: Patrizia Casali

Patrizia Casali is from Wahu, a company that offers a shoe with a unique sole that adapts to different environments. Patrizia is a biomedical engineer who joined E-Novia to work on innovation after receiving her master’s degree.

If you’re interested in learning more about E-Novia and its enterprises, check out their website here.

Let’s connect; I am on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. If we do connect, drop me a note and let me know. The email address is feedback@philmckinney.com, or you can go to PhilMcKinney.com and drop me a note there. If you are looking for innovation support, go to TheInnovators.Network or want to be challenged to develop the next big idea, check out our Disruptive Ideation Workshops. Don’t forget to join our Innovators Community to enjoy more conversations around innovation.

To learn more about E-Novia and how they innovate through various enterprises, listen to this week’s show: Innovating Across Enterprises #CES2020.

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Renaissance Era in Innovation #CES2020

Two outstanding guests joined us while we were at the Consumer Electronics Show 2020 (CES). Bob O’Donnell, the President, Founder, and Chief Analyst at TECHnalysis Research, and Greg Johnston from Manta5, a company that offers the world’s first Hydrofoil Bike that replicates the cycling experience on the water. This week on Killer Innovations, we will discuss CES, the PC industry, and Manta5’s new game-changing product.

Renaissance Era

Standing Out at CES

With the size and noise of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), how do companies attract attention? Bob says that flashy press conferences are the key to getting noticed. Panasonic brought out Michael Phelps and showcased Star Wars characters to broadcast their work with Walt Disney Imagineering. Sony rolled out a car prototype known as the Vison-S during a press conference to promote the component technologies they are producing for the automotive industry. Having something that stands out is vital to gaining attention at an event like CES.

PC Growth

Bob and I had the pleasure of growing up together. We reconnected many years later through the PC industry. Bob has been a follower and influencer of the PC industry for a long time. With talk about PCs being dead, Bob shared some thoughts on the matter. The PC market has never reached its height. Still very much alive and kicking today, PCs have proved to be relevant even in the days of smartphones. The capabilities offered from PCs such as a larger screen and a physical keyboard are incredibly important. We saw some of the most significant innovations of PCs have been in recent times. AMD came out with their Ryzen 4000 Series parts for desktop and laptops based on their Zen 2 Core. Intel just debuted Tiger Lake, their next-generation Intel Core processor. On top of that, these guys are also exploring AI and 5G within the PC realm. That is why I partly believe we are in a real renaissance era of the PC market.

If you want to follow Bob’s endeavors, check out his recently started Forbes column here. He writes for Tech.pinions and has the Tech.pinions podcast, so check that out here. If you want to dig in, go to Bob’s website here.

Manta5

Here at CES, you will see just about anything and everything under the sun. Joining us is New Zealander Greg Johnston, CEO of Manta5, a company with a unique product. What is Manta5, you might ask? Greg says that Manta5 is the “brain-child” of its founder Guy Howard-Willis, an avid cyclist who had the dream of cycling on the water. Years later, that dream came true when Manta5 created the world’s first Hydrofoil Bike on water. The bike itself has two wings and a propeller, and while the user peddles, the cycle planes on the water.

Idea to Product

As an innovator, I know how hard it is to translate an idea into a product. How was the process of turning this idea into a product? Greg said there wasn’t much to go off at first, so they started with a bike frame and a propeller. We used a private pool and experimented with heaps of different prototypes trying to develop the hydrofoils. Once we nailed the rider position relative to the foils, we received a grant from Callaghan to develop the propeller and foils with an engineer. How long was the time frame for this process? It took about seven years to get the product out, and the product has been on the market for about a year now. It is a customized product except for the handlebars, the seat, and the pedals. What was the feedback on the product? Greg says the feedback has been overwhelming. We created an unboxing experience to deliver directly to the customer which they loved.

Growing Manta5

What was the learning process for the company with the blow-up of the product? Going from creating a prototype, to designing the product, to producing it on a scale has been a significant challenge. We’ve grown our design team as well as our production and engineering team over time. We’ve also been developing our relationships with suppliers for when we are ready to mass-produce these products. How did you guys catch the attention of manufacturers with this product? Greg says that Manta5 worked with an agent in Taiwan who knew their founders. Building relationships is everything. If manufacturers like you as a person and your vision as a company, that is huge.

Vision for the Future

What’s next for Manta5? The vision is to become cycling’s new frontier. We want to create a range of new products in biking while cultivating a sport through our product. When it comes to any game-changing product, copycats always arise. How will Manta5 deal with copycat products? We at Manta5 place importance on establishing ourselves as the leader in Hydrofoil Biking. We support other brands that may pop up in the future, as we want to cultivate a sport out of Hydrofoil Biking.

Follow Manta5 and check out the world’s first Hydrofoil Bike, view their website here, and check out their Facebook here.

About our Guest: Bob O’Donnell

Bob O’Donnell is the President, Founder, and Chief Analyst of TECHnalysis Research. The firm’s research and O’Donnell’s opinions are also regularly used by major media outlets, including Bloomberg TV, CNBC, CNN, Investor’s Business Daily, the Wall Street Journal, Yahoo Finance, and more. O’Donnell writes regular columns for USAToday and Forbes, as well as a weekly blog for Tech.pinions.com published on TechSpot, SeekingAlpha, and LinkedIn. Before founding TECHnalysis Research, Bob served as Program Vice President, Clients and Displays for industry research firm IDC. He is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame.

About our Guest: Greg Johnston

Greg Johnston is the CEO of Manta5, the creator of the world’s first Hydrofoil Bike, that replicates the cycling experience on the water. Greg is a driven entrepreneur who’s passionate about high growth startups and innovative social enterprise. He’s currently working alongside the original Torpedo7 founders to commercialize the Manta5 Hydrofoil Bike. Greg enjoys being a part of the Waikato startup and business scene. He’s always keen to meet new people, help connect others, and find ways to collaborate.

Let’s connect; I am on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. If we do connect, drop me a note and let me know. The email address is feedback@philmckinney.com, or you can go to PhilMcKinney.com and drop me a note there. If you are looking for innovation support, go to TheInnovators.Network or want to be challenged to develop the next big idea, check out our Disruptive Ideation Workshops. Don’t forget to join our Innovators Community to enjoy more conversations around innovation

To learn more about the renaissance era of the PC industry and the new game-changing product, Manta5, listen to this week’s show: Renaissance Era in Innovation #CES2020.

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