Linking Ideas & Innovation

Archive for the 'Standards' Category

Innovation Channels

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

Webster defines a channel as “a way, course, or direction of thought or direction of thought or action.”  These channels will be courses of action leading to innovation.  Much like distribution channels give producers a choice of how their product is distributed, innovation channels are the choices by which innovation skills are accessed, and apply to both internal efforts as well as external ones.  As the whole notion of open innovation has flourished, there have been few attempts to provide practitioners with a concrete set of guidelines for how and when to select an innovation channel.

Insight on innovation channels is explored by Alpheus Bingham and Dwayne Spradlin in their book The Open Innovation Marketplace: Creating Value in the Challenge Driven Enterprise.  This insert will provide you with sources for establishing a foundation on the channels themselves and their distinctions:

  1. Internal – Innovating using the existing resources, namely people and equipment, within an organization.
  2. Contract Research Organization – A well-defined range of specialties and capabilities.  In many instances, they repeat a given type of research more frequently than a product innovator does.  This gives them a competitive edge for conducting certain studies.
  3. Electronic Request for Proposals – A contracting group can access organizations they may be unaware of and expand the range of alternatives prior to selection and agreement of terms.
  4. Off-Shoring – Differently from outsourcing, this channel refers to the placement of the work in countries where labor costs are significantly lower.
  5. Crowdsourcing, Ideation – The broadcasting of challenges to a wide audience but with the expectation that the solving audience would respond with only their ideas or a theoretical justification for why their approach should work.
  6. Crowdsourcing/Reduction to Practice – The solving community will also conduct the studies required for “reduction to practice.” The solving community members to whom the challenge is broadcast are expected to conduct appropriate experiments and demonstrate the viability of their solutions.
  7. University Contracts – Often conducted as part of graduate student thesis efforts, with special IP and publication issues, and more important, the efforts themselves provide affiliation with some of the most respected and trustworthy brands in the world.
  8. Consulting – A self-explanatory internal innovation.
  9. Right of First Refusal – A unique way to manage risk by paying for “fewer” rights upfront in exchange for the right to negotiate for greater IP, at a later date, after risks have been reduced by experimental outcomes.
  10. Joint Venture – When entities, which usually do not compete with each other, may both benefit from the outcomes of an innovation endeavor and want to share risks, costs, and of course, financially attractive outcomes.


The Startup Act

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

Need another reason to create transparency and access to innovation? As stated in the Huffington Post article, “…new companies have been disproportionately responsible for many of the breakthrough innovations that characterize modern life today…”

Everyone knows we need access to the innovation taking place within the universities to help grow and create new firms. Firms that can create new jobs. New jobs that can help turn the economy around.

Read the rest of the article and see how you can help startup America!

Returning America to Innovation Prominence

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

Everywhere you turn today, whether it is online, in magazines and newspapers, or on the TV or radio, there are people, companies and organizations offering advice on how to fix what is by far the worst recession since the Great Depression and, specifically, how to place America back on top of the global innovation pedestal.

In our last post  we made mention of Thomas Friedman’s New York Times piece that highlighted a recent effort by the Obama Administration to create eight innovation hubs across the U.S. with a mere $22 million in funding. We also called attention to the strides made by the Administration’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to bolster the country’s innovation economy through a focus on solutions that support moving innovations from the labs in which they are created into the commercial market where they can positively impact economic recovery and growth.

Additionally, there are several other promising steps in the right direction—a strategic advisory group at SCRA (South Carolina Research Authority) that includes representatives from the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security, as well as the large industry, small business and venture capital communities. This groups’ aim is to help early-stage entrepreneurial companies commercialize new technologies. Also, the New Democrat Coalition (NDC), a group of pro-growth Members of Congress (68 members of the House of Representatives) who have a focused commitment to innovation and entrepreneurship.

All of these initiatives, ideas and organizations are encouraging to see. But, getting back to the first sentence of this post, there is no shortage of ideas and recommendations. The key will be clearly defining roles and responsibilities and, ultimately, execution. And doing that is not easy. Right now, the common denominator to a lot of today’s conversations about innovation, growth and entrepreneurship is the federal government and its perceived role as the major source of capital to reinvigorate our innovation ecosystem.  

Rather than looking solely to government to help drive this forward— the fact is that government resources are severely limited or being scaled back in today’s tough economic environment— companies, educational institutions and individuals must view government, policy and related programs as a piece of the puzzle and not the be all, end all solution . That is not to say that there isn’t a role for government in this process, there most certainly is. But, rather than the sole financial source, the focus of government policy should be on the encouragement and utilization of private market capital and infrastructure. The private sector is more nimble and will move faster and more efficiently (and with better results) than government managed programs. With proper incentives, government policy can re-encourage the healthy flow of capital and talent necessary to resuscitate our innovation economy.

At the iBridge Network believe that times of economic uncertainty and upheaval can inspire extraordinary innovation. Those who view this current downturn as an opportunity can not only stimulate and revive the economy in the short term, but also unearth breakthroughs that are still being talked about decades from now.  

However, without access to the right people, the most appropriate resources and the brightest thinking, ideas and innovations can languish in the laboratory or workshop…and the economy will continue to sputter along. The iBridge Network’s objective is to put ideas, access, transparency and outcomes at the forefront of today’s innovation agenda—working with both the private sector and government in their respective roles to accomplish this. Won’t you join us? Together we can help turn today’s ideas and research into tomorrow’s products and services.

The Future of Energy

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

A famous saying goes “When the shoe fits, you don’t notice it is on.” When something is working properly, one simply is not aware of it. Despite the periodic increases in the cost of gas at the pumps, by and large the global energy sector has run so smoothly that, historically, one rarely stopped to think about it. However, over the past several years that has changed. Nowadays, you can’t open a magazine or newspaper, surf the web or turn on the television without seeing or hearing some discussion about the pace at which humans are consuming energy, specifically fossil fuels, or what new technologies are being developed in the renewable energy space.

