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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 (1)

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 Pop-Ups that made Hotel Revenues go Sky High

Posted by Emilton on August 6, 2016 at 7:45 PM Comments comments (2)

With so many new dining and socialising options emerging, especially in major cities, the hotel industry has got its work cut out trying to lure external customers into its restaurants and bars.


Coupled with the need to maximise the profitability of its communal areas, this is what sparked a bold idea at Marriott International: what if entrepreneurs – experimental foodies and bar visionaries – could be enticed to transform unused corners of its hotels into something edgy and different that might attract a new crowd?


The resulting Canvas Project – a food and beverage talent incubator – has now entered its second year, with the launch of rooftop bar and restaurant Notch at London’s Marriott Park Lane hotel.


There you can try Japanese street food and homemade cocktails in cans, which take inspiration from the millennial hotspots of Brooklyn and Berlin. Designed as a sky-high industrial playground for adults, Notch mixes reclaimed school tables, scaffolding and swings with a vibrant bar and open kitchen, Fudo Shack.


Notch has taken the baton from the site’s previous pop-up, Roofnic, which turned over a profitable £500,000 during its three-month summer run last year. The same man, Ashley Dawes, is responsible for both. Originally the general manager of Marriott Park Lane’s main restaurant and bar, his execution of Roofnic was so successful that he left to set up a restaurant and bar consultancy, DenLDN.


The idea for Canvas Project came out of a company brainstorming event, where managers were encouraged to reconsider Marriott’s global restaurant and bar strategy. “Rather than take the traditional ‘We know best’ approach, we wanted to see what would happen if we started from the ground up, the idea being that we would learn from the entrepreneurs,” explains Ed Viita, director of food and beverage at Marriott Europe.

Moving away from the standard hotel restaurant and bar experience would enable Marriott to appeal to a new demographic, attracting locals as well as guests staying in the hotel. “One of the most common questions to our concierges is where the locals eat,” Viita notes. “Our aim was to become that place.”


Following the 2014 brainstorm, teams were sent away to develop four “concept labs” for launch the following year. Viita took his own inspiration from Europe’s popular pop-ups and street food ventures.


“The model is completely open to interpretation; there are no restrictions,” Viita says. Once a location has been identified, internal staff and local entrepreneurs are invited to pitch their ideas. The creator of each winning concept is offered a minimal budget – typically£35,000 per project – to build and develop the restaurant or bar.


Park Lane’s Roofnic is held up as the big success story. Taking inspiration from British music festivals such as Latitude and Bestival, Dawes took an unused roof terrace and transformed it into a rustic garden, with simple wooden benches, folding garden furniture and affordable prices. The summer bar often had queues down the street and was selling 1,000 cocktails a day.


Then came St Pancras MI+ME, an urban cheese and charcuterie bar at London’s St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, targeted at travellers. At Marriott’s Courtyard Berlin hotel, the #Hashtag Coffee Shop serves comfort food with a local twist, such as baked potatoes served with curry wurst and doner kebab.


In Budapest, Marriott has partnered with a local entrepreneur, Imre Toth, to create the Marionett Craft Beer House. Toth launched his concept within two months of being selected. If a project is working well, Marriott allows the outlet to continue to operate, and the Marionett Craft Beer House has now been running for 10 months.


So how does the model work for both parties? All intellectual property related to the concept such as name, logo and trademarks remain the property of the entrepreneur, Viita notes. The percentage of the profits the entrepreneur receives is negotiated on an individual basis. In February, Toth renegotiated his contract and started paying rent and now receives a larger share of the profits.


If the entrepreneur is operating the pop-up, there is an expectation that they will devote their energy to the success of the project. “However, we also partner with entrepreneurs as consultants,” Viita notes, pointing to the new relationship with Dawes, who branched out on his own but set up Notch.

For Dawes, working externally has enabled him to get his name out in the wider market and be paid for his ideas. He describes the Canvas Project as the opportunity he had been waiting for. “The idea came through on a company email when I was working at Marriott. It looked great, and the guys behind it were very enthusiastic,” he says.


Roofnic offered a fun time at non-Mayfair prices, setting it apart from Windows, the premium bar and restaurant at the top of the Park Lane Hilton. “Before we took over the rooftop space, there was nothing there – it was concrete, there was no electricity. We opened in eight weeks, and take-up was epic from day one.”


He left once the season finished, taking a well-earned holiday. With his new consultancy business up and running, he started on Notch in March, opening it on 1 May. Within two months it had a reach of 875,000 people across social media.


Running his own ship has improved the rewards. As an internal employee, Dawes had only really received a ‘token’ for his hard work, he says. “That side of things didn’t really work out,” he says, of whether he received a big bonus.


“But it was an opportunity to show what I could do. I’m doing some work for Marriott in LA at the moment – the company will always be a big partner. They’ve led the way: they came up with a great idea and have seen it through, in a market where it can be hard to make change.”

The figures stand up to scrutiny. Worldwide, Marriott launched 10 of 17 proposed Canvas projects last year, investing just over $300,000 (£230,000) and achieving top-line revenues of nearly $2m (£1.5m). Low start-up costs and high turnaround mean revenues are delivered quickly and profitably. This year, to date, Marriott launched 12 additional projects globally – with more in the pipeline. In Europe, Canvas has delivered the new audience Marriott was looking for: 75% of customers have been millennials, exceeding the target. Over 60% are locals.


“In culinary hotspots like London, the appetite for new and fresh ideas is strong and pop-ups are a great solution,” says Peter Ducker, chief executive at the Institute of Hospitality. “This is a brave move from Marriott: they are at the front of the curve and should be applauded.


“One major drawback of pop-up facilities though is that the workload can be equal to opening a permanent restaurant. If you’re including a new kitchen from scratch, you still need all the same regulatory compliance. But working through a company as well-resourced as Marriott should make life easier.”


