FRESH NEW LOVE : INNOVATION ++

Robert-and-Crabs

Computational photography will kill the traditional camera. We have already seen the impact of smartphone cameras. The camera included with the iPhone X is a computational one using multiple lenses when in “portrait” mode. This article is not an advertisement for a new computational camera (but I’ll provide a link at the end of article for the leading product in this field). This is a study of a most remarkable piece of innovation.

Fresh Thinking

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In this new camera shown above, when a picture is taken, up to 16 lens modules “fire” simultaneously, capturing slightly different perspectives of the same scene. The camera intelligently chooses a combination of its 28mm, 70mm, and 150mm modules to use in each shot.

The camera captures so much data with every shot, it generates a 3D depth map of the scene. All of this extra information enables a radical new kind of photo editing: the ability to adjust depth of field and focal plane after the shot. Noise reduction is just an added perk of using multiple lenses at once.

Photography, in its most basic form, is the act of capturing light.  Having a large single F1.2 lens for example, allowed significantly more light into the camera in “low light” situations. With this camera, each of the camera’s lens modules work the same way that an entire DSLR would—utilizing the lens, mirror, sensor, shutter, and more to capture an image. However, with at least 10 different lens modules in each shot, it collects 10x the amount of light information, giving significantly more data to create high-res images.

Adjust the focal plane AFTER you have taken the photo.

The “focus” on this camera can be from 10cm to infinity. The camera captures images at such a wide aperture, each individual photo can have a shallow depth of field. This means the focal point is sharp but everything around it is not. By fusing these photos together, the software creates a deep depth of field—which you can then adjust at different levels to achieve certain artistic effects.

The photo above is youngest son with his catch. Same photo with different focal point after taking. Taken with an iPhone X.

The weak link is the software and processing speed

The Effective pixel size of a photograph is 52 million+ (52+megapixels). Processing a photo takes longer than normal. The camera has 250Gb of capacity. Transferring files may be slow. The processing speed and software has glitches apparently. However, it will only improve over time. With chip speed and processing power increasing every year, this isn’t a bottleneck to embracing this technology.

Innovation at work

The thought of having 16 small lenses versus 1 large lens is an innovative solution to get the most light. It also solves depth of field, high resolution and adjustable focal point. Its one major conceptual solution to solve one major problem: Size, weight and portability. This camera is only 165 x 85 x 25mm. It stores in a coat pocket.

This one camera may replace 4 lenses and a monstrous DSLR.

Great innovation has the hallmark of a leap in thinking. Drilling back to the root analysis of requirements to solve fundamental problems with a clean sheet of paper. Read my blogs on a structured way to do this. Its isn’t rocket science to identify the root problems. However, it does taken good knowledge on materials and fundamental science to consider all the solutions available.

Legacy products can be the death of innovation

What hasn’t Canon or Nikon come up with a computational camera with multiple on board lenses? The challenge is the millstone of legacy systems and the large customer following who don’t like to see their investment challenged. It takes an upstart company to push the boundaries. This is why I like to engage in innovation with companies 2-3 years old rather than the 40 year old corporate with a “fine tradition”. However, a change at the top and a new board will turn the traditional company on its ear and open the doors to examine legacy products.

Do the Impossible

Technology is a strong wind. Behind your back, you can assume increased processing abilities with portability in the palm of your hand. But beware of the hype. Technology can be over-hyped in the short term and under estimated in the long term. Incorporating technology as an enabler for you to “do the impossible” has a fair chance of success. Budgets and time frames have limitations, however the trend to “minimum viable products” opens the door to a progressive release of an otherwise “impossible” solution.

This camera is a testament to “doing the impossible”. It isn’t available in Australia yet but is in USA and UK. If you want to try computational photography, then beg, borrow or steal and iPhone x. Load up “Focus” software and snap a scene. Then after taking the photo have fun with the variable focal points. Its only two lenses at work and not 10+. However, the software is superb and the results stunning. This is the practical example of the future of photography. Find the Light Camera at https://light.co

It is currently criticised as “missing the mark” and “why would you need all those Megapixels” by the camera sponsored bloggers and magazines. Legacy pressure at work!

Read all of Bruce Loxton’s Blogs at palm2cloud.com.