The US today consumes energy from many sources for a diverse set of purposes. As we have grown into the world’s largest economy, our energy choices have shifted from wood, biomass and small amounts of coal to those energy resources used for higher forms of human socioeconomic organization such as industry, manufacturing, transportation and communication. In fact, according to the Institute of Energy Research, 85% of the energy we consume comes from fossil fuels.

The rise of the digital age at the turn of the 21st century has driven consumer demand for high-speed computers, laser-jet printers, high-definition television sets, mobile devices and PDAs, and other gigabyte-rich devices. Compound this with the influx of larger SUVs on the road in the U.S. and the development of more buildings, plants and factories in both established and, especially, emerging markets. It all points to an increased demand for energy and perpetuates the ongoing discussion about the need to better manage and conserve energy and / or find alternative sources. In the decades ahead, almost all of the expanding demand for energy will be met by fossil fuels, nuclear power, and renewable sources – in that order. New sources of energy are also likely to enter the picture. However, that picture is still very much out of focus as politicians, citizens, universities, companies, NGOs, and various other associations and organizations debate the issues of energy consumption and energy management. Every person and organization has a perspective. There is legislation and stimulus funding in place to help spur the movement. And, there are new ideas and technologies being brought to the forefront regularly. At the end of the day, there is still a lot of uncertainty.

The only certainty is that inquiring minds will continue to probe for new breakthroughs. It is at this level that the iBridge Network hopes to facilitate the conversation and play a part in the global energy debate and solution. We recently launched our Energy Innovation Hub— an aggregated place for innovations and research from sources across the United States in a variety of areas, from the broad – environment and energy – to the more narrow – wind, solar, biofuel, and sustainable. Check it out our energy hub.

Measuring Innovations

Friday, March 26th, 2010

Tim O’Reilly asked a question today, “How do we measure innovation?”

I would love to hear your thoughts and feedback on both these of these links!

The Debate…points of clarification

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

To clarify, the essay that Bob Litan and Lesa Mitchell co-authored in the Harvard Business Review does not question the validity or the positive effects of the Bayh–Dole Act, which gave universities the ownership of IP generated by federally funded research. Rather, the commercialization model proposed by the Kauffman Foundation specifically addresses the need for MORE CHANNELS to support the commercialization of university innovation. The idea consists of a very simple market-based principle: Faculty should have a choice relative to the commercialization pathway tied to innovations created in their lab.

They do not propose replacing the Bayh-Dole Act. Neither do they suggest the redesign of any royalty splits in faculty-university contracts, nor do they infer that commercialization is the only or main activity of faculty research. The proposal would simply build on the benefits of Bayh-Dole in a time of economic slowdown and unemployment.

To see all the articles please visit

Innovation Will Save America

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

It is said that 2010 is the year of the entrepreneur. That entrepreneurs will be the ones to save America from this economic crisis. Read this, in Entrepreneur Magazine

This in turn means, entrepreneurs need your innovations. They need to be able to have access to the innovations and the new ideas that are taking place in the universities. They need to have access to the best and the brightest, the experts in their field. Innovation will save America, read NY Times Post.

We need all the universities in the US to do their part and make sure all your research is made transparent and accessible!

USA National Innovation Marketplace on the iBridge Network

Monday, January 11th, 2010

The USA National Innovation Marketplace is a service of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) a national network with hundreds of specialists who understand the needs of small and medium-size manufacturers. They have worked with thousands of manufacturers delivering $1.44 billion in cost savings annually and $10.5 billion in increased or retained sales in year one.

The Marketplace accelerates innovation by facilitating communication between buyers and sellers of innovation, giving inventors access to investors, distributors, contract manufacturers and R&D experts. Marketplace listings from non-profit organizations will coexist on the iBridge Network, allowing for even more exposure and collaboration opportunities. “There is a natural synergy between the USA National Innovation Marketplace and the iBridge Network,” said Lesa Mitchell, director of the iBridge Network. “We both are working to drive research to the marketplace and we are thrilled to be able to achieve that goal together.”

Collaboration Produces Amazing Results

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

We have thought it many times…two heads are better than one. There are many examples of this on the internet, just look at all the open source software. This is exactly the point of the iBridge Network, to find collaborators in a space to advance innovation, not spend time recreating the wheel. Think of the possibilities that could be unleashed if we stopped hoarding our pre-competitive innovations and shared them with others. Doing this could elevate the competitiveness of the researchers, the organizations and our nation, thus producing more results. I read an interesting fact in an article entitled “The New Socialism” by Kevin Kelly – 60,000 man-years of work were dedicated to last year’s release of Fedora Linux 9. There is proof that without sharing you are spinning your wheels.

Technology and the Economy

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

There is a great article in the June edition of the Technology Review. Can Technology Save the Economy?, suggests we need to take a deeper look into the stimulus package and how it relates to technology and job creation, in fact this is just part one of two.
The author, David Rotman, does a great job of highlighting both sides of the stimulus package. Will it really create more jobs and more innovation in renewable energy? Is this really the most productive way to spend the money? How long will it take for these technologies to come to life? What if it fails?
There is no arguing the economy needs a boost. Is the way to achieve this is through innovation? “The stimulus bill makes evident to the public what every economist knows: long-term economic growth depends on innovation and technological progress. But including so much technology spending in the legislation also brings dangers.”

We will look forward to part two, in the mean time let me know what you think.


William Garner, M.D., MPH – CEO of Urigen, N.A., Inc.

"The iBridge Network provides an important additional pathway for entrepreneurs to access university innovations that may otherwise have been lost.  read more...