Jeff Immelt ran GE for 16 years. He radically transformed the company from a classic conglomerate that did everything to one that focused on its core industrial businesses. He sold off slower-growth, low-tech, and nonindustrial businesses — financial services, media, entertainment, plastics, and appliances. He doubled GE’s investment in R&D.
The Office of Naval Research (ONR) has been one of the largest supporters of innovation in the U.S. Now they are starting to use the Lean Innovation process (see here and here) to turn ideas into solutions. The result will be defense innovation with speed and urgency.
I just watched a very smart company try to manage innovation by hiring a global consulting firm to offload engineering from “distractions.” They accomplished their goal, but at a huge, unanticipated cost: the processes and committees they designed ended up strangling innovation. There’s a much better way.
Annual note to self – most of the world exists outside the tech bubble. —– We have a summer home in New England in a semi-rural area, just ~10,000 people in town, with a potato farm across the street. Drive down the road and you can see the tall stalks of corn waving on other farms. Most people aren’t in tech or law or teaching in universities; they fall solidly in what is called working-class. They work as electricians, carpenters, plumbers, in hospitals, restaurants, as clerks, office...
If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the people to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry I was visiting with an ex-student who’s now the CFO of a large public tech company. The company is still one of the hottest places to work in tech. They make hardware with a large part of their innovation in embedded software and services. The CFO asked me to stay as one of the engineering directors came...
Automobile manufacturers shipped 88 million cars in 2016. Tesla shipped 76,000. Yet Wall Street values Tesla higher than any other U.S. car manufacturer. What explains this more than 1,000 to 1 discrepancy in valuation? The future.
We just finished our second Hacking for Defense class at Stanford. Eight teams presented their Lessons Learned presentations. Hacking for Defense is a battle-tested problem-solving methodology that runs at Silicon Valley speed. It combines the same Lean Startup Methodology used by the National Science Foundation to commercialize science, with the rapid problem sourcing and curation methodology developed on the battlefields in Afghanistan and Iraq by Colonel Pete Newell and the US Army’s...
I gave the Alumni Day talk at U.C. Santa Cruz and had a few things to say about innovation...Even though I live just up the coast, I’ve never had the opportunity to start a talk by saying “Go Banana Slugs.” I’m honored for the opportunity to speak here today. We’re standing 15 air miles away from the epicenter of technology innovation. The home of some of the most valuable and fastest growing companies in the world. I’ve spent my life in innovation, eight startups in 21 years, and the last...
When Colonel Peter Newell headed up the Army’s Rapid Equipping Force (REF) he used lean methods on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan to provide immediate technology solutions to urgent problems. Today, his company BMNT does for government and commercial customers what the Rapid Equipping Force did for the U.S. Army. Pete and I created the Hacking for Defense class (with Joe Felter and Tom Byers.) One of the problems our students run into is that there are always multiple...
I was having a second coffee with an ex student, now the head of a marketing inside a rapidly growing startup. His company had marched through customer discovery, learning about the customer problem, validated solutions and was now scaling sales and marketing. All good news.
I had to laugh when my post about what happens when innovative CEOs retire or die appeared in both the bastion of capitalism– the Harvard Business Review— and in the official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party – The People’s Daily.Then I didn’t.
We’ve just held our seventh and eighth weeks of Hacking for Diplomacy at Stanford, and the attention our course is getting from Washington – and around the world – has been interesting. Following Secretary of State John Kerry’s meeting with the students early in the quarter, Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken paid a visit to the class in Week 7 and four foreign ministers in week 8.
Alexander Osterwalder invented the Business Model Canvas, co-founded strategyzer.com and was the lead author of Business Model Generation which sold a million copies in 30 languages. Alexander and I often collaborate on new ideas for corporate innovation. Here’s his guest post on what bad habits to avoid inside of a company.
We tend to associate the government with words like bureaucracy rather than lean innovation. But smart people within government agencies are working to change the culture and embrace new ways of doing things. The National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) is a great example.
On September 7th – 9th we are holding our first Hacking for Defense & Diplomacy – class for Educators and Sponsors, training educators how to teach these classes in their universities and sponsors how to select problem sets and manage their teams.
In the 21st century it’s harder for large corporations to create disruptive breakthroughs. Disruptive innovations are coming from startups – Telsa for automobiles, Uber for taxis, Airbnb for hotel rentals, Netflix for video rentals and Facebook for media.
We just held our tenth and final week of the Hacking for Defense class. Today the eight teams presented their Lessons Learned presentations. We’re a little stunned about how well the first prototype of this class went. Over half the student teams have decided to continue working on national security projects after this class. Other colleges and universities have raised their hand and said they want to offer this at their school.