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8 Ways to Inspire innovation in the Business of Architecture

Posted by Emilton on August 6, 2016 at 7:55 PM Comments comments (0)


The following is an adaptation from the book "Busby: Architecture's New Edges."

 

In architecture, as with almost every business, innovation is the most valuable ingredient for success over time.

 

When designing for clients — whether it is a university facility or a workplace — it is important to nurture a culture of innovation.

 

This is particularly important in sustainable design, as the impacts of climate change increasingly require architects to demonstrate ingenuity in environmental problem-solving. Investing in innovation is sure to reap healthy returns on business and the planet.

 

Here are a few best practices for architects to encourage creativity and innovation:

 

1. Use the office as an innovation lab

Successful architecture firms allow people the time and physical space to chase new ideas, do research, and exchange meaningful ideas with their peers whenever and wherever the mood catches them.

 

Provide a thoughtfully designed, stimulating work environment for staff that encourages this behavior. Examples might include staircases with wide landings as group seating areas, standup coffee stations where people linger and talk, or a wall of white boards and writable glass.


2. Engage the community

It used to be that a developer would buy property, assemble a plan for how to use it, hire an architect who would obtain the approval from the city, and then the project would get built.

 

Today, it is essential to consult the entire public — not just city planning departments, but also end-users, occupants, and community groups. Engaging all parties in the process of how a building takes shape encourages idea sharing.

 

3. Collaborate with an engineer

On their own, designers can come up with virtually any idea for new and different structures. But without well engineered performance systems, even the most spectacular visual expressions are just ideas.

 

Together, architects and engineers can make ideas a reality by identifying new approaches, material efficiencies, cost savings, and operational systems that allow buildings to perform as well as or better than imagined.

 

4. Embrace technology

With the advent of powerful digital modeling tools, architects can now experiment more dramatically with form.

 

From structures that echo the shape of a native orchid to even more complex shapes developed with the aid of 3D design software, architects should leverage a growing suite of technological tools to meet the needs of both the client and the environment.

 

5. Work with wood

Used to build structures since the beginning of humankind, wood was largely replaced in the mid-19th century by steel and concrete, but it is in fact a far more sustainable design choice.

 

Steel and concrete both have significantly higher carbon footprints from manufacture and transportation. When wood is harvested responsibly, fewer logs fall to the forest floor and decompose, resulting in less methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Encourage design teams to find new and appealing ways to incorporate wood elements.

 

6. Experiment with innovation and new materials

Don’t hesitate to test out alternative material choices. From fiberglass and acrylic to curved glass and salvaged mechanical equipment, the use of nontraditional materials can result in unique, practical, and eye-catching designs that impress clients while minimizing environmental impact.

 

Innovation is at the heart of all successful businesses. Invest time and intellect in innovation around how you practice, and what you design.

 

7. Explore prefabrication and modular design

Working with modular and prefabricated designs allows architects to simultaneously achieve beauty, sustainability, and cost effectiveness.

 

By investing in higher quality repetitive elements, designers can accomplish more, aesthetically speaking, while minimizing environmental impacts and keeping overall project costs lower.

 

8. Seize every opportunity to learn

Internal research and education initiatives empower architects to develop innovative ideas and approaches that can be applied to all projects. Consider investing in and engaging in research projects whose results can be shared with staff, colleagues, and peers.

 

As time goes on, new technologies, materials, processes, and environmental data will continue to fuel the need for architectural innovation. It is up to architecture firms to prioritize innovation at every level. Doing so will ensure better buildings and, ultimately, better business.


Source:  Green Biz

The Evolution Of Customer Service

Posted by Emilton on July 31, 2016 at 4:55 AM Comments comments (0)

For consumers the future of customer service cannot come soon enough. The customer experience landscape is ripe for disruption. Companies are slowly making progress toward more seamless and simpler customer experiences.

 

Today only a select few companies leverage all the technology at their fingertips to enable customers to use the technology they use daily in their personal lives when dealing with the brand. A company on the forefront includes Amazon. Amazon has made progress building a compelling customer journey. It’s not just the vast and efficient marketplace they’ve built–Amazon is innovating on all sides of the consumer equation. They have connected their Amazon virtual assistant the Echo (affectionately called Alexa) with purchases customers make. A customer can order more of a product by just verbally asking the Amazon Echo for it. Want to know how many grams in a kilo? Ask Alexa. Want to play your Spotify list in your kitchen? Alexa will gladly do that for you. Outside of technology innovation, Amazon has the most hassle-free customer service and return process I have seen. Another great company is Sephora. Sephora is using messenger apps like Kik to provide personalized content and buyer experiences to customers. They seek to create interactions that feel tailored to the customer, and one on one. Most companies still haven’t mastered social media, yet alone mobile messaging.

