Creating an Ecosystem that Encourages Disruptive Innovation

Innovation, Ecosystem
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By Gene Quinn | IPWatchdog

Without strong patent rights the incentive for risk-taking entities and the investors who support them is simply not present. The risk-reward calculus tilts too far toward risk for investors when patent rights are weak, as they are now in America. This is one reason why today there is more funding in China for inventions related to artificial intelligence than in the United States.

A weak patent system that tilts toward risk and away from reward only works to starve those small, nimble actors most likely to achieve paradigm-shifting, disruptive innovation. Large entities full of mid-level managers and bureaucratic red tape have lost the ability to innovate. That is why giant tech companies like Google and Facebook either acquire smaller innovative companies or they simply copy smaller companies, as Facebook has rather notoriously explained is its policy and they have obviously done with respect to Snap.

When the risk-reward calculus tilts toward risk, particularly when it does so in such a dramatic fashion as it has over the last decade in America, those nimble, creative actors are starved of the capital they so desperately need. This is true because innovation doesn’t just happen, despite what so many of the tech elite want you to believe.

If by chance you believe innovation just happens, as if by magic, ask yourself why it is the Microsoft invests $11 billion annually into research and development? If innovation just happens why spend so much money to create something that will already come to fruition on its own? Saying, or believing silently, that innovation just happens and doesn’t require an ecosystem to support, encourage and nurture it is ludicrous. You might as well believe in leprechauns riding unicorns sliding down rainbows!

Taking risk is absolutely required in order to achieve innovation of a magnitude great enough to have any hope to compete with entrenched market players. This should hardly be surprising. By its very nature innovation is the act of introducing something new; something that has never existed before. Challenging what is established is never easy. The path of least resistance is simply to go along, not to disrupt.

Oddly, the merits of disruptive innovation are trumpeted in every corner of the business world and throughout Silicon Valley, but then policies are advocated that make such innovation all the more difficult to achieve. If we want disruptive innovation we need an ecosystem that supports, encourages and nurtures risk-taking.

If you want to ensure you have a bountiful harvest you don’t just plant a single tomato plant and hope for the best. You plant several, perhaps many, which maximizes your chances of getting the tomatoes you want and need. Innovation is no different. The more risk-taking that results the greater the likelihood that one or more of the resulting innovations will be disruptive.

Assuming America wants paradigm-shifting, truly disruptive innovation we need to recognize the need to incentivize the risk-takers and those that provide the capital to those risk-takers who dare to challenge the status quo. This means policies, laws and rules that foster innovative activities from smaller entities who are most likely to innovate.

With an eye toward policies, laws, rules and actions that would most benefit innovators, their endeavors more attractive to investors and more feasible to pursue, the U.S. should adopt policies, laws, rules and actions including:

  1. Treating patents as property, not a government franchise, not as a public right, but as a vested property that is presumed valid in all forums and treated as a real asset with a quieted title at some point.
  2. Declaring loud and clear that software, medical diagnostics, medical discoveries and biotech innovations are patent eligible.
  3. Recognize that a patent cannot be property without the right to exclude, and when a patent has been infringed and withstood all invalidity challenges the patent owner must presumptively be entitled to an injunction.
  4. Institute fewer post grant challenges because surely if the Office is correct about the 96+ percent quality output of examiners there cannot be as many mistakes made during prosecution as have been identified by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB).
  5. Requiring the PTAB to issue final written decisions confirming the validity of patent claims challenged by not instituted, which would allow estoppel to attach to those claims the PTAB has necessarily determined to be not likely invalid.
  6. Introducing a new category of entity between micro-entity and small entity for companies with 50 or fewer employers, which would benefit small businesses and start-ups that actually innovate.
  7. Moving applications to the front of the line where the micro-entity or small business applicant has received angel, venture capital or crowd funding, which will advance technologies that have the greatest commercial potential.
  8. Reducing or eliminating all USPTO fees for micro-entities and the newly created small business category.
  9. Redefining micro-entities so that the number of patent applications filed no longer disqualifies applicants from micro-entity status, which unnecessarily disqualifies serial independent inventors.
  10. Instructing patent examiners to actually follow the law and presume the applicant is entitled to a patent unless a credible rejection can be made, and terminating or reassigning patent examiners who refuse to follow the law and instructions from senior Officials.
  11. Terminating, or reassigning, patent examiners who have not issued patents for years.
  12. Shift quality review of patent examiners away from primarily considering only patents granted to equally considering patent applications that are denied.