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Source: The Guardian

The Evolution Of Customer Service

Posted by Emilton on July 31, 2016 at 4:55 AM Comments comments (1)

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

Israeli Innovation Cleans up Noise Pollution

Posted by Emilton on July 31, 2016 at 4:55 AM Comments comments (1)

Construction, traffic noise, and airplanes flying overhead: Noise pollution the world over lessens quality of life and brings ugliness to what would otherwise be beautiful urban landscapes. To add to this cacophony of sounds are street performers—musicians, actors, artists—all trying to work their trade in the midst of the hustle and bustle of cities the world over.

To fix this problem, one Israeli has come up with an ingenious solution. Called "mini-amphitheatres," they are aesthetically-pleasing, sidewalk-size-appropriate amphitheatres, which can be used not only to block out unpleasant street noises, but also to provide a venue for buskers to perform, increasing the cultural landscape of a city.

Aviv Even, a student at the Shenkar School of Engineering and Design at Tel Aviv University, designed the mini-amphitheatre. As a Tel Aviv native, she has been surrounded by the clamor of sounds which accompany a big city, and wanted to make a positive impact in both reducing noise pollution and improving the quality of life for the city's residents

"I sought to determine which sounds were more pleasant for people and which were more grating—what caused people to want to be in an area, and what caused them to want to leave. Something that I discovered is that noise pollution is just as effective at deterring people from being in an area as is physical pollution," she said.

Standing on the corner of Ben Gurion Boulevard and Dizengoff Street in Tel Aviv, she used a decibel reader to determine whence the loudest sounds on the street were coming and what was causing them. She mapped these areas out and used her maps to determine the best way to mitigate these sounds.

That’s how she came up with the idea for the mini-amphitheatre. "I wanted to find a way to reduce noise pollution, while at the same time adding pleasant sounds to the surrounding area."

The mini-amphitheatre is able to direct the sounds of the people who are performing in it—whether they be buskers performing musical instruments or street actors giving a performance—to an audience without disturbing the other people living or walking in the surrounding area.

"Sound naturally goes up, so by performing inside of these mini-amphitheaters, the sound is able to be directed towards an audience more fully. This also eliminates the need for speakers, as the sound is naturally amplified."

To design the structure, Even spoke to street performers to determine their needs, thereby creating the ideal size and depth of the shell so that it would be not only comfortable for the buskers to perform in, but also disrupt the surrounding foot traffic as little as possible.

Even has already sold one of her portable mini-amphitheatres, but she hopes that in the near future the city of Tel Aviv and other cities around the world will use her design to not only beautify their cities visually, but also provide a way to mitigate noise pollution and increase positive vibrations.

Source: Ynetnews

Predictors of Successful Product Innovation

Posted by Emilton on July 31, 2016 at 3:00 AM Comments comments (1)

CHICAGO — What makes a product truly innovative? Depends whom you ask. And, as it turns out, the industry and the consumer have differing views.


The topic was discussed by industry analysts during the Institute of Food Technologists’ annual meeting and food exposition, held July 16-19 in Chicago.


Researchers at Mintel, Chicago, use proprietary survey methodology to collect consumer input on every reported food and beverage product launched in the United States each year. The analysts identified five innovative products debuting this year and measured consumer reactions and purchase intent of those products.

One product was Labni Mediterranean Kefir Yogurt Snack from Los Angeles-based Kronfli Bros. Varieties include mint and garlic, lavender and honey, and sundried tomato and basil. Mintel analysts predicted the product would bring a unique twist to the crowded yogurt category; however, consumer feedback indicated reluctance to experiment with unusual flavors or an unfamiliar product concept, especially if the product is relatively pricey.


Only 24% of consumers surveyed by Mintel said they would buy Labni, compared to 41% of consumers who said they would buy any spoonable yogurt. Labni may eventually catch on; consumers just may be slow to adopt it, said Lynn Dornblaser, director of innovation and insight at Mintel.


“Greek yogurt took three or four years or more to really hit with consumers,” she said. “Sometimes with something a little far out there, be prepared to nurture it along a little bit, and you can still have a big success.”

Another recently launched product Mintel identified as innovative was 1893 From the Makers of Pepsi-Cola Ginger Cola, which was inspired by the brand’s original recipe.


“It ties into that sense of provenance and authenticity,” Ms. Dornblaser said. “(But) what we see is consumers don’t get it. They understand the product is unique, but uniqueness is not a strong driver of purchase…


“When we dig a little deeper, we see there’s some resistance to the category of carbonated soft drinks and some resistance to sugar. The other problem is the flavor; ginger is polarizing.”


She added, “It hits on a lot of trends we think are important, but I think it’s important to keep in mind consumers don’t choose what they don’t understand, especially when it’s in a category that has its own set of challenges.”

One of Mintel’s picks that rated favorably among consumers was Kraft salad dressing in two-serving pouches from the Kraft Heinz Co. Varieties include zesty lime, golden Italian, classic ranch, lite balsamic and chipotle mango.


“This salad dressing outperforms the category by a significant margin,” Ms. Dornblaser said.


Forty-six per cent of consumers said they would buy the product, compared with 38% of consumers who said they would buy any salad dressing. Here’s why it’s a hit: The brand is recognizable, the flavor varieties are familiar, and 60% of consumers rated the product format as convenient, twice that of all dressings.


“This is a case of the brand and flavor and purpose and communication all coming together and communicating very well to consumers what this product is all about and hit the needs consumers have,” Ms. Dornblaser said.

So, what products do consumers consider innovative and exciting? Top picks introduced this year include Sargento Tomato & Basil Jack sliced cheese, Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Premium Brownie Mix, and Nestle Dreyer’s Slow Churned California Caramel Almond Crunch Light ice cream. Consumers’ top choices were almost all indulgent treats from established brand names, and most were repackages, restages or reformulations.