 

Today the technology for most customer service operations is still not savvy enough for customers to avoid the burden of the old phone call. Customers prefer self-service, but will call when it’s a more complicated matter says Kate Leggett, Analyst at Forrester. That includes account closure or booking a complex airline ticket with multi-city travel. It’s only a matter of time until the game changes entirely because of improved technology. Let’s face it, the younger generations do not want to call brands–and those younger generations will soon be the bulk of your customers (not to be morbid or anything, but it’s the truth). We’re at an awkward inflection point where some companies are doing an amazing job of being on the forefront of customer experience technology, and others are still struggling with the basics. In the future customer experiences will be much more simple. I have created an infographic with nine predictions for you on the future of technology versus the past (and where most of our brands are still today). Please see the infographic below and feel free to share the image.

Prediction #1: Technology Makes Experience Better

 

For the consumer it can feel like the brand is hiding behind bad customer service technology. Examples? On the phone tree pressing zero does nothing—there is no human to save you from the bad interactive voice response system. Even though it’s 2016 sometimes customer service technology makes things worse.

 

In a recent article in CIO Magazine an Accenture study was highlighted. Conducted with over 25,000 consumers, it became clear that “Companies have lost sight of the importance of human interaction and often make it too difficult for consumers to get the right level of help and service that they need,” says Robert Wollan, a senior managing director at Accenture Strategy.

I now live near Safeway and I often check out at the self-help kiosk. But I always look to see the cashier lines packed. People don’t want to deal with the technology—because it’s ineffective. In fact every time I check out at the kiosk there is at least one problem. And this is in line with the Accenture research. More than 80% of customers surveyed by Accenture said they would rather solve a problem with a person than interact over digital channels. Hasn’t technology made our lives easier in so many ways? One thing is clear, it still remains a problem for many companies who rely on less than ideal technology environments to service customers. According to CIO Magazine, “Accenture calls the over-reliance on digital media ‘human-less’ customer service, which push customers away at a startling rate; 52% of respondents said they switched brands recently because of poor service. Banks, retailers and cable or satellite providers were the worst offenders, according to Accenture.” However in the future technology will get better and so will the company’s approach. One cannot blame the technology or the company—because both are implicated. In the future there will be better options.

 

Prediction #2: Customer Service Is Open 24/7

 

Customer problems do not only happen five days a week eight hours a day. We live in the global economy where companies must serve customers during many time zones. At the same time customers expect fast responses at night and on weekends. According to influencer and author Jay Baer, 32% of consumers expect a response within 30 minutes through social media channels.

 

The same report found 57% of consumers expect the same response time at night and on weekends as during normal business hours. Companies tomorrow must operate in a 24/7 world. Otherwise they risk losing business.

 

Prediction #3: Customer Is In Control Of Where Interaction Happens

 

Remember when everyone was talking about how brands have lost control? It was kind of a big deal. Brands felt nervous about how customers now controlled the conversation. Social media turned everything on its head. Customer service became part of many very public conversations. This was great for the contact center, it catapulted this department into the limelight, giving more responsibility to knowledgeable employees—improving customer service’s relationship with marketing. However, brands took their strategies and attitudes about customer service and continued to try to control the conversation on social media. We set up customer service outposts on social media. For example on Twitter, along with the main brand’s Twitter account, we set up customer service Twitter accounts. If the brand is @XYZ on Twitter the help account would be @XYZ_help. Many Facebook accounts were set up the same way, with even a separate Facebook page to help customers.

 

The problem with this approach is the proliferation of service channels. Where as today often customers have to tag customer service accounts or write on a brand’s Facebook wall for the brand to find them, in the future you will see less and less of the tagging of service accounts. With the proliferation of channels there is no way for brands to operate with the same approach they have in the last few years. Every week there is a new latest channel customers talk to each other on. They are sending Snaps to friends, Kik, WhatsApp messages, Weibo, WeChat, texts, tweets and Facebook messages. The proliferation of channels is upon us.

