An award-winning podcast and nationally syndicated talk radio show that looks at the innovations that are changing our lives and how their innovators used creativity and design to take their raw idea and create they're game-changing product or service.
Phil McKinney and his guests share real-world practical advice on how to harness the power of creativity and design to create ideas that turn into innovations that radically improve your personal, career and business success.
The show is hosted by Phil McKinney, retired CTO of Hewlett-Packard (HP) and author of Beyond The Obvious.
The complete backlog of content (going back to 2005) is available at http://KillerInnovations.com. Follow Phil on Facebook at http://bit.ly/phil-facebook and Twitter at http://twitter.com/philmckinney
Walter Voit on Adaptive 3D and Microarchitecture Innovation
Adaptive 3D is an innovative company that partnered with Desktop Metal and UT Dallas. Walter Voit discusses the innovation behind microarchitecture within material manufacturing and how partnerships in Richardson, Texas, have created a thriving innovation ecosystem.
Innovating 3D Printing and University Research
At Adaptive 3D, Walter focuses on using 3D printing to produce additive materials. The company recently joined Desktop Metal to mass manufacture durable materials rapidly. Printing is often limited to small parts, so the company focuses on manufacturing large materials.
In companies like Adaptive 3D, a new generation of designers uses AI to enhance the manufacturing process. Materials are more intelligently architected, resulting in lower costs, lighter materials, increased sustainability, etc. Microarchitecture is what drives these innovations. As technologies scale, the ability to build large microarchitecture inexpensively becomes a reality.
In the past, there has always been a tradeoff between going green and being cost-efficient. The goal of Adaptive 3D is to have a balance of both. If, by the power of microarchitecture, turning cost structure on its head, it will benefit both the internal supply chain and external customers.
Adaptive 3D with UT Dallas
Adaptive 3D is a few miles from UT Dallas. Walter is an associate professor of material science and engineering and mechanical engineering at the university. Even though it’s a young university, UT-Dallas has been a pioneer in tech transfer and the original location for the core technology.
In Dallas, there is an incredible drive to solve practical problems for industries. Since the tech transfer program emerged, the university has supported founders and inventors and flourished innovation. Part of this is because local industries and UT Dallas have such close ties. The university truly understands what the industry needs to survive and thrive.
The Richardson IQ
The Richardson IQ is the real deal when looking at public and private cooperation. UT-Dallas, Texas Instruments, Raytheon, etc., has created a merging ecosystem of startups and seasoned experts who want to change the game. In Texas, people don’t look to the government to solve their problems. Instead, they do it themselves. Government leadership has established a system that supports this mindset, allowing the ecosystem to thrive.
About our Guest: Walter Voit
Walter Voit is the President and CEO at Adaptive3D, the premium Additive Manufacturing polymer resin supplier. Walter leads one of the new University of Texas – Dallas research centers in the IQ, focused on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. Desktop Metal recently acquired adaptive 3D.
To know more about Adaptive 3D and the innovation behind microarchitecture within material manufacturing, listen to this week's show: Adaptive 3D and Microarchitecture Innovation.
Richardson Innovation Quarter (IQ)
Joining us are three guests who lead innovation efforts in Richardson, Texas, known for the “Telecom Corridor.” The Richardson Innovation Quarter (IQ) lies within the city, a 1,200 acre area where innovative companies and entrepreneurs collaborate.
The Richardson Innovation Quarter
Paul Voelker has been in the Richardson, Texas area for over thirty years. To Paul, being mayor is his way of giving back to the community. Richardson has a wealth of innovation history behind it. At the time when Paul became Mayor, Richardson's innovation focus was on large companies. He and his team decided to shift the focus from large companies to entrepreneurs and startups. Doug McDonald leveraged Richardson's history and the city's connection with the University of Texas – Dallas. His task was implementing the mayor's vision to bring new innovative companies and individuals to Richardson,
An innovation partnership with UT Dallas has been a key factor in IQ's growth. Dr. Joseph Pancrazio is the Vice President for Research at UT Dallas in Richardson and is part of the Innovation Quarter. The partnership's primary focus is revitalizing the IQ through specialized innovation efforts. The university believes that its partnership with the City of Richardson is the beginning of something unique.