Based on these findings, Mintel identified a couple more recent launches featuring these attributes. Ben & Jerry’s new line of non-dairy frozen desserts marries the trend of dairy alternatives with the strength of the brand name, combining indulgence and perceived healthfulness associated with vegan and non-dairy products. Consumer purchase intent of the products was higher than that of other frozen desserts, including dairy-based ice creams, Ms. Dornblaser said.


Another new product expected to resonate with consumers is Oreo Thins cookies, which Ms. Dornblaser described as the “perfect combination of new and familiar.” Oreo Thins, which is a crispier version of the popular sandwich cookie, was rated by consumers as the most exciting cookie launch since January, and the purchase intent of the product was almost twice that of all cookies, Mintel research found. Additionally, because Oreo Thins were found to be more likely an additional category purchase than other cookies demonstrates the potential to grow the entire cookie market, Ms. Dornblaser noted.

“This illustrates the power in innovation being something familiar, plus something that’s just a little bit different,” she said. “You can think about innovation in two ways — close-in innovation and longer-term innovation. Close-in innovation is all about that flavor, new package, shift in functionality. Those scored the highest among consumers. It’s something familiar with a twist, like Oreo Thins.


“But there is still a lot of opportunity for far-out, longer-term innovation. Something to keep in mind is not all trends are for all consumers… It’s important to know whom you’re aiming your revolutionary new product to. Success for something that’s very innovative is quite often a slow build.”


Norwegian engineers are attempting something never done before: floating underwater highways

Posted by Emilton on July 31, 2016 at 2:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Norway is contemplating some futuristic road projects.

Fjords are beautiful for sure, and Norway is basically nothing but fjords. But for those wanting to get from point A to point B with a fjord or two or seven in the way, they can be quite irksome, referring drivers to ferries.

This represents an enormous infrastructural problem for Norway, and the Norwegian parliament has decided that the E39 highway shall become ferry-free.

Bridges and tunnels - Norway already has many of them - wont always do the trick. Sometimes a gap is too deep for a tunnel to be a plausible solution, or too wide for a bridge - refering drivers to ferries.

Luckily, there is a new solution.

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In a feasibility study, the Norwegian Public Roads Administration presents designs for the world's first submerged floating tunnels, that, if implemented, will let cars pass underneath the surface of fjords without hindering the entrance of ships.

The design features to antiparallel tubes floating with the help of pontoons and Archimedes' principle. Each tube will be big enough for two driving lanes.

The pontoons are spaced far enough apart to allow big ships to pass in between.

The Norwegian Public Roads Administration is simultaneously looking at other possible solutions, like floating bridges, or a combination of a floating bridge and a submerged floating tunnel.

The submerged tunnel project is not the first of its kind to be proposed, but if Norway goes forward with the plans it will be the first time the concept is put to test in reality. And if it proves a success it could open up for similar solutions all over the world. One submerged tunnel that has long been suggested is a transatlantic highway connecting Europe with America through Iceland.


A House of the Future You Might Actually Want to Live In

Posted by Emilton on July 3, 2016 at 4:35 AM Comments comments (0)

THE UK ISN’T WINNING any awards this week for its collaboration skills, but the country deserves some credit for “Months,” one of five installations in the British Pavilion’s “Home Economics” exhibition at this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale. Here, if not in the European Union, Britain presents a new model for shared living spaces.


“Months” proposes a monthly rent that includes not only the use of real estate, but all domestic needs—things like cleaning, cooking, laundry, maintenance, and wifi. “We’re interested in making communal living easy and affordable,”says Pier Vittorio Aureli, a partner at Dogma, the Brussels architecture firm behind the installation. (The words “A home without housework” appear on the frame of the doorway leading to the installation.) At the center of the room is a private, blue-paneled, two-story “core.” It’s designed for sleeping, washing, and occasional cooking. The surrounding double-height zones—which make up the majority of the room — become shared spaces for working and socializing. The idea is that residents share services as well as spaces. The installation takes up one of five inter-connected rooms inside the British Pavilion’s austere Venetian palazzo.


Aureli says the plan was inspired by the boarding house, a once prevalent model in the U.S. that was replaced after World War II with the rise of suburban living. He adds that boarding houses like New York’s Chelsea Hotel once did exactly that, but took on a stigma as being unfit for family living.

Properties modeled after “Months” could rise on unused lots away from city centers, near mass transit. Aureli and his team envision cities using tax incentives to encourage developers to create housing in these zones, rather than using them for commercial purposes.


Like “Months,” the other four installations in the “Home Economics” exhibition are named for, and designed around, increments of time. “Hours,” for instance, envisions what a shared home environment would look like, if it one lived there for no more than a few hours at a time. It is filled with simple objects whose forms (modular daybeds) and functions (shared wardrobes) are transitory in nature. The “Days” exhibit explores the potential of portability, proposing strange new types of personal spaces—two inflatable, wifi-connected spheres that can you can climb inside and roll around to new environments. It suggests that you really can live anywhere, as long as you can get online. “Years,” the least architectural installation of the bunch, is a shell construction that imagines a home built for profiteering, not living; it contains only those things necessary to qualify for a mortgage: a roof, running water, electricity, a lavatory, and a basin—and spartan examples of each, at that.


“We were surprised that that this was the first time housing had been explored through the lens of time,” notes Jack Self, one of the three curators of the British Pavilion. “People once worked in one place and lived in one home for their whole lives. When you’re talking about a highly mobile, often precariously-employed populace who are constantly on the move, those models no longer work.”


The masterminds behind “Decades,” London architecture firm Hesselbrand, oversaw construction and design of each installation. “Our goal was to make immersive environments to explain an idea,” says Hesselbrand cofounder Magnus Casselbrant, pointing out how space—rather than lots of complex text—can speak for itself.


And while the collaborative spaces all evoke our omnipresent sharing economy in their own way, don’t call them derivative of Airbnb. Aureli says he prefers to think of “Months” as an idealistic experiment in communal living, not a get-rich scheme. “Sharing economy is a buzzword that becomes a way to make more money out of everything,” he notes. But after the Brexit fallout, Brits might consider all the money-making options they can get.