Turning the patent system around is possible, but bold action is required given the significant hole America has dug for itself, and given so many nations around the world understand that a strong patent system is the way to economic prosperity.

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The 10 I’s of Innovation

Ideas, Innovation, Inspiration

When you are inspired, an idea can promote imagination, with resources that provide information to identify factors for inventing and inviting creative minds to the table to integrate their insights for implementing innovation.

There is not one single ingredient that brings innovation to fruition, but all of the components that formulate innovation should not be underestimated or devalued.

The I’s In Innovation

Innovation, Ideas, Invention, Business

The I’s In Innovation
By Kym Gordon Moore

When you hear mention of the word innovation, what comes to mind? Technology? Biometrics? Virtual reality? Androids? Data mining? Holograms? Wearable devices? Driverless cars? Let’s face it, innovation is nothing new, but it has become our sizzling buzzword of the century. Not to be confused with the word invention, innovation provides better solutions for a market’s unstipulated or existing needs.

In order to survive in today’s business climate, regardless of how large or small an organization is, or what industry they are in, the creation of new internal processes, new products, new additions to service offerings or overall business structures is vital. Innovation can refer to creating something new (an idea, method or device) or changes made to an existing product.

These 8 essential components will help you stay on target of your innovation strategy:

1. Ideas: Abstract concepts, mental representational images that you have in order to create, expand or reinvent your product or service for your organization.

2. Imagination: The creative ability to visualize, form, transform and integrate those ideas into functional products or solutions.

3. Inspiration: The process of learning through visual thinking or divine influence by moving intellect to motion and emotion.

4. Investigation: Discovering, studying, gathering or inquiring information and resources to produce an end-product for your users.

5. Identification: To recognize and establish your idea or invention into quantifiable and qualifiable opportunities and benefits to market your product or service.

6. Investment: A monetary, educational or time asset that will provide productivity for future profits and growth development of the organization.

7. Integrity: Ethics in all aspects of business practices influences the culture of attracting new customers, increases loyalty among current employees and affects the organization’s reputation in relationship building with stakeholders, business partners, and suppliers.

8. Influencer: Those individuals or influences (e.g. testimonials, reviews) who make a positive or negative impact on decision-making by potential buyers. Opportunities in your marketing activities, social influence, the power of persuasion, the collective teamwork of employees and other external interactions impact advocacy and promotion.

Innovation entails disruptive thinking, passion, putting your plan into place and unwavering perseverance, while delivering an excellent customer experience, by meeting their needs and making a difference in their lives.


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Fab Cab is LCCC innovation on wheels

With receiving freshly printed copies of a Stocker Arts Center 2017 brochure, Tracy Green, vice president of strategic and institutional development at Lorain County Community College, speaks passionately Aug. 15, 2017, about new developments at 1005 N. Abbe Road in Elyria. Carol Harper — The Morning Journal

A maker space on wheels rolls out in the form of a Fab Cab this school year from Lorain County Community College.

The Fab Cab is a mobile Fab Lab destined for Scout meetings, libraries, civic groups and school clubs throughout Lorain County, said Tracy Green, vice president of strategic and institutional development at LCCC at 1005 N. Abbe Road in Elyria.

The Fab Cab is one of many innovations introduced this month as LCCC continues a tradition of introducing locally cutting edge trends academically.

School starts Aug. 28 at LCCC, Green said, adding the crew enjoyed a great Jack Nicklaus golf outing Aug. 14 to raise money for scholarships.

Cindy Kushner, director of marketing and outreach initiatives at LCCC, said she is excited about the opportunity to talk about the first bachelor’s degree at the community college.

The Bachelor’s of Microelectronic Manufacturing meets a need of companies in Northeastern Ohio, Kushner said.

“And right now we have a wonderful associate’s degree we’re recruiting students into,” Green said.

The education stream follows a “learn and earn” model, Kushner said, with a student in class a couple of days a week, and working for an employer in the field and applying what they learned a few days a week.

“It’s very well received by students and employers,” she said.

The college is working with about 20 different companies across the region, such as Synapse Biomedical in Oberlin and Core Technology in Avon, Green said.

“It involves engineering technology jobs,” she said. “They’re working with companies that are making their products what we call, ‘smart.’

