Magic Square of Innovation

March 30, 2006

Marcus Ting-A-Kee has a post on his blog with a great magic square diagram describing a perspective on innovation. This framework provides us with an easy way to assess the potential impact of an innovation. We will…

  • show how to use the square
  • look at some example innovations
  • and use the square to prioritize requirements

The square is Marcus’ creation, and his post includes additional content – he’s given me permission to show it here. Thanks, Marcus

innovation magic square

Potential impact

We can use this diagram to plot innovations and get a feel for how much potential impact they could have.

Points further to the right (having greater strategic scope) have more potential for revenue, by introducing new sources of top-line growth (new sales in new markets) for the company that is innovating.

Points higher up (improving organizational capabilities) have more potential for profit, by increasing top-line growth (new sales in existing markets) or by decreasing costs (gaining operational efficiencies or reducing material costs) .

Some examples in each quadrant:

Improve core business

  • Firefox added tabs to browsing.
  • Adobe made pdf documents interactive (you can fill in the forms directly within some pdf files).

Exploit strategic advantage

  • Microsoft leveraged its operating system platform to sell MS Office to corporate clients (where the real money is).
  • Google monetized search with advertising (instead of becoming a portal like Yahoo and MSN).

Develop new capabilities

  • ICQ realized that instant messages could be sent over the web. [We are excluding talk/ytalk/wall, which only supported geeks. People can use ICQ]
  • Paypal made it possible to pay an individual with a credit card.
  • Dell optimized on process efficiency to allow them to dominate the PC industry

Create revolutionary change

  • P2P file sharing utilizing file “fingerprints” and small portions of files (we think Napster was first, but can’t find a trusted answer).
  • eBay enabled millions of people to bid and auction online in a trusted environment.
  • Salesforce.com is making the ASP/SAS model viable for enterprise software.

Using this approach for determining the high-value requirements

We’ve talked about using ROI to prioritize requirements – we’re probably starting to sound like a broken record about it. Innovation isn’t assured to be valuable. Differentiated innovation is what we must strive for. Once we have our list of differentiated innovations, we can map them onto this grid to get a gut-check about how valuable they might be. We can also use this grid to sanity check projections based upon these requirements.

One way to do this is to write down all of the requirements that represent differentiated innovation on individual post it notes. Draw this magic square on your whiteboard. Put the post-its where they belong in the square. The further up and right the post-it note is, the earlier the release in which it should be scheduled.

source post [tyner blain] 


Dual Screen Wallpapers

March 30, 2006

If you are lucky enough to be able to run multiple monitors on your system, you may sometimes find yourself wishing you could find desktop wallpapers that are optimized across multiple screens. The folks at Dual Screen Wallpaper obviously decided to try to do something about it.

While I really like some of the wallpapers at Dual Screen Wallpapers, I should warn you that they have integrated the advertising in their site in such a way as to try to trick people into making false clicks; the titles and descriptions of each wallpaper are formatted exactly like the text ads that they display at the top of the screen, and they even display an image beside the text ads so that they blend in perfectly with the rest of the site. I'm sure this is a breach of the terms of service for their advertiser so they won't be able to keep this up for long, but for now just be careful of the top two links on the site. I simply can't help linking to them though, as the wallpapers are gorgeous and work beautifully on my dual-screen setup.

source post [download squad] 


Volkswagen-Google-nVidia navigation system

March 18, 2006

Volkswagen-Google-nVidia navigation system

What do you get when you take Google Earth and put it in a Volkswagen? Something like this. Volkswagen has partnered with Google and nVidia to create an in-car navigation system based on Google Earth that shows a driver’s route in 3D. The touch-screen system is Internet-enabled and goes online to find real-time traffic and weather information as well as other travel information like gas stations, restaurants, or hotels. AutoMotoPortal has a half-dozen screenshots for your enjoyment. For now it’s just a prototype, so no word on when we could actually be seeing this in VW’s lineup.