Source:  Wired

How Prince Revolutionized the Internet According to the Webmaster who Helped Him do It

Posted by Emilton on May 3, 2016 at 7:30 PM Comments comments (1)

How Prince Revolutionized the Internet According to the Webmaster who Helped Him do It

By Sam Jennings April 27


Sam Jennings is an artist and designer who worked as Prince’s webmaster and creative director from 1998 to 2007.


Unfortunately, the big headline everyone remembers about Prince and the Internet is when he said it was “over” in 2010. Many people with short memories used him as the poster boy for the old guard of musicians who “just don’t get it.”


But the reality is that Prince was a pioneer: Over 20 years ago, years before iTunes, iPods or broadband, he already understood that the Web would change the whole industry, and he had a vision for how fans would access his music through the Internet.


[We’ve lost Prince, our single greatest pop star]


“Welcome 2 the Dawn, playground for the New Power Generation,” begins Prince’s 1994 song “Interactive.” “There are over 500 experiences to choose from. Here’s a sample. …”


The song kicked off his underground film, “The Beautiful Experience,” starring Nona Gaye. Don’t bother looking for it on Amazon, it was never officially released. It only got screened during special viewing parties across the United States.


I saw it in Chicago at the Park West, and my eyes lit up. Prince showed me songs I had never heard before, like “Pheromone” and “The Days of Wild,” with videos for all of them. This was the visual album 20 years before Beyoncé. And according to this film, you could only access the album through a computer, a computer with a “Come” button on its keyboard. This experience didn’t exist yet, but Prince’s vision of the future was clear. And I knew I wanted to be a part of it.

Six years later, I found myself in the position of brainstorming ideas with Prince for what would become his first official online music club. I had been doing professional Web design for years by that point, and through a mutual friend I got the opportunity to work on Prince’s charity website, That led to work on two more Prince sites,, and, which is where the real planning began on how we could use this Internet to make a real business.


During this time, Prince and I often had long conversations about the music industry at his Paisley Park Studio. One time he described a fairly standard contracting situation, in which a musician signs a multimillion-dollar deal with a record label, but it’s got clauses that make all the payments contingent on specific numbers of album sales.


“Guess who’s counting the album sales?” I recall him saying.


The record label does.


“So you’re told, ‘Oh sorry, you didn’t sell enough,’ ” Prince railed. “Meanwhile you’re selling out stadiums and everyone knows the words. The creators of the contract control the whole distribution chain.”


In his view, they could make up whatever number they wanted.


Prince’s goals for his own online business were simple. As the creator of the music, he wanted to control the distribution chain himself with as little dilution as possible. “Let the baker bake the bread,” he would often say.

The recording industry had been all about gatekeepers before the Internet. Record labels, radio stations, and music store chains were all middlemen that needed their cut or else you wouldn’t get through. Now he saw the Internet as a perfect way to level the playing field. If he built his own online record label, his own online radio station, and his own online music store, he had just as much access to his audience as the traditional channels did. He finally had a way to skip all the barriers and go direct.


Anyone who has followed his career knows that he was a huge advocate for artists’ rights and a fair payment system. Technology was catching up to his vision.


On Valentine’s Day 2001, we launched the NPG (New Power Generation) Music Club. We started out with monthly “editions” that delivered multiple new song downloads per month, plus a downloaded radio show curated by Prince and the NPG that featured new music, commentary and comedic skits. All that came for either a monthly fee or a premium annual fee that got you bonus songs.

This was the first step in realizing the dream of Prince’s film “The Beautiful Experience” from seven years earlier: New music was flowing directly from Paisley Park to your computer.


Prince was always changing things up — that was one of his signatures. And each year, we changed our approach to the NPG Music Club. Sometimes we distributed downloads, other times we sent CDs directly to members. Finally, we settled on the Musicology Download Store, the only place where you could download Prince’s independent catalog. During this time, we also attracted an amazing community of club members, many of whom got the best seats on his One Nite Alone and Musicology concert tours, as well as access to sound checks, press conferences, and week-long summer celebrations at Paisley Park.

This direct connection between the fans and an artist on Prince’s level didn’t exist before the NPG Music Club. There was no Twitter, Facebook or even YouTube. At the time, he saw direct Internet distribution as a model for all artists. He would tell me, if you could build your own music club, why would you need to pay anyone else a share and give away all your fans’ information? Why not do it all yourself — downloads, concert tickets, streaming concert events, and even a hub for emerging artists? He was leading the way to a new artist-owned music business.


“Why do I need to give my music to iTunes,” he would often tell me. “We’ve got our own iTunes right here. This is how it’s supposed to be done.”


As a result of this work, Prince received a well-deserved Webby Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006; the award cites how he “forever altered the landscape of online musical distribution” and “reshaped the relationship between artist and fan.” The NPG Music Club also received its own Webby Award that year for Best Celebrity/Fan Site, and when I accepted the award, it felt like a real validation.

But after the awards, Prince again felt the need to change things up. He believed the club had proven itself a legitimate business model, and once we won the Webby, it was a good time to go out on a high note. I had a lot of mixed feelings about this. We had done so much; I didn’t want to see it end. But as I said, Prince liked change. So after a lot of back and forth with him, I had to accept the decision and move on.


The NPG Music Club doesn’t always get the acknowledgement it deserves in the never-ending debate about Prince’s relationship with the Internet. But for a moment in time, we had something special no one had ever seen before — and something prescient, that predicted some of the questions about online distribution and artist agency that would come later.


Over the past few years, Prince warmed up to the Internet again: He used Twitter as his preferred communication tool, and threw his full catalog in with Tidal. I never heard this directly from Prince, but I believe he saw Tidal as the next evolution of what the NPG Music Club could have been: an artist-owned distribution channel that could release his music as fast as he could make it and pay the artists involved a fair rate.