 

 

 

Comedy and Innovation are Bedfellows

See-through-eye-of-the-customerMany comedians are gifted with the same ability that good innovators have. Jerry Seinfeld is a great example. Jerry has the ability to see everyday things from a different angle. I prefer to think of it as “through a different set of eyes” to most people. Once he strips bare the everyday “nuance”, the humour unravels fast. He almost always looks at the problem the “nuance” created or could create.

Innovation requires the same skills. Looking at problems through the eyes of someone else. Looking at it with a fresh mindset. Looking at simple things.

Is Innovative thinking a Trainable Skill?

Yes, I think so. Here are tips to advance your innovative thinking:

Firstly, whose eyes will you be looking through? It should be the customer-set that you are hoping to capture. This may not be the customer-set you communicate with today. Crawl into the mind of this customer-set and try to imagine their thinking on the topic you are exploring.

You have to talk with an enquiring mind to understand their thinking. A great way to do this is to ask about problems. Ask why up to 5 times to really understand issues.

Secondly, new and naive people in the customer-set are just as valuable as the experienced and learned. It’s a fact that new “learner drivers” notice the annoying features of a new car far more than the experienced driver. With experience, the brain glosses over the everyday issues and nuances. These experienced people cant always see the simple nuances that annoy new drivers. They ignore the everyday bug-bears. So interview the young and naive as well as those with money.

Thirdly, a foreign designed object that looks foreign will provoke a lot of questions. My belief is basic needs around the world are fundamentally similar. It’s the environment that changes and this drives an additional layer of needs. Moving objects from one environment to another highlights this layer. Grab a lunchbox from Japan and see how it compares with yours.

At the Shanghai Boat Show a few years ago , I was puzzled why so many (not all) of the large cruising boats on display had a single engine. Were the Chinese not aware of the major benefits of twin engines? Yes they were aware; but no, they didn’t need them. Most buyers wanted large karaoke party boats. This meant small engine rooms, small galley kitchen and a huge below deck karaoke room. This customer-set found it easier to hire a karaoke boat than to rent a nightclub room.

You have new “eyes” what can you see?

Firstly, keep observations very simple. Don’t over complicate requirements or problems. Keep each one simply isolated from another. Don’t combine 2 problems together. Look at the very basics with fresh eyes and think about the problems you can see.

Here is a funny excerpt from Seinfeld:

Kramer: Mmm… Nice wallet.
Newman: Wallet.
Jerry: What?
Kramer showing Jerry the contents of his pocket
Kramer: Nobody carries wallets anymore. I mean, they went out with powdered wigs. Yeah, see here’s what you need. Just a couple of cards and your bankroll.
See, keep the big bills on the outside.
Jerry: That’s a five.

The humour is in the simple nuances. Could Kramer design an innovative wallet? Yes, if he wanted to…

Now you are in the final phase of this simple journey.

You have all the small nuance problems listed.

Now brainstorm solutions. Have as many team members working creative solutions. (see my other blog on the power of having quirky people on your team).

  • Use a principal that one solution for one problem is inadequate.
  • One solution to 2 problems is fair.
  • One solution to 3 problems is good.
  • More than this and you may have cracked it.

In the Kimberley Kruiser project we had documented over 160 problems. The core solutions were less than 30. Thats a nice ratio.

Practice will make you perfect

The only thing that will make you better is failure. Big failure is all to obvious. Its the small annoying mediocre failures that cost even more as you may persevere hoping that the innovation will pan out. When the don’t, you have lost a lot of time. We always undervalue time and over value the expenses we are trying to save.

Save yourself a lot of money and gain the experience of my failures. As a bonus you will get trained in the practical Innovation of your Big Ideas.

Read all of Bruce Loxton’s blogs on Innovation, simplification and be inspired to do the impossible!

“Welcome to Hell”.

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Courage and Pain

“Welcome to Hell,” a caver once told me by a campfire at night. “Where happiness goes to die. . . . If you wish to survive, you need to cultivate a strong mental attitude.”

“Why do you do it?” I asked.

“We do it for the unimaginable pleasure of conquering the unknown.”

True exploring spirit with unbelievable courage; and, as far as I could tell, a numbness for pain. Have you experienced these emotions without the cave?

Hard to find a customer in such a place

There is a business reality that should keep you out of dark caves. It would be hard for most of us to make money in that environment. (Tongue in cheek: there may be some who say they do have customers from there…)

In the Innovation game, you need, in my opinion, to both swim in a sea of customers AND crawl into a private cave. You need customer problems and space to think through solutions. In an ideal world, one should quickly follow the other to keep the vision fresh. Continue reading “Welcome to Hell”.

