“Internet of Things” – Biggest Breakthrough Since the Internet 

 November 25, 2014

By  Howard Cooper

Only once every 15-20 years I come across an article or white paper so pertinent, so pivotal and so applicable to almost everyone I know, that I simply have to tell everyone I know.  And, here it is!  The November 2014 Harvard Business Review (HBR) published the article, How Smart Connected Products Are Transforming Competition (A spotlight on managing the Internet of Things).

The paper discusses in some detail new microchips and sensors, which in the past year have started the next 15-20 year cycle of innovation (IT Wave 3). The HBR paper tells how the Internet of Things will impact you, your business; the products and services you will use, buy and be able to sell. It also discusses the risks companies are taking if they don’t consider how this new technology can become part of their strategy.  Many of these new products will be disruptive innovations, so special disruptive patterns and models need to be considered. Whether the product is purchased from a vendor or developed in-house, a disruptive innovation can easily damage or destroy your business.  The i3DAY innovation methodology uses Clayton Christensen’s methods and models, for managing disruptive innovations (see The Inventors Dilemma, by Clayton Christensen)

For those interested in TRIZ, or Structured Innovation, remember that when a “level 4” invention comes along it opens a whole new round of innovation and inventions.  It makes moving to the next level possible in the “patterns of evolution” discussed below.

These new microchips and micro-sensors, discussed in the November HBR, bring full computing, connectivity, Internet, monitoring and software capability inside a product—rather than attached to or standing outside of a product. They provide a step up in the following patterns and principles of innovation:

  • Moving from large, to small, to micro and more flexible segmented components
  • Electrical wired to wireless connectivity
  • Speed, computational and increased internal and intra-system control capabilities
  • TRIMMING – Moving functionality to the super system
  • Internal software (energy) replacing bulky mechanical and/or electrical circuitry.
  • Shortening energy and function transfer distance
  • Reduced power consumption and increased reliability due to electronic logic circuits replace by software.
  • Making your system all it needs to be, to meet the “9 Windows” Super System of the Future.

Revolutionary improvements made possible by this new technology include improvements in monitoring, control, optimization, autonomy and super-system connectivity, synergy and harmonized rhythm.  self-coordinating and self diagnosis, self-compensating for increased reliability and becoming a system within systems.

Seattle Sensors, MicroChip and Cisco are a few companies ready to supply the hardware, software and connectivity designs for this new technology.

These devices will enable you to dramatically improve almost every one of the 39 Design Parameters and overcome system design constraints or solve conflicting parameters.  That’s a massive amount of innovation. It will drive the US and World economies over the next ten to fifteen years.  The fear-mongering economic forecaster’s don’t know what they are talking about if they don’t talk about these innovation drivers.  Innovation has alway driven our economic growth.

For guidance on how to; innovate more quickly, learn to use the tools of structured innovation, set strategy for disruptive innovations, how to build organizational behaviors of innovation and how to attract and hold innovative thinkers, read our previous blog entries, or contact i3DAYinnovation.com

Don’t miss reading this pivotal HBR Review on How Smart Connected Products Are Transforming Competition

Featured image by Akaclaudio under CC license, remixed by Clark Cooper.

About the author

Howard C. Cooper is a Design for Six Sigma Black Belt, Systems Engineer and founder of i3DAY Innovation. Over the past decade he coached 26 different product development teams at General Dynamics through solving their most critical challenges; design constraints, safety, reliability, etc. All 26 design and development projects were accepted in critical design peer reviews. All 26 were adopted by the U.S. Army, currently saving $233 million per year, over the legacy systems they had been using.

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