Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Reading where good ideas come from

I am surprised by how intriguing the book is.  The idea of liquid, between the chaotic air and the rigid solid, facilitate innovation. Because it allow random connection and allow the connection to stick long enough for growth.

The proof that most the major innovation, even people often attribute to a sudden flash of genius, is in fact accumulated ideas, waiting for a connection to crystallize.

Interact with diverse yet related ideas seems to be the magic ingridien of innovation.  One way to interact with oneself is the keep notes for later review.  So called a commonplace book the many man of letters,  such as Darwin keep in exhaustive details.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Valuating college degree from innovation thoery

There is a mystery about college degree.   It is universally regarded as crucial to a persons success, every parent gives the mentra of going to college to their kids.  Statistical every year of education adds 8% to the persons income. But no one yet can tell why it is.

I am convinced the benefit are brought about by two characters facilitated by the university environment: innovation and self-discipline.

The Innovation book list

In a process to design an innovation curriculum for graduate students and young professionals. Just finished a conversation with http://www.innovationlabs.com.  May be a good partner to have.

We discussed a list of books to read about innovation and innovation process:

  • "The innovation master plan", by L. Morris, free online! They have a whole innovation certificate built around it. (review)
  • Permanent Innovation (review)
  • The Innovator's Way: Essential Practices for Successful Innovation (review)
  • "Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Practice and Principles - Peter Ferdinand Drucker, 40 years old but still very useful.
  • "The Innovator's Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail"
  • "The Innovator's Solution: Creating and Sustaining Successful Growth"
  • "The Innovative University: Changing the DNA of Higher Education from the Inside Out"
  • "Innovator's Guide to Growth: Putting Disruptive Innovation to Work"

Being Innovative


Being Innovative 

(excerpted and revised from Nexus Newsletter, Aug 2012)

Innovation is not only the principal distinguishing strength of the human race, but also the essential quality necessary for individuals, companies, and organizations to achieve and maintain success. In Silicon Valley, innovation is not just a core value, it is in the DNA. However, before I reveal the secrets behind innovation, let’s make sure we understand what we are discussing when we speak of innovation.

Many people confuse innovation with creativity. Creativity is generating something new, different, unique; it can be interesting but not very valuable. Creativity is just the starting point for innovation.  Wait!  Creativity is not valuable?  Correct. Creativity and new ideas are a dime a dozen. Innovation more difficult and valuable: Innovation is “a new idea that changes a community.” 

How can we be more innovative?  I’ve distilled many books, seminars, and papers into three simple points, with a corresponding suggested action.

Envision the change: Write down, organize and visualize your ideas. For a smart person, there is no lack of good ideas; however, not keeping them in a more permanent form--such as in a notebook or on a blog--risks losing them.  I recommend you keep a blog using your smartphone to record your ideas when inspiration strikes and to summarize them once a week. Many ideas will be critically flawed or invalid, but a few will have the spark of real innovation. When you summarize them, envision how the ideas will “change a community”; if you cannot envision this change, the idea is probably not valuable or fully developed. Dedicate 30-60 minutes per week on this task.  

Share your ideas: Share, discuss and offer your ideas. You should develop a network of innovative people with whom you can freely share your ideas. The network should be readily available, have regular face-to-face interaction, and not be limited to just electronic channels. Discussing your ideas with mentor and colleagues is an excellent way to establish this innovation network. Through sharing, you can evaluate and develop your ideas, acquire partners, or even attract future investors.

Execute your plan: Make a simple plan and begin working toward your goal. Start small. Well, make that even smaller. The reason the vast majority of great ideas never become innovations is that the innovator never executes the plan because he or she is waiting for “the sign.” Sorry, but there is no sign. The only sign is you making steps, even very small ones, to actualize your innovation. Each small step becomes the sign to take the next, bigger step. Alternately, innovators can participate in local business competitions such as Startup Weekend, BarCamp, Ignite and Y-Combinator to boost their confidence and get valuable feedback on their ideas. Innovation is not a one-time deal. Ultimately, your first idea might not work, but your tenth might be groundbreaking. If you don’t start the first one, you may never know. It's often takes little to get started--you probably know many companies whose founders started in their garages using their spare time or weekends. It's okay to start small, as long as you start.

That said, start NOW: Track and visualize your ideas, share and discuss them with your network regularly, and make a plan and start on it.

This article is the first of a three-part series on innovation from Dr. Eric Tao. The next article will discuss organizational innovation.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

80 hours a week!!

Putting 70 hours a week is becoming a norm since 2009.  Some weeks I have to put in 80 hours.  40 hours to put bread on the table, 40 to build a dream.  Occasionally I can escape to do something different.  Visit Ventana Inn at big sur certainly an pleasant experience.

Is working hard worth it?  I am a believer of

"Both achievement and happiness are desirable,  if one put most effort into the former, both might be achieved, into the later, both will be lost"

Enjoy reading

Drove to Big Sur and sit in the middle of Big Sur creek and enjoyed a hour of reading.  Having spent too much time on emails, blogs, news, magazines, it is a treat to read books.  Also decided to spend an hour per night on books while listening to piano.  Can do about 20-30 pages per night, so far, finished the "Startup Weekend" and half of "Where good ideas come from".  With this pace, I can do 2 books per months, that is 24 books a year.  Yahoo.

Living the dreams

I used to just nod politely saying "just fine", when people ask me "how are you doing?".  I decided to change that. ...