Paul and the city team understand and embrace the fact that they live in a global marketplace. UT-Dallas exemplifies this marketplace with the diversity of its students. Dr. Pancrazio says that UT-Dallas has 200 national merit scholars and that the students have created a culture of excellence. Paul emphasizes the diverse group of talented students in the city during talks with businesses about moving there. In my opinion, it is that diversity that often brings excellent ideas.
Vision of the Richardson Innovation Quarter
In terms of selling the vision of the new IQ, the biggest obstacle that Doug deals with is running a major hub to showcase the area's uniqueness. Through the partnership with Dr. Pancrazio and UT-Dallas, this hub is in the works. UT-Dallas offers the companies in Richardson the opportunity to acquire research from them, often sparking innovations.
In Richardson, places like the Richardson Innovation Quarter create value, culture, and ultimately wealth. This wealth is what drives many innovative ideas. It then gets reinvested back into institutions, companies, and the highly educated workforce in the area. There is power in the vision held by both teams; Mayor Voelker's and the University of Dallas, Richardson's.
About our Guests: Paul Voelker, Doug McDonald, Dr. Joseph Pancrazio
Paul Voelker is the current Mayor of Richardson, Texas, and a Business Development Executive at Lone Star Analysis. After receiving his BA in Business Administration from William Penn University, Paul went to work for HP, where he took on numerous roles in his twenty-eight years with the company. He is a sales and marketing executive with experience in business development, marketing, and portfolio and alliance management.
Doug McDonald is the Strategic Initiatives Manager at the City of Richardson, under Mayor Paul Voelker.
Dr. Joseph Pancrazio is the Vice President for Innovation & Research at the City of Richardson under Mayor Paul Voelker.
To know more about the Richardson Innovation Quarter (IQ), listen to this week's show: a href="http://traffic.libsyn.com/philmckinney/Richardson_Innovation_Quarter_IQ...
Josh Smith on Healthcare Innovation at Richardson Methodist
Today, we see an emergence of technologies in healthcare. Richardson Methodist Medical Center is at the helm of breakthrough medical innovations. Josh Smith joins us to discuss his work at the medical center around cardiology and electrophysiology.
Technology Breakthroughs and Challenges
Technology has allowed physicians and scientists to explore sub-specialties of specialties like cardiology. Josh is a cardiologist specializing in electrophysiology, the study of the heart's conduction, and correct abnormal heart rhythms.
Fifty years ago, there wasn't a lot that cardiologists could do to help those with heart issues. Partnerships between physicians and companies aided in accelerating healthcare innovation. Due to these partnerships, many of the technologies created are available to consumers. One ongoing challenge for hospital systems is acquiring technology and staying up to date with it.
Eight years ago, at the Cable Labs, the healthcare industry asked us to create a cable lab. We had to get the hospitals and the manufactures to work together to standardize the operation. This task was very complicated because it required several different components to work together.
Josh has noticed how more people are now researching the health issues they are having. The availability of information empowers people to do their research. Growing up, my mom would avoid the doctor at all costs, but with personalized healthcare, there is now so much good that can be done.
The evolution of technology has opened up the door for life-changing treatment. My dad had a severe heart issue in the 1970s, and the technology at the time left him in the hospital for three or four days. Now, top cardiologists can perform certain operations in ten minutes. Years ago, Josh had a pain in his chest and went to get it checked. It turned out he had a blockage and had to get two stints. He is thankful that he went because he protected his heart for the long term. None of this would have been possible if it weren't for innovators in the medical field.
Richardson Methodist Medical Center
People often think that all innovation happens in Silicon Valley. In reality, there are innovators all over the U.S and all around the world. The people at Richardson Methodist Medical are doing some groundbreaking innovations. A typical open-heart surgery would take seven to ten days. At Richard Methodist Medical Center, a device bypasses that process.
About four years ago, the medical center launched the TAVR Program, which deploys a valve within your heart's valve, resulting in the valve functioning again. This procedure drastically improves the lives of those suffering from heart issues. The outcome of this healthcare innovation is truly amazing.