 

The challenge for big companies is speed and scale. Brands need to explore technologies that will allow agents a unified workflow solution that moves seamlessly from channel to channel. The technology should allow the brand to focus more on finding the customer, regardless of channel—and allowing the agent to easily pop in and offer service.

 

Prediction #4: Company Knows Information From Every Channel

 

The No. 1 customer frustration according to Harvard Business Review is the customer having to repeat themselves. Internal dysfunction, old CRM technologies and lack of a customer oriented culture all contribute to poor customer experiences like this one. In the old days you could differentiate your product by delivering it cheaper, or maybe faster, but now it’s a different game. It’s not just about solving the customer problem quickly and effectively. Brands need to ensure they are doing all the work, so customers don’t need to remember every single piece of information to provide to the company. What happens when a customer contacts the company from a rural highway in the middle of nowhere? That customer might not have their account information or verbal password. The company will need to make it easier for the customer.


Source:  Forbes

Can the NHS Modernise without going Broke?

Posted by Emilton on May 3, 2016 at 7:20 PM Comments comments (0)

WIRED HEALTH 2016 22 APRIL 16 by NICOLE KOBIE

Can the NHS Modernise without going Broke?

WIRED Health 2016 will take place on 29 April in London. From helping humans live longer and hacking our performance, to repairing the body and understanding the brain, WIRED Health will hear from the innovators transforming this critical sector.


The NHS has a rotten reputation when it comes to technology. But insiders hope that could be about to change. A newly-launched testbed programme, bringing together patients, clinicians and technology companies, is aiming to tackle some of the health service's most urgent problems. As an ageing population and funding uncertainties further stress its budget, the potential breakthrough couldn't be more timely.


At Davos in January, NHS England CEO Simon Stevens announced seven innovation testbeds that will take a different approach to tackling the impending health crisis. The initiatives will address everything from long-term conditions such as diabetes and heart illness, to mental-health and old-age care.


In many ways the promise is worryingly familiar. In 2013, the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee called the national programme for IT – a project to digitise healthcare records – one of the "worst fiascos ever", reporting the failure would cost more than £10 billion. A library of NHS-approved healthcare apps were revealed to be insecure, and last year the National Audit Office said a data-sharing system for GPs was over-budget, behind schedule and at the time only used by one clinic.


The NHS can't afford to not get technology right: the failures cost billions of pounds, and that doesn't include the missed opportunity cost of using everything from big data to telehealth to improve treatment and keep people healthy out of hospitals. Hence the testbeds.


The testbeds evolved out of a five-year plan for the NHS, unveiled in 2014, that will try and work out how to balance budgets with caring for an increasingly elderly population. Two of the testbeds are focused on internet of things technology, with Surrey and Borders partnership NHS Foundation Trust using smart devices to help people with dementia stay at home longer and West of England's Academic Health Science Network developing a diabetes digital coach.


 

The other five testbeds aren't as prescriptive: in North East London and in Lancashire and Cumbria, testbeds are looking to support older people with dementia; Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale NHS is working with Google's Verily on prediction and prevention techniques; Sheffield is looking to help people with diabetes, hypertension and other long-term condition treat themselves at home; and the Birmingham and Solihull project is developing tools for managing mental health.


 

All the projects are designed to help keep people out of expensive hospitals and clinics. A million patients visit the NHS every 36 hours and over the past decade the number of people attending A&E has risen 25 per cent. Alongside that, total hospital admissions have jumped 31 per cent, according to the NHS Confederation. That's only expected to increase as demographics skew older, with the number of people 75 or older up by 89 per cent since the mid 1970s. As long term illnesses affect more people – as of 2013, there were 3.2 million people with diabetes – that's expected to increase to four million within the decade. Budgets, meanwhile, are all but flat, and in 2013-2014 the NHS in ran a £471 million deficit.


Mike Macdonnell is director of strategy at NHS England – which means part of his job is to help "modernise the health system without going broke". It's "partly fair" to criticise the NHS's track record with technology, he says. "Certainly it's not gone as well as we liked, and there have been some very well-publicised problems in the past." But the testbeds will "try to do something different."


How so? Macdonnell points to the idea of "combinatorial innovation" – a phrase he apologises for. "Increasingly, the nature of innovation is – to use a funny word – combinatorial." Patents with a single name are on the decline, while "combination" patents that combine multiple organisations and ideas are on the rise. "This programme seeks to recognise that – putting together different technologies, entrepreneurs and innovators and then, importantly, pairing them in the real-world with NHS services."