It was not a surprise to me then when several of Prince’s NPG Music Club releases reappeared on Tidal, ready to be streamed all over the world once again. I’m just sorry that I won’t have another chance to watch him change the rules.


Can the NHS Modernise without going Broke?

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


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:

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.


IT Suppliers Key to Business Innovation

Posted by Emilton on April 23, 2016 at 2:25 AM Comments comments (1)

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”.



Tesla Model 3: This Is What A 'Game Changer' Looks Like

Posted by Emilton on April 22, 2016 at 6:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Tesla Model 3: This Is What A 'Game Changer' Looks Like

Tesla started taking orders for the Model 3 last week, and the results were remarkable. In 24 hours the company took $1,000 deposits for 198,000 vehicles. By end of Saturday the $1,000 deposits topped 276,000 units; for a car not expected to really be available until 2017. Compare that with the top-selling autos in the U.S. in 2015:



Remarkably, the Model 3 would rank as the sixth best-selling vehicle all of last year! And with just a few more orders, it will likely make the top five - or possibly top three! And those are orders placed in just one week, versus an entire year of sales for the other models. And every buyer is putting up a $1,000 deposit, something none of the buyers of top 10 cars did as they purchased product widely available in inventory. [Author's update 7 April - orders hit 325,000 in less than one week, which would make the Model 3 the second best selling car in the entire USA for the entire year 2015]


Although this has surprised a large number of people, the signs were all pointing to something extraordinary happening. The Tesla Model S sold 50,000 vehicles in 2015 at an average price of $70,000 to $80,000. That is the same number of the Mercedes E-Class autos, which are priced much lower in the $50,000 range. And if you compare to the top line Mercedes S-Class, which is only slightly more expensive at an average $90,0000, the Model S sold over 2 times the 22,000 units Mercedes sold. And while other manufacturers are happy with single digit percentage volume growth, in Q4 Tesla shipments were 75% greater in 2015 than 2014.


4 Key Ways to Create a Culture of Innovation

Posted by Emilton on April 22, 2016 at 8:10 AM Comments comments (0)

4 Key Ways to Create a Culture of Innovation

Innovation. We all know its importance and the vast majority of organisations include it as one of their core values but are we creating cultures and environments that foster its development? Or will it just remain a buzzword that sounds good and we don’t deliver on it?


Nagib Kassis, GM, IT strategy and transformation at Allianz Insurance, says the role of innovation is to drive growth. WA Police’s former CIO, Mike Schuman, says the purpose of innovation is to disrupt and overcome legacy systems.


When looking at innovation we are interested in new methods, solutions or ways of achieving results that matter to the overall organisational objective, not just that it is a new technology for technology’s sake.


Let’s take a look at some of the key ingredients necessary to support and create a culture of innovation.



1. Engage in light touch governance

An element of freedom is required to innovate; it will not thrive in an environment that is entrenched in too much process.


Schuman believes the purpose of governance is to deliver a quality outcome not a checklist. While at WA Police, Schuman broke down the formal process and lines of communication when it came to innovation.


Communication and direct engagement are critical in facilitating innovation and Schuman made sure he was accessible to people who had ideas that would drive better business outcomes for the organisation.


One of the ways this was accomplished was through utilising an organisation wide portal. Discussion is fostered by the engagement of senior execs on the portal and culminating with the Minister's award for innovation in policing. This year’s award was for an idea to enable colour-coded prioritisation of incidents from the suggestion of a staff sergeant.


Innovation can be simple ideas and they can come from anywhere. They come from across the organisation as well as from outside of it. The portal is now used by more than 60 per cent of staff across the department. This high level of participation provides a critical mass of innovative thinking.

2. Be an internal entrepreneur


Allianz Insurance’s Kassis believes innovation can’t be put into a process – it must be encouraged as a way of thinking and built into the DNA of an organisation.


Kassis says organisations should think like start-ups and bring elements of that entrepreneurial thinking into the corporate world.


“Keep abreast of what is being newly developed, not just in your industry but others, and look to see how they can be applied in your organisation,” he says.


Nagib practices this regularly as an “entrepreneur in residence” in the Fintech startup domain for a venture capitalist.

To encourage a start-up mentality in a corporate and to demonstrate how corporate and overly processed thinking can sometimes inhibit innovation, Kassis recently invited three start-ups to present to a mix of IT and Business employees at Allianz.


Thinking from their existing structures, policies, and procedures, the group identified a list of reasons why these three start-ups would not work.


Noticing this, Kassis paused the meeting and pointed out that all three businesses were already running and succeeding in their respective markets.


It was only inside the restrictions of an existing, automatic, and habitual way of thinking that they could not work, hence the need to continuously challenge the “thinking” culture.


Sometimes we get so trapped inside the taste and feel of our existing box that we forget it’s up to us to redesign and build new more innovative boxes.

3. Unleash discretionary effort


Duncan Holt, CIO at insurer, ReturnToWorkSA, says the key to innovation is tapping into the discretionary time of your team.


He says the time necessary to complete the mandatory or formal requirements of their role should only take about 50 per cent of their time. The time they have available above this is their discretionary time.


“This is the time where they should be given the freedom to innovate. Give them the permission to innovate without being concerned with how they do it, but also let them know results are expected from it,” he said.


When this innovation leads to your team doing their job better and more efficiently it creates the beginning of a cycle of more and more innovation, he says.

“Once they do their job more efficiently, the formal requirements take less and less time allowing for more and more discretionary time to innovate.


Having your team apply themselves during this discretionary time as opposed to them putting in time is a key to unleashing the innovative potential of your organisation,” he says.


4. Ask Why


Be aware of the mindset or behaviour patterns of being either a ‘historian’ or a ‘rule master’ in your environment.