Future Healthcare Innovation
Currently, pacemakers have a life of 7-10 years. Innovators in the medical world are currently working on making chargeable pacemakers, which Josh is excited about. Josh is also excited about the possibility of 3D-printed organs and things of that nature. Dean Kamen, who was previously on the show, is currently creating that technology with his team.
Josh is also really excited about the potential of telehealth. Due to COVID, telehealth accelerated, and I believe it will continue to grow. Josh thinks the next big one will be something related to telehealth when it comes to healthcar...
Misused Innovation Buzzwords
In today's world, buzzwords are everywhere. Within the realm of innovation, the misuse of these innovation buzzwords runs rampant. Often, these words and phrases push people away from innovation as they perceive it to be too complex.
Buzzwords: What are they?
Often used to impress something upon someone, buzzwords can be technical or specific to a particular industry. Common buzzword examples are synergy, clickbait, and growth hacking. Synergy means something that works together. Clickbait refers to content developers such as Youtubers who exaggerate what their videos are about. Growth hacking means finding different ways to grow a business. Initially meant to simplify things, more often than not, buzzwords complicate them.
Within the world of innovation, there are many existing buzzwords that people dislike. The most common one I hear is design-thinking, which has been around for a while. Originally, this term referred to devising the user's needs at the beginning of a project and carrying that approach to the end. Unfortunately, this buzzword has been misused and turned into something different.
Misused Innovation Buzzwords
Let's look at an innovation buzzword I often use, ideation. At The Innovators Network, we teach workshops on the ideation process. Ideation is the process of generating more and better ideas. At the end of it all, ideation is a made-up word that means relatively the same thing that brainstorming does.
Another innovation buzzword is a disruptor— someone or something that shakes things up when entering an established industry. This shakeup is through the usage of different techniques and approaches. An excellent example of a disruptor is when Uber entered and changed the ride-hailing services industry.
Another buzzword that I use often is innovator. An innovator is simply one who presents a new product, service, or a new transformative technique. The issue that arises with this term is that so many people call themselves innovators when they don't offer anything innovative or perform innovation. Because of its rampant misuse, it has become harder to identify the real innovators from the fake ones.
Other Buzzword Examples
Next up is the term system-thinking. Top consulting firms often use this buzzword. Companies use the term in attempts to differentiate the services they offer from their competitors. System thinking means looking at things as systems rather than established processes. At its core, this term, like other buzzwords, is an overcomplication of something simple.
Pain points is another buzzword that refers to things that drive customers crazy. Another commonly used innovation buzzword is social innovation. This one is self-explanatory. It means using innovation to solve social problems.
When it comes to innovation, buzzwords create a barrier between those inside and outside the innovation space. While buzzwords aren't inherently wrong, their misuses often lead to confusion and misguidance. I hope that misuse of these buzzwords will start to diminish, creating more apparent openings for others to participate in genuine innovation efforts.
To know more about the misuse of innovation buzzwords, listen to this week's show: Misused Innovation Buzzwords.
What Is the Optimal Innovation Team Size?
When studying different companies and their cultures, you will notice different team structures. The question of which structure is the best may eventually cross your mind. Some companies have large teams, while others operate with small, close-knit groups. I believe there is an optimal innovation team size that leads to killer ideas when it comes to innovation.
Studies on Team Size
The question of the day is this: Does team size genuinely have an impact? I reviewed a collaboration study done a while ago by the Kellogg School of Management and Northwestern University. The premise: large teams are problem solvers, and small teams are problem generators. The study showed that as the teams grew from one member to fifty members, their creativity decreased. The large teams focused on developing already known ideas, and the small teams focused on ideating new ideas.
As teams grew in size, different things impacted them. Firstly, team members suffered relational losses. They felt disconnected from other team members. Secondly, there was a tendency for the individual to contribute less on a large team than they would in a smaller one. Thirdly, when it came to large teams, they often sought out a leader to guide them. The smaller teams did not have a main leader but functioned off trusting each other and focusing on a common mission or vision.