 

For example, in Rochdale, pharmaceutical firm MSD is working with Verily (formerly Google Life Sciences) to figure out how to use predictive techniques to avoid people developing long-term conditions. And to do that, rather than simply put out a call for bids, Rochdale has the two companies getting the advice of patients and clinicians and one another. MSD's director of healthcare services Junaid Bajwa admits the company doesn't have the data science skills necessary for its project in Rochdale, so it's teaming up with Verily. "What if you could reimagine healthcare either from the eyes of a startup or reimagine healthcare from non-traditional systems, such as a pharma?" he asks. "Who would you choose to work with?"


Steven Haigh, programme director for the Sheffield testbed, explains that rather than developing a product and taking it to market, or trialling an existing technology, the idea is to identify a problem that needs solving, and ask technology companies to work together to help come up with an answer. "We're not just going to lob a lot of toys and goodies into the system and say: 'Let's make the best of it', we're going to do it completely the other way around," says Haigh. "We want innovators [to] start talking to practitioners to say: 'What are your biggest challenges and where are the biggest opportunities that technology could actually help' – both [in terms of] helping keep patients independent and helping the services coordinate to learn in more effective ways." In other words, the NHS – and that means the doctors, nurses and patients that make it up – will tell technology companies what they need, not the other way around.


Read more: http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2016-04/22/nhs-technology-innovation-testbeds


BMW to Let Car Owners Rent Out Vehicles Like `Airbnb on Wheels'

Posted by Emilton on May 3, 2016 at 7:15 PM Comments comments (0)

BMW to Let Car Owners Rent Out Vehicles Like `Airbnb on Wheels'


By Bloomberg News, 

April 25, 2016 — 11:26 PM CST

Rather than having a car sit for hours on the curb, BMW AG’s Mini brand plans to help its customers turn idle downtime into cash.


Mini plans soon to make its new cars available with devices that enable owners to rent out their vehicles, like Airbnb Inc. does with spare rooms and empty apartments. The system includes features that accept payment and track the vehicle to make sure the renter doesn’t go for a one-way joyride.


“It’s going to be kind of like Airbnb on wheels,” Peter Schwarzenbauer, the BMW executive who oversees Mini, said in an interview at the Beijing motor show. “There’ll be those who say, ‘Never, ever will I lend my car to strangers.’ Then there’ll be others who’ll love the idea of halving their leasing rate.”


If the test goes well, BMW plans to expand the service to its namesake luxury-car brand, Schwarzenbauer said, adding that the technology is easy to install and will be available at “no significant cost” to the owner.


The rental feature is part of BMW’s push into so-called mobility services as ride-sharing operators like Uber Technologies Inc. provide consumers with alternatives to owning an auto. BMW already runs car-sharing in cities in Europe, and it plans to add options like vehicle delivery and a taxi-like chauffeur service this year in a new shared fleet introduced this month in Seattle.


BMW plans training and certification for the chauffeur service to ensure the company offers a premium product, Schwarzenbauer said, adding that there’s been a promising response from people wanting to become drivers. The chauffeur operation will use fixed pricing rather than Uber’s dynamic method, where fares rise during times of high demand, he said. A rollout to about 10 U.S. cities is in the works.


Source: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-04-25/bmw-to-let-car-owners-rent-out-vehicles-like-airbnb-on-wheels

IT Suppliers Key to Business Innovation

Posted by Emilton on April 23, 2016 at 2:25 AM Comments comments (0)

IT Suppliers Key to Business Innovation

The recently released report by the Department for Business and Innovation & Skills (BIS) suggests that businesses in the UK are recognizing the need for innovation, and are increasingly turning to technology for inspiration.

 

Commenting on the report’s findings, managed services provider (MSP) company Annodata says IT service providers are “waking up to the critical role IT service providers have to play in supporting the innovation cycle.”

 

“These figures are highly encouraging and point to a shift away from the transactional, passive IT service provider relationships of old in favour of new, more collaborative partnerships,” says Annodata’s CEO, Rod Tonna-Barthet.