Be aware of conversations that sound anything like, ‘that’s the way we do things’, ‘we’ve always done it that way’, ‘we have to follow the procedure’, or ‘don’t fix what’s not broken.’


You need to keep asking ‘why?’ and not get comfortable inside the existing box that your organisation has created.


UK Businesses see Innovation Boost

Posted by Emilton on April 22, 2016 at 8:00 AM Comments comments (0)

UK Businesses see Innovation Boost

Businesses in the UK are coming up with more ideas and products than ever before, according to official statistics from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).


Research, based on a survey of almost 30,000 employers between 2012-14, reveals that some 53 per cent of UK businesses are actively engaging in developing and introducing new products and ways of making them.


Firms are also creating new services and ways of doing business, increasing by eight per cent in two years alone.


Such figures come following a national innovation plan by business secretary Sajid Javid, who stated he wanted to make the country a world leader in new ideas and innovation, which would help to drive up competition, create jobs and provide new and improved products and services.


Almost two-thirds of businesses in the Yorkshire and Humber were engaged in innovation in the region, leading the UK for innovative business.


At 57 per cent, the East Midlands was also found to be well above the UK average. The West Midlands saw one of the largest increases in business led innovation, up 12 per cent over two years.


BIS has also shows how important innovation is to global business success, with 28 per cent of businesses exporting abroad, bringing new British products such as medical scanner charges, to an international market.


This compares to only ten per cent of non-innovating businesses.


“These figures show that businesses throughout the UK are already leading the way, delivering exciting opportunities across the nation,” said Mr Javid.


“The number of companies innovating and coming up with new, dynamic ideas is on the rise – up eight percentage points between 2012 and 2014, with over half of businesses now developing new products and services, some with the potential to revolutionise their industries.”



Emory University Uses Harvard Business School Cases to Teach Innovation in The Physical Therapy Field

Posted by Emilton on March 12, 2016 at 2:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Recently, Lauren Jarmusz - a Doctor of Physical Therapy Student at Northeastern University graduating in May 2016 - and I interviewed Zoher Kapasi, PT, PhD, MBA. Dr. Kapasi is the Program Director and Associate Professor in the Division of Physical Therapy of the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at Emory University School of Medicine. He's an innovator, an intellectual with a business mind, and an educator who leads one of the USA's top ten Physical Therapy Education Programs. Last year, I suffered from a serious knee injury and was seeking to understand how to innovate the physical therapy field insomuch that musculoskeletal injuries were prevented. Here's our interview:

Marquis Cabrera: What do you believe are some persistent problems impeding innovation in the physical therapy field?


Dr. Zoher Kapasi: We need a mindset shift. Mindset is critical to innovation in any field. For far too long, Physical Therapists, were given referrals from physicians and pretty much told what to do, but direct access is allowing us to be more innovative.


Also, our training has progressed. In the past, PTs needed a bachelors; then a masters; and now doctoral degrees. There is a new generation of physical therapists that are coming out who realize, they can be independent practitioners because they have a unique body of knowledge to treat patients. Just like a surgeon approaches their field from a surgical perspective, or a pharmacist approaches health care from a pharmacological perspective, physical therapists approach their field from a movement science perspective using manual therapy and other therapeutic approaches. However, just as not every patient is going to get surgery, all patients may not benefit from physical therapy and physical therapists are now trained to refer these patients to appropriate health care providers based on their needs.


Physical Therapy is in an exciting place as it is truly a value option in health care. For certain conditions, PT is more effective than surgery and other interventions that cost more money. Patients need the greatest quality care at the lowest cost, the value option. Also, PT is a non-pharmacological intervention and thus appeals to patients who are wary of drug side-effects. Clearly, PT is an effective low cost option to treating musculoskeletal injuries, which is why more people are gravitating to the physical therapy field. It's a perfect storm and everything is aligning in favor of physical therapy.


Lauren Jarmusz, sDPT: What initiatives is Emory DPT Program working on to innovate the physical therapy profession?


We have several. We started innovating physical therapy in the education sphere through the development of our dual degree programs. For example, we have a DPT/MBA and DPT/MPH, and we have recently developed a DPT/PhD program with the our local engineering school, Georgia Institute of Technology. The latter program offers a pathway for collaboration between engineers who don't have clinical background, who look forward to collaborating with clinicians. In addition, we started offering interdisciplinary electives: Interfacing engineering technology and rehabilitation, which brings together engineering, neuroscience, and DPT students from different backgrounds to look at patient problems and work together to solve these problems from a number of perspectives.


Beyond just mixing engineering students and DPT students, we are also offering a business elective course: Business Management for the Physical Therapist Entrepreneur is an advanced business course that uses Harvard Business School case studies -- Toyota, Starbucks, Callaway Golf Company, and Apple -- to teach physical therapy students how to improve efficiencies within health care. Essentially, we are teaching physical therapists to become innovative by asking: What can we borrow from other industries to innovate the physical therapy field? For example, can DPTs apply Starbucks' customer service and marketing expertise to the physical therapy field? Or, apply Toyota's operations expertise to physical therapy? Or, learn how to develop an emotional brand experience, like Apple. Students really love it and it is totally out of the box.


Marquis Cabrera: Can you tell me about the DPT/MBA program? And, what is its role in advancing the Physical Therapy field?


Dr. Zoher Kapasi: First, we must recognize health care is a business and there's nothing wrong with that-it helps us deliver services. There's no mission without a margin. The Red Cross has to bring in more money than it spends to provide services to needy people around the world. And - we need those business skills. We teach great skills in manual therapy etc, but if we don't show them how to market themselves, we're not doing a great job as educators. And, ultimately, we're doing a great disservice to our consumers. I tell my students: If you went to a town and saw everyone limping and walking around crooked, wouldn't you want to tell everyone you can help them? What's the shame about that? Everyone wants to help people, but if people don't know you can help, you won't be able to help them. In healthcare, clinicians feel that marketing is beneath us, but it's time to show why we're the best kept secret in health care and no longer keep that as a secret.