Which one can do the impossible?

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Can the Helicopter Leader see the impossible?

In a helicopter at 1,000 feet you’ll be able to clearly recognize what you’re looking at with the benefit of seeing a higher perspective.

From this perspective, you can elevate your thinking from the tactical day-to-day operations to a higher level. At this higher level

  • You expand your perspective to understand how the core essential elements of your business fit together and provide best value to customers.
  • You think in both abstract (higher level) and specific (lower level) terms.
  • You link the two together is a structure of business plans.  For some, this approach is ‘business as usual’; for others, with a more hands-on approach, it can take a little practice.

But can you see the impossible from the helicopter?

The helicopter has the disadvantage of an apparent “see it all”. Can you set “impossible goals” based on the perspective you have? Have you got it all-too mapped out? Continue reading Which one can do the impossible?

View from the Proverbial Canoe.

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Picture yourself as the one in the canoe. You don’t have all the information but the confused water speaks for itself.
How worried would you be? Just getting to shore safely would be a common response.

This picture represents crossroads we often face in business:

  • Lack of all the information,
  • Things look murky on the surface
  • Action is needed to recover.
  • Those watching have frozen looks of fear.

If you are at these crossroads, here are some tips on handling fear in your team:

  • Validate the current downside risk: Unless it is death or destruction, dispell the gravity of the danger.
  • Validate the unknowns: Eliminate low probability unknowns. Reinforce the most probable unknowns.
  • Simplify the problem statement in one sentence: Dumb down the visuals to non threatening simple problems.
  • Focusing on the best case scenario will ease feelings of fear. Your team will move in a positive direction. Thoughts have tremendous power to visualise the universe, so make sure you create a good one!

Continue reading View from the Proverbial Canoe.

Quirky People – essential Team Members

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People with a quirky frame of mind are an invaluable asset. Ill go even further and say without these people on your team, it will be hard to do the impossible.

Read further down to my personal meeting to Elon Musk, a great example of quirkiness…

Quirky people think creatively to solve problems and tackle tasks.

  • Think of outside-the-box solutions for problems.
  • Try to see all aspects of a situation.
  • Come up with solutions that no one has thought of before.

Creative People have a great deal of Physical Energy 

  • They work long hours, with great concentration, while projecting an aura of freshness and enthusiasm.

Key characteristic is Courage

  • Quirky creative people adapt to almost any situation and adjust quickly to reach their goals. More than anything else, is their resourcefulness and the courage not to give up.

Continue reading Quirky People – essential Team Members

Inspire people to do the impossible

Henry Worsley explorerAn impossible trek to most, but possible to one

Henry Worsley trekked for seventy-one days and nearly eight hundred nautical miles to reach the south pole single handed in January 2016. He was inspired by Ernest Shackleton who had walked to within ninety-seven miles of his goal in 1909.

Worsley had studied every aspect of Shackleton and admired not only his courage but his leadership and of course his determination.

On January 2nd, 2016 only a day behind schedule, he reached the South Pole. He now had to continue to the Ross ice shelf so he had “crossed” Antartica. To stick to the principle of an “unaided trek” he refused to go into the base at the South Pole. “It was weird arriving here and not stopping,” he wrote in his diary, adding, “Very tempting to stay at Pole—eat and sleep.” He set up his camp nearby maintaining a self-imposed exile.

Worsley did not make the complete journey and he died in hospital of a lung disease shortly after. You can read the story “THE WHITE DARKNESS, A solitary journey across Antarctica. in the New Yorker by David Grann. Grann tells it well. Worsley raised a huge sum of money for a foundation and is now an inspiration to others. Continue reading Inspire people to do the impossible

Art and Science of Product Innovation

Product InnovationCreating the “Impossible”

In my mind, the black art of innovation and the white science of problem solving go hand in hand to “create the impossible”. One needs both for a commercial outcome.

Famous artists follow two broad processes:

  • quick and creative – Picasso, Pollock
  • careful and methodical – Monet (he planted water lilies before painting them)

Both results are innovative: they create something new that hadn’t been before.
However, the probability of commercial success with the “careful and methodical” process is far higher, in my opinion. Here is why: Continue reading Art and Science of Product Innovation