“So they’re embedding sensors. There are many, many sensors like what is in that phone. They’re taking those same types of sensors and they’re putting them into new products that can communicate and provide data outside of them.”

Examples are medical devices, workout equipment or athletic gear, Kushner said.

“It’s across the board,” she said. “It’s really everything.”

It’s a pretty significant movement, Green said.

“Now they have sensors embedded in running shoes so you can tell when you should be changing your shoes,” she said. “It will look at any type of wear and tear on the shoe and the stability of the insole, everything is becoming customized and providing data to the consumer so they can make decisions about when they should buy a new pair of shoes.”

“I used to be excited when they would light up,” Kushner said.

“Now they’re talking to our iPhones,” Green said.

The available labs limit starting the class to 12 students a semester for this stream.

Green said when she started her career, she had no idea it would lead to preparing students for these and similar innovations.

“Every day I wonder, ‘What’s going to happen new today?’” she asked. “Everything is different every day.

“You can’t even describe careers now because you have to be able to work across many different areas.”

So, LCCC built a new Campana Center for Ideation and Invention on the south edge of campus, with more new developments to add soon.

“Talking about cutting edge and innovation,” Green said. “When you’re talking about a career, sometimes it’s not working for someone else; it’s working for yourself and creating an entrepreneurial path. We have expanded our Fab Lab significantly. So someone can take that idea and turn it into a product and then get support working with our entrepreneurship program to be able to turn that product into a business.”

That’s what LCCC is excited about, Green said.

“Particularly as you talk about the next generation, we see that movement of folks who prefer to be their own boss, to be an entrepreneur themselves and to grow their own company,” she said. “It’s the ability to give them the tools and the resources to do that.

“Within that building, you can come in and you can design a new product on the computer. Using software you can view it in 3-D form in virtual reality, then go from that concept to a printed part using additive manufacturing and be able to hold that product in a matter of hours.”

Tech savvy can happen any time, but often starts young.

Kushner said she works a lot with students from kindergarten through grade 12.

She said she envisions a grandparent bringing a grandchild to the college to work on a project together.

“We have some very exciting programming for K-12 students that is going to inspire that entrepreneurial spirit in that world of making,” Kushner said.

Soon, the college will take the Fab Lab on the road through the Fab Cab, Green said.

“We can take that to a classroom, to a Girl Scout meeting, community libraries and have that experience out in the community and hopefully, have them come in and use the Campana Center,” Kushner said.

It fits inside a van, Green said, so it’s portable.

“On the partnership side, I’m really excited about the Master’s of Business Administration, the MBA,” Kushner said. “It’s with Lake Erie College. We have a good group — I think there’s room for a couple more — we have a nice group starting this fall on their Parker MBA through Lake Erie College in the Painesville area. They are just wonderful.”

And a new associate degree of Applied Science in Cyber and Information Security will enable students to prevent breeches in Internet access, and viruses, Green said.

For example, they would learn how hackers steal credit card information, and how to prevent hacker access, she said.

Not a new development for LCCC but possibly new information for Lorain residents, Kushner said, are two LCCC learning centers in Lorain.

One learning center is across from Lorain City Hall at 201 W. Erie Ave.

The other center is at Lorain High School at 2600 Ashland Ave.

“There’s confusion at the Lorain High School site,” Kushner said. “It’s for the community, not just for the high school.”

People in neighborhoods around Lorain High are welcome to take college classes there, she said, adding there are college programs designed for high school students that are not open to the general public.

Those are separate programs.

About 35 percent of high school seniors in Lorain County are graduating with some LCCC college credits, Kushner said, adding that’s “substantially higher than the rest of the state.”

“One other really cool thing is our support of veterans,” Green said. “We’re recognizing their knowledge and skills as they come back to civilian life.”

Veterans can access a fast track to civilian careers as paramedics, EMTs, technicians or other areas.

“They have already had a lot of that training,” Green said. “How do we help them translate that into a civilian career?”

Recently, LCCC released a new season schedule for the Stocker Arts Center, Green said.

“While we focus on students, we also know we are the community’s college,” she said.

Don’t Think Outside the Box

InKnowvative Concepts, Outside the Box, Creativity
Image Source: InKnowvative Concepts

Don’t think outside the box, just don’t climb in it! – InKnowvative Concepts

Sometimes we get stalemated and need a pick-me-up. The tired and mundane either need revamping or a total application of disruptive thinking. Shake things up and dare to do something bold and different!