Lauren Jarmusz, sDPT: As a student, I had to self teach myself business. Thankfully, Marquis and my dad, who led a successful exit of our family business, are both adept at business. How can more educational institutions empower doctors of physical therapy to become innovators? Innovate curricula? Create more joint programs? Create business simulations? Embed PT business challenges?


Dr. Zoher Kapasi: We want educators to replicate some of what we have done at Emory at their own institutions. This is why we are now publishing our innovations in our curricula and how to develop those through publications in our Journal of Physical Therapy Education. We recently published a method/model paper on how we developed the dual degree programs at Emory. We are now working to publish our experience in setting up innovative courses through papers such as : Interfacing engineering technology and rehabilitation: an interdisciplinary course for educating students in physical therapy, biomedical sciences, and engineering at Emory University; and Looking Outside Health Care to Teach Innovation in Physical Therapy Business Practice: Use of Harvard Business School Cases at Emory University.


We want to get the word out. Sometimes people are worried about sharing ideas. Creative ideas are all around, but it all comes down to execution. I am willing to share ideas and show people how to implement because this will attract more people to the profession.


Lauren Jarmusz, sDPT: The general public doesn't understand that PTs are not just massage therapist, and that PTs take med. school classes, like anatomy. How can we create a more positive image around the role of a Physical Therapist to laypeople?


Dr. Zoher Kapasi: In order to create a more positive image, physical therapist need to market themselves better.


Marquis Cabrera: According to IBIS, there's no major player in the physical therapy field across the country. Why do you think that is?


Dr. Zoher Kapasi: Many years ago, I did some research on the physical therapy marketplace. I found that there were four or five majors players, like US Physical Therapy, Physiotherapy Associates etc, that control 15% of the market, but 85% is controlled by the "mom and pop" clinics and thus, the physical therapy services industry is fragmented. To me, physical therapy has always been about the solo practitioner because the field is very relational, interacting with people.


With healthcare reform, a lot of consolidation is occurring, and economies of scale are beginning to occur, - big industries provide the services and hopefully, you can reduce the cost and get better outcomes- but I am not sure how much of it will occur in physical therapy field because patients want a clinician to relate to. We like to have our own relationships. Some companies, however, are building relationships with scalable business models. Starbucks is a prime example.


If however, PT becomes more capital intensive or forward integration occurs from hospitals to ensure better outcomes for post surgical patients, consolidation may happen quickly. Consolidation is not always bad, let me draw from another industry - airlines: If every pilot started their own airline company, we would still be flying two engine planes. However, by forming big corporations, airline companies have consolidated to afford big jets that allow us to travel in planes that are faster, safer and at a lower cost. In physical therapy though, we don't need that much capital and thus we can easily start our own practice, which is why our field is fragmented.


Lauren Jarmusz, sDPT: Research shows that PTs can act as primary doctors. I know the APTA is advocating for direct access to PTs without a physician's referral. What do you think of the move towards preventative based care versus reactive care in the Physical Therapy space?


Dr. Zoher Kapasi: This is already happening abroad. For example, Aussies are very active and outdoorsy. I have a faculty member from Australia. She told me: "Each person in Australia has their own Physio (Physical Therapists are called Physiotherapist or Physios in Australia, UK, India etc), like we have our own primary care physicians (PCPs) in the US. Australians are super active, so many go for check-ups to look at flexibility and muscle strength at times before they embark on a major sporting activity. We have to show people the value of preventative-based care in the US. Baby boomers are prone for more musculoskeletal injuries, for they are still active, and could benefit from preventative based musculoskeletal health, especially because they are looking for things to help them stay active. "If exercise was a drug, it would be the most prescribed drug in the industry".


As a future Doctor of Physical Therapy, you must capture the value of prevention and find a way to get paid for it though. Many people are paying for a lot of money up front for preventative-based musculoskeletal health care. There's some innovative practices where folks are getting into prevention and getting money out of it, especially since potential clients can now pay directly out of health savings accounts for preventative-based health care.


Marquis Cabrera: Do you think PTs should serve as primary care professionals? If so, why?


Dr. Zoher Kapasi: Yes, they should be primary care providers for musculoskeletal care. If you get low back pain, you should go straight to your physical therapist. As it stands now: If you have lower back pain, you get painkillers from your PCP. If you don't get better, PCP refers you to an orthopedic specialist. Unless surgery is needed, the orthopedic specialist is going to refer you to the physical therapist; then you just wasted time and money, especially on tests, MRIs etc. PTs are trained that if something serious is taking place with a specific patient, we can refer to surgeons or other experts as necessary, but in other cases they can get started with care in a much better way. At the Virginia Mason Medical Center, patients with low back pain can go directly to PTs, and they have seen tremendous cost savings.


Marquis Cabrera: Do you think an annual physical exam for muscles and bones would increase patient education and decrease prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders and diseases, for spend on MSDs has increased 120% in the last 6 years? If so, why?


Dr. Zoher Kapasi: Yes, annually physical exams would help with educating patients. I don't think people prepare for activities and thus may lead to injuries. Proper lifting techniques, core strengthening exercises could all help in prevention of lower back pain.


Lauren Jarmusz, sDPT: What advice would you give to a student PT seeking to do something non-traditional in the physical field?


Dr. Zoher Kapasi: Lauren; I believe in mentorship and looking at people who are doing innovative things in the field. Look for practices that are doing something different, something innovative. Shadow them and go work for them. Mentorship is important to see how the execution of ideas occurs.


Lego Wheelchair Toys Message Disabilities

Posted by Emilton on March 12, 2016 at 2:00 AM Comments comments (1)

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.


Scientists Predict which Jobs will still be Open to Humans in 2035

Posted by Emilton on March 12, 2016 at 1:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Scientists Predict which Jobs will still be Open to Humans in 2035

Workers looking for jobs in 2035 might consider retraining as remote-controlled vehicle operators or online chaperones.