 

“The role of IT in supporting innovation is critical, but many businesses lack the vantage point, time and experience to be able to devise and maintain an IT strategy that will deliver the type of innovation required. IT service providers, in theory, have the skills and experience needed to support fundamental change, but that challenge is that many fail to properly get to grips with their clients’ business objectives.”

 

He added that, even though they are in the tech industry, the services provided are more about helping business change and less about tech itself. Approaching each client with the knowledge of their ‘pain points’, helps them make strategic recommendations.

Such recommendations can help businesses innovate, and ultimately, “add value to the bottom line”.

 

Source: http://www.itproportal.com/2016/03/29/it-suppliers-key-to-business-innovation/



Lego Wheelchair Toys Message Disabilities

Posted by Emilton on March 12, 2016 at 2:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Lego Wheelchair Toys Message Disabilities

Sometimes the smallest of things have the capacity to make the biggest of impacts. Last week Lego unveiled its first ever wheelchair-using mini-figure at Nuremberg toy fair, an inch-tall plastic boy sporting a beanie and hoodie who forms part of a Fun in the Park set going on sale in June this year. For a small guy he’s been making big waves, inspiring global press coverage and online jubilation from Lego fans, parents and disability groups.

 

“But he’s just a little guy,” I hear you say, “a plastic dude out for a wheel in the park with his dog and a bunch of other mini-figures. What’s the big deal?”

The message behind Lego’s wheelie boy is so much larger than his teeny-tiny stature. His birth in the toy box marks a seismic shift within children’s industries. There are 150 million children with disabilities worldwide, yet until now they have scarcely ever seen themselves positively reflected in the media and toys they consume.

 

In her recently published book Disability and Popular Culture, Australian academic Katie Ellis writes: “Toys mirror the values of the society that produce them …” If Lego is mirroring, it’s reflecting a better world. Intentionally or not, it has sent out a powerful message of inclusion.

 

Lego seems to have been unprepared for the excitement its wheelchair-using boy would cause. When he rolled on to the stands of Nuremberg Toy Fair, Lego wasn’t treating him as anything special – he was just nestled among the crowd. The company hadn’t prepared any photos for journalists and, when approached by the Press Association, could only say that he would reach the shops in June. Yet the figure’s very existence was noteworthy, so unusual that he grabbed the headlines during a week of international toy fairs. (Alongside big-bottomed, flat-footed “normal woman” Barbie – but that’s a whole other story.)

The delighted response only highlights the size of the void that Lego’s wheelchair boy comes to fill. This beast is ravenous because we’ve never really fed it before.

 

The toys, TV, films, games, apps and books that entertain and educate our children barely feature children with any kind of impairment or difference. Their lives are not reflected. They’re invisible. How do you grow a positive self-esteem when the culture around you appears to place no value on your existence? It does not celebrate you. On the rare occasions when you are depicted, it’s frequently as a disability stereotype – in a medical setting (toy hospital set), as an evil baddie (Captain Hook) or associated with charity (BBC’s Children in Need). Your hopes, dreams, imaginations and experiences are ignored. You are culturally marginalised. Washed away by the mainstream. As the academic and bio-ethicist Tom Shakespeare – himself a wheelchair user – said, there’s a danger that disabled children will feel “like permanent outsiders in the world”.

When did you last see disability represented positively in a children’s film, cartoon, or computer game? Have you ever seen a set of emojis that reflect the disabled experience in a celebratory way? Alexandra Strick of Inclusive Minds, a group calling for greater representation of disabled children in publishing, says, “The disturbingly low number of books featuring disabled characters is a perpetual concern. I’m frequently asked for lists of books which feature disabled characters. It’s extremely challenging to find more than a handful.”

 

Everyone knows there’s something wrong with how we represent disabled people, but it seems no one knows quite how to fix it. We dance delicately around disability, scared to offend or get it wrong, so we don’t do it. This exclusion is causing damage to millions of children, yet the answer is quite simple. Just include it in an incidental, celebratory way. Move on from the baseline negative, which treats disability as somehow lesser, in need of fixing or overcoming, and see it for what it is – benign human variation, part of the spectrum of human life. Let’s hope that one day positive representations of disability are included so seamlessly across children’s industries that they cease to be noteworthy at all.

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/feb/01/lego-wheelchair-toys-message-disabilities

Inside the New Royalty Split for 'Uptown Funk': Who Gets Paid What

Posted by Emilton on March 12, 2016 at 1:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Inside the New Royalty Split for 'Uptown Funk': Who Gets Paid What

Success, in music especially, has many fathers -- just look at "Uptown Funk!" With a ballooning songwriter count, how do these new names get paid?