source post [Boing Boing]


Boot XP on Mac right now

March 18, 2006

Windows XP on Intel MacWhen they said “shortly” I didn’t realize just how shortly. narf2006’s $13,000 solution for booting Windows XP on your Intel Mac is available right now, in the form of a 777kb zip file. In order to accomplish the feat you’ll need a PC on which you’ll create a custom slipstreamed XP install disc. In case it’s not obvious, this is not for the faint of heart, but the distribution contains clear instructions in sensible English, which is promising. As you might expect, the XP-on-Mac site is under significant load just now, so if you have difficulties, head over to Engadget for a list of mirrors.

source post [download squad]


Pixrat: Social bookmarking for photos

March 18, 2006

PixratPixrat is basically del.icio.us for photos. I don’t say that disparragingly, though–Pixrat works as advertised and will definitely be useful for some people. By clicking on the Pixrat bookmarklet when viewing a page with a photo on it you can give the photo a description and tags, then later you can browse your boomarked photos with handy thumbnails, optionally searching by tag. You can also, of course, browse everyone else’s photos or view the most popular recent photos. Pixrat does lack a few of del.icio.us’ more powerful features like tag intersections and RSS feeds, but those issues aside, I can see Pixrat as being very useful people who keep track of a lot of stock photos, for example, at a number of different sites.

source post [download squad]


協和客機 英國20世紀設計NO.1

March 17, 2006

最能代表20世紀英國的設計品是什麼 超過20萬英國人票選他們心目中的「代表性設計」 (design i-con),結果已經退役的協和客機成為英國頭號最愛,其他像是迷你裙和倫敦地鐵地圖也進入前五名。

這項票選由倫敦「設計博物館」和英國廣播公司 (BBC)合辦,從1900年以來最能象徵英國的25項設計中,開放民眾票選出十大「代表性設計」,結果共有21萬1700人踴躍投票。

25項設計包羅萬象,從倫敦街頭最具代表性的「紅色雙層巴士」、搖滾天團「披頭四」的Sgt. Pepper專輯封面,到流行的「橫行霸道」電玩遊戲,都是很有「英國味」的設計。

結果由「協和客機」飛向第一,其次依序為倫敦地鐵地圖、英國空軍戰鬥機Supermarine Spitfire、迷你裙和全球資訊網(WWWW),是這次的前五傑。

協和客機由英國航太集團和法國航太公司Aerospatiale設計,外形流線,尖鼻造型雍容華貴,曾為名流最愛,但在911恐怖攻擊後,民航業一片蕭條,協和也難逃「停機」噩運。英航最後一個協和航班在2003年10月走入歷史。

曾負責協和客機的前任科技部長班恩表示,他很高興協和能拿下第一,他說「協和客機在空中飛時,人們會抬頭仰望,它的外型優雅美麗,是具有和平與國際共識的象徵」。

source post [聯合晚報] 2006.03.17


Gabbly: Real-time web chat that doesn’t suck

March 15, 2006

GabblyIn the past few months I’ve seen no fewer than four services that let you chat in real time with people visiting the same web site as you. Most of them, I’m sorry to say, suck. Either they have crappy interfaces, require every user to install an extension or other software, or just don’t work very well. Gabbly is a breath of fresh air. For starters, it requires zero setup–just put the address of the target site after gabbly.com/, e.g. gabbly.com/downloadsquad.com–making it super-easy to get other people to join your chat (just send them the URL). Gabbly is easy to use and looks good, and it has a variety of docking options to keep it out of your way. Behind the scenes, it works by capturing the target web site in a frame, which has some drawbacks, but apart from that Gabbly is great for informal real-time chat. It even has built-in RSS feeds. For web site owners there’s also a Gabbly component that you can embed in any of your pages by simply copying and pasting a bit of code into your pages. At the moment Gabbly is under the heavy load of the Digg effect, but it’s definitely worth checking out if you can.

source post [download squad]