A great way to combat innovation team size issues is through Multi-Team Systems (MTS). This process breaks down larger teams into smaller ones and establishes a structure. Utilizing MTS will lead to better team efficiency, which will lead to better ideas.
My Experience and Other’s
Allow me to share my experience with team sizes. I started my career at Deltek, which functioned with large teams. I later joined Thumbscan, which had medium-sized teams that were not the most efficient. When I left this team to build my product, I realized how hard it was to develop something without a team. This taught me the importance of being part of a team and the importance of that team’s size.
One outside example that shows the importance of team size comes from Apple in the 1980s. The company was utilizing large teams, coming out with the Apple 1, 2, and 3. These efforts had turned out unsuccessful. As a result, Steve Jobs picked a small exclusive team to work on MacIntosh. He did this to avoid any outside influence from the company. This move led to enormous success for Apple. The bottom line, when teams are separated and given a specific mission to focus on, they reach a point of efficiency, leading them to achieve their goal.
What is the Optimal Innovation Team Size?
From my experience with teams, I have concluded that the optimal innovation team size is 6-8 people. Any more than that, and the team members might lose focus and feel disconnected. In my opinion, nobody should have more than twelve people that directly report to them. Not only is the team size important, but the makeup of the team as well. A team needs visionaries, leaders, energizers, designers, etc. A team with the right combination of skillets will cultivate innovation success.
To know more about the optimal innovation team size, listen to this week's show: What Is the Optimal Innovation Team Size?
Human Creativity and AI
AI has become very popular in the world today. With its transition from a dream to reality, one must wonder what future outcomes will come of it. Is human creativity at the core of AI? Some may wonder whether AI can possess the same creative abilities.
Human Creativity and AI
Learning and experiences lead to innovation and creation. With every new creation comes inspiration from something else. When it comes to AI, there is a difference between being inspired and being invented. The need for input and experience is key.
AI is composed of training data that recognizes patterns and finds the best solutions. Training data, or machine learning, is vital to the makeup of AI. In the past, the common thought was that humans had a unique advantage over this area. Some instances have said otherwise.
Is Artificial Intelligence growing smarter than humans? That depends on your definition of smarter. Do you define smart by critical thinking skills or IQ? In the case of chess, the key is to recognize patterns and to be able to look at the number of steps ahead. These are two skills that computers have become quite good at through the utilization of machine learning. The question then becomes whether those skills are what we define as smart.
Innovations From AI Technologies
Let’s look at an example of AI from the work of the Associated Press, which generates millions of news stories for several different industries. It utilizes the Wordsmith tool to perform deep learning. As a result, AP outpaces the news outputs of all the major media companies out there combined.
Trained on successful articles that people have written, Wordsmith has a downside. The issue with AP’s process is that there is no specific writing style, lacking human creativity. Instead, the platform produces media based on things like news releases by newscasters or online outlets. As a result, Associated Press’s Wordsmith tool couldn’t write the script for my show or other similar shows.
In my spare time, I like to write instrumental music. Magenta Studios has an AI plugin that I like experimenting with. This tool offers a simple way to utilize AI to develop something. The use of AI tools like AP’s Wordsmith or Magenta’s plugin conjures up some questions. We can't help but wonder who gets credit for the articles published or music created.
Can AI Replace Human Creativity?
You may still wonder if AI applications can replace human creativity. You may also wonder if AI can create new ideas leading to killer innovations. I don’t believe AI can replace the unique creativity of humans.
AI utilization is most successful as a tool to enhance ideas. It can be used as an aid to get past the mental block encountered while brainstorming ideas. Human creativity is also evolving as AI grows. Appreciation and experimentation is the key to AI success. I believe AI will play a significant and positive role in our future.
To know more about AI and human creativity, listen to this week's show: Human Creativity and AI.
Phil, host of the Killer Innovations podcast, highlights all aspects of innovation and more in this can’t miss podcast! The host and expert guests offer insightful advice and information that is helpful to anyone that listens!
Great show. Listened to all 16+ years of episodes
Excellent practical useful