Songwriting credits for "Uptown Funk!" went to four people initially: Ronson, Mars, Phillip Martin Lawrence and Jeffrey Bhasker. However, before the song was even released it had gained two more: Nicholas Williams (AKA Trinidad James) and producer Devon Gallaspy, the authors of "All Gold Everything," both receiving a share for a sampling interpolation. This credit was shared at the behest of the original songwriters/publishers; Billboard's sources say the team behind the hit reached out to Gallaspy and Williams without prompting. Gallaspy and Williams spit a 15 percent take, leaving the original four songwriters with a 21.25 percent share each.

Downloads of "Uptown Funk!" hit sales of 5.5 million units in the U.S., while Ronson's album scanned 95,000 units, according to Nielsen Music -- about $510,000 in U.S. mechanical publishing royalties (at $0.091 per song).

 

YouTube uploads which feature the master "Uptown Funk!" recording and which have generated at least 10 million views -- five, according to Billboard's search -- show 672,617,094 views. Assuming 40 percent of those views had ads placed against them, and using a blended rate of $0.0045 cents per view, then total revenue on YouTube, both label and publishing shares, was $2.201 million. A publishing synchronization rate of 15 percent would produce royalties of $330,000. These figures don't take into account the many user-generated videos, where the publishing would receive a 50 percent cut of net revenue.

Taking into account both U.S. mechanicals and the five YouTube videos using the master recording that Billboard analyzed, the song will have produced about $840,000 in publishing revenue -- before being split between the publishers and the songwriters.

 

As sources told Billboard, two months ago Minder Music, on behalf of the Gap Band, put in a claim in the YouTube system, driving its system to flag the song for having ownership claims above 100 percent, causing YouTube to cease payments to all publishers and placing the revenue in escrow until the ownership claims are resolved. That situation resulted in another settlement, which sees the "Oops" songwriters/band members -- Charlie, Robert and Ronnie Wilson along with keyboardist Rudolph Taylor and producer Lonnie Simmons -- each receiving 3.4 percent of the song, a total of 17 percent. Consequently, all four original songwriters now each get 17 percent of the song -- down 4.25 percent each had prior to the Gap Band's claim.

 

The money YouTube was holding in escrow is expected to be released soon in light of the settlement.

Executives from the publishing firms affiliated with "Uptown Funk!" have divided opinions on whether the recent "Blurred Lines" lawsuit (which the principals are asking to revisit) played a role in the further splitting of songwriting credit for "Uptown Funk!" One executive says that, in general, most songwriting disputed claims get settled out of court and when they do a jury trial -- like there was in the "Blurred Lines" case -- is rare

Danny Zook -- who manages Trinidad James, oversees the artist publishing company Trinlanta, and runs sample-clearing house Alien Music -- says he wasn't privy to the settlement negotiations between the Gap Band/Minder Music and the Ronson/Mars/Lawrence/Bhasker songwriters and publishers. But asked whether he believes the March decision around Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" -- in which a jury ordered its songwriters to pay $7.4 million to the estate of Marvin Gaye -- had an impact on this move, Zook says, "Everyone is being a little more cautious. Nobody wants to be involved in a lawsuit. Once a copyright dispute goes to a trial, [if a jury is used], it is subject to be decided by public opinion -- and no longer resolved based entirely on ­copyright law."

Source: http://www.billboard.com/articles/business/6553861/uptown-funk-royalties-who-gets-paid


Fundable Start-up Ideas (That Matter)

Posted by strategicvisionlimited on January 12, 2015 at 8:35 AM Comments comments (0)


 

Fundable Start-up Ideas That Matter


Startup Ideas (That Matter)

 

It can be difficult to find a business idea for a start-up that is fundable but by addressing any of the challenges and areas listed below chances are significantly higher to succeed. Below are a few areas and challenges waiting for start-ups to solve them or improve upon them that are fundable, useful and life changing.

 

1. Energy – low-cost energy directly increases the quality of life

 

Cheap energy, from new sources and long-lasting batteries. Generally speaking, anything you can create to make energy from current energy sources cheaper will be revolutionary. Same goes for extracting energy out of new sources. The newer sources of energy are solar, wind, ethanol biofuels, biofuels from other sources, like Jatropha, geothermal, hydrogen, thorium, etc.

