Blog Archives

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I’ve begun to publish a collection of short articles on creativity, design, and innovation on LinkedIn as a interim approach.

Does every child need to know how to code?

This fall, the British Broadcasting Corporation plans to give out 1 million programmable devices to every 11-year old starting secondary school in the U.K. This initiative is part of the Make it Digital initiative aimed at improving technology skills in the country. It’s the first year of a major coding initiative UK, and the BBC wants to play a part in training the next generation of programmers. By combining computer concepts with popular culture, BBC hopes to retain young user engagement, for example with content in Doctor Who.

The Micro Bit device is tiny and fits easily into the palm of a hand. Children will be able to create text via a series of LED lights, and they will also be able to use it to create basic games. The device is delivered as a small PCB with some LEDs and a single micro-USB connector, powered by a watch battery, and similar in concept to a simple version of the successful Raspberry Pi.

The project is supported by a host of partners who contribute funding to the project including Freescale, Samsung, Microsoft, Nordic Semiconductor, CodeClub and ARM. The BBC will be providing a range of learning activities and resources, and there will be a resource finder to allow students, teachers and parents to find and access this material. At a time when the BBC license fee is under review, such an ambitious project is a reminder of the BBC’s public service contributions.

Laser Cut Cardboard for Prototyping

_DSC9468What a great way to rapidly create components for a high fidelity prototype. Low cost, generally free, recyclable material that can be quickly and accurately cut by a simple laser panel cutter. Check designs for fit, interference, and develop better solutions with a real prototype that can be manipulated, adjusted, and evaluated by individuals and team members.

Great Design Tools Remain Great



Design Thinking Highway

Daan Roosegaarde is an artist based in Rotterdam known for interactive designs. He and his team of designers and engineers form Studio Roosegaarde. “The studio creates interactive designs that explore the dynamic relation between people, technology and space.”

His work on highways likely started with one idea and then others emerged and cascaded as exploring possibilities in this design space continued. The ideas cross domains from highway design, automotive, lighting, to energy conservation and more. It demonstrates an interesting reframing of problems in the transportation environment, how some concepts are still emerging from the lab or prototype stage, and testing against requirements including safety and cost for long-term feasibility.

A Pony Express MVP

With the threat of Civil War, and the need for faster communication to the west, the Pony Express began service in 1860. At only 10 days across eight states, it was faster by months than transit by ship. However, the Pony Express lasted only 19 months, when the telegraph ended an unprofitable business (losing twice its gross lifetime revenue).  

How should a Minimally Viable Product (MVP) be structured to validate a solution to a business need in a time of rapid change? Starting with MVP basics:

  • Use of a defined process (MVP) to test assumptions about customer demand.
  • Learn if we are solving the right problem, and gather more information from potential customers (potentially leveraging early adopters).
  • Reducing risk by testing fundamental assumptions on design and demand.

And going further to ask if our understanding of the environment and risk space is complete?  Do we have full awareness of ongoing, perhaps accelerating, adjacent technology, industry, and regulatory changes? How can a MVP contribute to the project risk management process?

It is important to note that the initial release may need to deliver a sufficient level of maturity to be credible for an accurate assessment of solution fit to market need and customer demand. Presenting something immature or incomplete may signal to a prospective customer that the developer does not understand their need, or does not have domain credibility, and should be discounted. The business context, new and disruptive vs. entering a mature market, will drive a different development path before market exposure. Firms operating in competitive markets will give thought to timing or use of confidential MPV analysis of new features and IP.

Design for Disruption

Rethinking a long established convention, and framing a completely different concept to solve a difficult problem (Design Thinking).

Is it better to examine security threats when they enter your network, or before? Why not have an external Petri dish to capture and dissect a potential virus before gaining access to your network? Companies like FireEye have done just this with a dedicated virtual appliance providing a real-time detection engine to proactively identify threats. There must be something to this idea; Cisco recently spent $2.7 Billion to purchase Sourcefire.

Automobile + Vacuum

Combining ideas:

This strikes me as an example of innovation delivering real practical value by saving limited personal labor time. It takes time to pull out the vac/put it away, or go to the car wash to vacuum out your car. Especially useful for an active family. HondaVac

Cherrios be gone!








Recently scientists successfully documented the use of tools by crocodiles. They are able to use sticks they arrange on their heads to attract birds to land. This often ends badly for the bird. They even appear to show a bias of use during spring matting seasons when there is a high level of activity.

Previously we assumed that only higher level primates and certain birds where capable of making and using tools. Had we been asked if crocodiles use tools, many likely would have scoffed at the idea.

Project assumptions must be examined with a critical eye.

Owning a Sculpture in a Public Park

The site recently sold at auction to private buyer, but the artist, Rafeil Rozendaal, required in the sales contract that the work remain free and accessible to the public. Commissioning virtual art for public consumption, an innovative frame.

  • Move your cursor to interact with the page.
  • More examples through the icon in the upper left corner.