Showing posts with label Outside The Box. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Outside The Box. Show all posts

September 27, 2019

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) 
Share/Save/Bookmark

August 30, 2019

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)
Share/Save/Bookmark

August 7, 2019

Ocean of Words

I really like this phrase from a book that I'm reading called "Like Dreamers."
An ocean of words and a desert of ideas.

Too often, we hear people who like to hear themselves talk, think very highly of themselves, show off, or just spout away. 

And while they say a lot...

There may not be a lot there. 

New ideas, thoughts, ways of looking at things, innovation, creativity, outside the box thinking--that's like a desert!

In Yiddish (and it's always funnier in Yiddish), we say:
A big, big mouth, and a tiny, tiny head.

Similarly, in Hebrew, there is phrase that translates to:
Say a little, and do a lot. 

Sometimes, the smartest people are the ones who use their words wisely, strategically, with depth and meaning, and when they really have something to say.

It's at that time that you better be listening.  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

April 22, 2018

Sugarloaf Crafts Festival


I love this time of year when the weather gets nice and we can do more outdoor activities. 

Today, we took the opportunity to go to the Sugarloaf Crafts Festival. 

There were so many vendors with artistic works in metal, glass, art, jewelry, leather, photography, pottery, and more. 

Everyone seemed to be looking for those one-of-a-kind special pieces.

I did manage to find a very special colorful menorah, which I had my eye on since last year, and which I was glad that I waited for because the artisan made it even better and more beautiful than before. 

Again, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and most things were an easy pass on, but some things definitely caught my eye and attention. 

The photo here was one of them where the artist was selling pots, and he set up this plastic chicken--as if the chicken was set and ready to go into the oven. 

Creativity can definitely get weird, but everyone likes a standout. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumethal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

May 4, 2013

Walking On Rocks

The first few times when I started hiking, I had this paradigm that I had to walk between the rocks--sort of like hopscotch--then I realized that I could walk on them.

For a long time, I had heard about how thinking within the box constrains our thought processes and innovation. 

It was interesting for me to see this in action just by the way I initially viewed a basic skill like hiking. 

The paradigms we use to view the world alter what we think and do, and only when we break out of the proverbial box we are in, can we really see and be open to other ways of being and doing things.  

You can walk between the rocks or you can climb over them--whatever works best for you--just be open to seeing things in many different ways.

No one way is necessarily better than another--they are just different and each useful in their own time and place. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)


Share/Save/Bookmark

October 7, 2012

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)

Share/Save/Bookmark

January 21, 2012

Finding Better Ways

Saturday Night Live had a funny skit last week about people in the future looking back at us in 2012 as "digital pioneers"--and how silly many of the things we do today looks from the outside.
Here are some examples that may resonate with a lot of you:
- Driving--We drive 1-4 hours a day and "are okay with that."
- Email--We boot up our computers, go to the Internet, log unto to our accounts, and send an email and think that "was so easy, fast, and convenient."
- Clothing--We get dressed in underwear, shirts, pants, belt, socks, shoes, tie, and wrap it all under a jacket and feel that it's "not way too many pieces."
- Bathrooms--We have bathrooms in our homes and have it close to where we eat and that "seems smart to us."
There were other examples making fun of us eating fruits and vegetables, keeping domesticated animals in our homes, and thinking that living to the age of 91 is old.
While we don't know exactly what the future will look like, when we look at our lives today "under the microscope"--things really do sort of appear comical.
I believe that we really do need to look at ourselves--what we do, and how we do it--with fresh eyes--and ask why do we do that? And are there alternatives? Is there a better way?
Too often we believe that the way things are--"is simply it"--when if we would just think how this would look to someone 100 years from now, perhaps we would be quicker to open our eyes to other options and innovations.
It reminds me of the story in the Torah (Numbers 22) where Balaam is sent to curse the Jewish people but ends up blessing them. In this story the donkey that he is riding on refuses to proceed, because it sees an angel in front of them. Balaam does not see the angel and beats the donkey thinking that was the right thing to do. G-d then miraculously gives the donkey the power of speech and the donkey complains about the harsh treatment from Balaam, and G-d opens Balaam's eyes to see the angel, at which point he understands that the donkey really saved his life.
This Biblical story is similar to our lives where we go along sort of blind to the realities right in front of us, and not only that but we keep pushing forward along the very same route not seeing the obstacles or other alternatives that may be better for us.
While we (generally) don't have donkeys talking back to us with feedback or the ability to see angels, I think by sensitizing ourselves more, we can open ourselves up to question the status quo and break the paradigms that we just take as givens.
So when we do get to the next 100 years out--it'll truly be a lot better than today and without the traffic! ;-)

Share/Save/Bookmark