 

2. Artificial intelligence

 

Programs that imitate human creativity, desire and consciousness. This is just as revolutionary as it is overhyped. For all the talk, there has not been a practical breakthrough. Perhaps, it helps to point out there won’t be a single artificial intelligence machine. Rather products that will apply A.I. to create artificial creativity, artificial reasoning, etc. will be useful.

 

3. Robots

 

From self-driving cars to space exploration. Robots are already here in manufacturing and military uses. There are few consumer robots yet. As with Garmin GPS, the breakthrough could come by adopting military technology for consumer needs rather than developing robotic hardware and software from scratch.

 

4. Biotech

 

Slowing ageing, downloading memories, genetic programming. The ultimate promise of biotech to make us disease free and forever young, seems to be almost within reach now. The Human Genome project is finished. Now it’s a matter of figuring out how to tweak the genes. There are moral considerations in this, too. A startup that addresses either side of this story would be revolutionary.

 

5. Healthcare

 

Preventative healthcare, sensors, data and medical devices. In the United States health care is far too expensive. And not as effective as it could be. A startup that would make medical insurance less costly, or better yet create a preventative healthcare system is worth funding.

 

6. Pharmaceuticals

 

Noortropics, smart drugs that enhance human intelligence. Drugs should be developed faster, and less expensively. Preventative drugs, and drugs that enhance not patch up human health after the fact would be worth funding.

 

7. Food and Water

 

Solving upcoming problems with food and water availability. Between 1940s and 1960s Norman Borlaug led the Green Revolution that saved 1 billion people from starvation, especially after World War II. New uses of pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers as well as new genetically engineered breeds of high yield crops were employed to greatly increase global food production. The new water and food crisis is inevitable as global population is rising. A startup that discovers new food sources, or optimizes the current ones, would save millions of lives. Same goes for water. Desalination of sea water that is commercially feasible will be a breakthrough.

 

8. Education

 

Combine mass-scale tech with one-on-one in-person interaction. Connecting students to the right disciplines and the right teachers would make the world population smarter. Although you can’t scale good teachers physically, you can scale their reach through the internet, even in one-on-one teaching. Education being the key to when all the things on this list happen, this may be a starting point for those reading this who are not sure what to do.

 

9. Internet Infrastructure

 

Better security and free communication. Internet is still vulnerable to governments, natural disasters, hacking, and it’s own size. Products that will keep the servers safe, boost security, and invent better ways to store vast amounts of information are worth funding.

 

10. Government

 

Replacing bad software, crowdfunding for social services. Government is a very large client. Its software is routinely outdated or just plain bad. It can be done better with the efficiency of a startup.

 

11. Human Augmentation

 

Software that makes humans happier and more organized

 

12. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

 

Virtual and augmented reality that mimics physical presence. It seems like it’s here but it’s not. VR and AR is still scary enough to not be a daily product most people use. A startup that makes it practical enough to “de-scarify” it is worth funding.

 

13. Science

 

Material, nanotech, space technology. Only universities and large companies can afford large-scale scientific research today. They are not always efficient. Why couldn’t there be independent research labs? Perhaps, crowd-funded ones?

 

14. Transportation

 

Lightweight, short distance personal transportation. No one likes to commute. Yet, the real estate market shows that commuting won’t go anywhere for the next while. What we can do is make commuting more convenient. Small personal vehicles running on clean energy would be the key.

 

15. One Million Jobs

 

Creation of new jobs for humans that can not be done by computers. Many jobs will inevitably default to robots and computers over the next years. That does not means humans will be out of work. People will fill new professions altogether. But someone needs to educate and train for those professions of the future. Someone needs to build the robots.

 

16. Programming

 

What comes after programming languages? Even given how in demand programming is, there is still a high barrier to entry. Not much has changed since 20 years ago. Programmers are still educated in the same way and work with similar technical issues. New programming tool and education can change that.

 

17. Hollywood 2.0

 

New ways to discover celebrities online and distribute content. New talent is no longer scouted out by agents. The audience of YouTube can directly select who they like. And those celebrities can directly interact with their fans. A startup can help people discover talent on YouTube.

 

18. Diversity

 

Make tech more inclusive to all ages, races and cultures. Some demographics have historically enjoyed less social and financial success. Does it have to be so? The education system and the work environment can be changed to make any ethnicity, race, and gender to perform at their top level.