Those are two of the jobs of the future suggested in a report by the CSIRO that charts 20-year trends in increasingly digitally focused and automated Australian workplaces.

The employment minister, Michaelia Cash, released the report on Friday at the Australian Computer Society’s conference.


Cash said the report showed “some jobs will inevitably become automated over the coming years but technological change will improve others and also create new jobs and opportunities”.


“The future won’t be about people competing with machines, it will be about people using machines and doing work that is more interesting and fulfilling,” she said.


The report identifies six mega-trends in the workforce, the most important of which is an “explosion in device connectivity, data volumes and computing speed, combined with rapid advances in automated systems and artificial intelligence means that robotic devices can perform many tasks more quickly, safely and efficiently than humans”.


Increased automation will raise the complexity of workers’ tasks. “Many low-skilled jobs are being offshored or automated. The consequence is the likelihood of a raised skills and education bar for entry into many professions and occupations,” the report said.

The report found science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem) knowledge is used in 75% of the fastest-growing occupations and lamented that “Australian youth demonstrate falling interest and performance in Stem”.


Another trend is an anticipated rise in self-employment and freelancing caused by peer-to-peer platforms Upwork, Kaggle, Innoventive and, which the report claims “provide value through convenience, low barriers to entry and increased speed enabling people to transform their free time into paid work”.


The report said while freelancing “has not yet taken hold in Australia, it is a large (and growing) employment model in other countries”, such as in America where one in three workers is an independent contractor.

If the ideal job does not exist, the worker may need create it, the report suggested. “Entrepreneurial skills are likely to be increasingly important for small business founders and employees within large organisations,” it said.


The report predicted service industries, particularly education and healthcare, would continue to drive job creation, meaning “social interaction skills and emotional intelligence will become increasingly important”.


The report said Australia’s workforce will be diverse, with one in five Australians over the age of 65 in 2035, high female participation and a large proportion of migrants being of working age.


The report said the employment trends will result in new job types, and speculated these might include “bigger big data analysts”, complex decision support analysts, remote-controlled vehicle operators, customer experience experts, personal preventative health helpers and online chaperones.


“The rise of un-crewed vehicles is giving rise to a new workforce of pilots, drivers and ship captains who do their jobs not from the sky, sea or mine site, but from an office in a remote location,” the report said.

In a speech to a workforce productivity conference on 8 December, Australian Council of Trade Unions secretary Dave Oliver warned “extreme changes presented by current technological advances are resulting in a deeper, wider and more permanent hollowing out of the jobs market”.


He said a recent CEDA report showed 5 million jobs (40% of the Australian workforce) face a high probability of being replaced by computers over the next 10 to 15 years.


“Despite the great many benefits of new technologies, we desperately want to avoid the slide to a labour market platform that forces workers to bid against each other for parcels of work in some kind of brutal, reverse eBay-style auction,” Oliver said.

“The challenge for all of us – unions, employers, regulators and governments – is to harness the technological opportunities and make them work for, rather than against, worker’s best interests,” he said.


Cash said “more than ever, education and training are important for succeeding in the labour market. By 2019, the number of jobs available for highly-skilled labour is projected to be more than double the number available in 1991.


“How Australia’s workforce fares in the long term will depend on our ability to help workers make transitions to new and better jobs. Our biggest challenge will be to ensure no one is left behind,” she said.


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 (2)

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."


Verily Is Building A Google For Medical Information

Posted by Emilton on March 11, 2016 at 8:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Verily Is Building A Google For Medical Information

Anyone can use a search engine like Google to locate the nearest seafood restaurant, or the best school in their neighborhood. But medical researchers don't have an easy way to type in questions and receive meaningful answers.


Andy Conrad, who heads up Verily—formerly known as Google Life Sciences—is working with a coalition of academic hospitals, physicians, universities, and patient advocates to bring medical information into one place. He calls it the "Google of human systems biology."


"Unfortunately, most of the information that scientists use isn’t easily available," Conrad said on stage at the Future of Genomic Medicine conference in San Diego on Thursday. "That information sits around in difficult-to-crack domains."


Conrad didn't provide many specific details on how the product would work. But he did say that it would involve a library of sorts that leverages machine-learning technology. "It doesn't work as wonderfully as a human," he says. "But it can answer questions."


He confirmed a rumor that Verily's team is working out of a 500,000-square-foot campus in South San Francisco, just a stone's throw from Alphabet's corporate headquarters. The size of the workforce remains unknown, but Conrad said he is adding 1,000 people in the coming months.



Indexing the world's medical information isn't a particularly new idea. IBM Watson and other tech behemoths are developing artificial intelligence technologies to do just that.


But Conrad, who previously worked at Google's research and development lab Google X, implied that Verily is taking a more human-centered approach. Medicine is as much an art as a science, so Verily is working with patient advocates, mothers, and doctors to determine how to aggregate data that can't be found in scientific journals.


As an example, Conrad said he recently spoke with a high-profile doctor who used loosely veiled code like "TLS" ('they look sick') to describe his patients. These notes might mean a lot to an individual doctor, but they mean very little to anyone else. "How would you capture that in an algorithm?"



This isn't Google's first foray into health care. The ill-fated Google Health shut down in 2011 after it failed to gain traction with consumers.


But Conrad said he has learned from previous failures. "In our early forays into health care, we had a bunch of engineers that might not be wonderfully in touch with the rest of the world, especially at Google," he recalled. "But the most interesting thing we did then was to gut an office and turn it into this sequencing lab filled with physicists."


Going forward, Conrad suggested that Verily will explore how to incorporate data from devices, like smartphones, into its database. These tiny devices that we carry around in our pockets contain a wealth of health information beyond step counts. Conrad pointed to the potential of using smartphones to determine if a person is depressed.


"People often ask me about the future of medicine," he said. "We think the most important tool is the computer."


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


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