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

hero-1-Float-2

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!

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