 

19. Developing Countries

 

Vertical integrated businesses in China, India and SE Asia. Many services and products are not available in the developing world simply due to poor logistics, not because of lack of demand. A startup that optimizes international delivering, imports, etc. is worth funding.

 

20. Enterprise Software

 

Making expensive software cheap. Software used by large companies has lagged behind the consumer market for a while. It’s time to change that. There is not reason you should even have to mail letters or fax receipts to get your refunds from large retailers, for example.

 

21. Financial Services

 

Better ways to save and invest money. Unless you are particularly wealthy, financial services that help you grow whatever money you do have are almost non-existent. A startup that finds new ways to invest money for not-so-high-net-worth individuals is worth funding.

 

22. Telecommunications

 

Even better than Skype. Other than Skype and Whatsapp, there has not really been a breakthrough in how we talk to each other at a distance. Communicating could be faster and simple with more effective usage of broadband. Also, fewer ads.

 

23. ...

 

Are there more areas or global challenges that would be fundable that can be added to this list?

 

 

 

Based on Paul Graham’s Y Combinator request for startups from Sept 2014 and illustrated by Anna Vital from Funders and Founders http://fundersandfounders.com/startup-ideas-that-matter/

 

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Consumers Say Companies Should Do More to Solve World Problems

Posted by strategicvisionlimited on November 25, 2011 at 7:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Consumers Say Companies Should Do More to Solve World Problems

85% of consumers expect companies to become actively involved in solving social and environmental challenges and 72% of consumers does not think that companies are working hard enough to solve these issues.

  • 44% say they'd punish irresponsible companies
  • 51% of consumers say they'd reward responsible companies by choosing to buy their products
  • 53% say they'd pay a 10% premium for a product produced in a responsible way

All three figures are up substantially from last year.


So doing good in the world can in addition to give the company a better image also give the company more loyal and happier customers who might be willing to pay a slightly higher price for a product produced in a more responsible way.

However, "only 20% trust companies when they communicate about their social/environmental commitments and initiatives" so 'doing good in the world' and addressing these issues needs to be more than a PR-exercise.


Source: Meaningful Brands—Havas Media launches global results

 

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The Bank of Facebook

Posted by strategicvisionlimited on March 26, 2010 at 8:24 AM Comments comments (0)

How Facebook can change to bank industry and other industries.

With Facebook approaching a billion people there are lot of opportunities to do a lot of different things including developing completely new business models in areas such as banking.


Peer-to-peeer lending could be such as an area where Facebook could develop a global lending business similar to Zopa side-steping banks.


Purchasing is another area where Facebook could use the massive negotiating power of a huge network to change how people are purchasing goods and services.


In this video Thomas Power from Ecademy talks about some of these ideas and possibilities.

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Strategic Vision Limited
www.strategicvisionlimited.co.uk

 

The Web in Five Years Time - according to Google

Posted by strategicvisionlimited on November 13, 2009 at 1:02 PM Comments comments (0)

Google chief executive Eric Schmidt claims that within five years we will be consuming a 'radically different' internet, dominated by Chinese language and social media content delivered via super-fast broadband.


Google's Eric Schmidt claims the web will look radically different in five yearsSpeaking at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo Orlando 2009, Schmidt outlined his vision of the future, claiming that how to rank real-time social content is "the great challenge of the age,"


He also advised brands to listen to youth consumers when drawing up their marketing strategies. "Talk to a teenager about how they consume media and remember in five years they'll be your employee," he said.


Here's an overview of Schmidt's vision:


1. Five years from now the internet will be dominated by Chinese-language content.

 

2. Five years is a factor of ten in Moore's Law, meaning that computers will be capable of far more by that time than they are today.

 

3. Within five years there will be broadband well above 100MB in performance - and distribution distinctions between TV, radio and the web will go away.

 

4. "We're starting to make significant money off of Youtube", content will move towards more video.

 

5. "Real time information is just as valuable as all the other information, we want it included in our search results."

 

6. "We can index real-time info now - but how do we rank it?"

 

7. It's because of this fundamental shift towards user-generated information that people will listen more to other people than to traditional sources. Learning how to rank that "is the great challenge of the age." Schmidt believes Google can solve that problem.


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www.strategicvisionlimited.co.uk