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Archive for May, 2011

By James Burchill

RBC Capital Markets General Manager Mike Abramsky noted to investors recently that his firm believes the tablet market is going to explode quickly. He noted that while Apple will hold the market for the near-term, by the end of 2014, Android would hold sway and that at least 185 million tablet computers will be on the market by then as well.

Tablets themselves, he continued, would be a $70 billion market in 2014 (up from $10 billion last year). With Android and Apple systems facing off, those in the marketing industry will need to diversify to stay current.

 Why Tablets Matter in Marketing

Tablets will replace notebook and even Netbook computers for many users. Currently, iPad adopters are almost exclusively males aged 22-45 with an upper-level income. This is one of the hottest and most sought-after markets out there and they’re using tablets.

This trend will grow and as tablets proliferate, their market audience will widen. Tablet users tend to be more engaged, more apt to focus in a single-tasking environment, and to be more accessible for marketing.

If you get in early.

JAMES BURCHILL shows individuals and companies how to profit from the innovative use of Internet technologies, strategic content and social media marketing. You can find out more at James’ website and you can subscribe to his J-List and get over 40 articles, reports and advice on Internet Marketing today.

The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers provide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

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By Robert Brands

R&D, Marketing, Sales, Finance, IT – you’re familiar with the most common departments within a standard company, and have likely been involved with one or more. You know it can be a real challenge for unalike minds to understand where each other is coming from regarding any number of topics within a project. As an owner, you have to be the champion – the true driver of the process in order to create cross-divisional cohesion removing the silos.

First and foremost, never underestimate the importance of selecting associates who are passionate about your product (or service) and effort. Hiring employees who truly believe in your product and company possess an innate form of motivation, and are far less likely to derail your efforts if they aren’t being rewarded or recognized on a constant basis. Passionate associates always strive to give their top effort towards the cause. Choosing all employees this way will ensure that you’ve got a team that is ready and willing to cooperate.

1.       Assign specific tasks to a dedicated “owner.” Your associates will perform best when they feel as though they are essential members of the team. Not only is delegating crucial for organizational purposes, it has the welcome side effect of making each and every employee feel “special,” an invaluable reward all its own. This will also increase overall understanding and alignment by having defined innovation and mutual understanding of customer needs and wants, not just departmental needs. If you make each employee responsible for a specific task, each will feel like an equally vital part of the process, helping to create cohesion.

2.       Set specific goals: As the leader, it is up to you to create commonality and a common goal like “at least one new product per year.”

3.       Create common incentives: Create a common bond by having like objectives and incentive payouts for good results, like offering a new product sales bonus as a percentage of turnover.

Creating cohesion across all departments within your company is a challenge every business owner faces. But if you follow the aforementioned innovation rules, you are guaranteed to encourage mutual respect and cohesion among members from all divisions. For more additional tips on how to create the best possible team for your company, look for Robert’s Rules of Innovation.

Robert is the founder of InnovationCoach.com, and the author of “Robert’s Rules of Innovation: A 10-Step Program for Corporate Survival, with Martin Kleinman published by Wiley. Helping to Evaluate, Improve and Deliver Innovation through 10 Imperatives that Create and Sustain “New” in Business or Organization.

The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers provide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

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Part 4 of the highlights from OCE Discovery 2011  

By Pam Banks

Innovation is driven by imagination and technology.  For Ontario to continue to build innovation capacity we need to inspire talented minds along the pipeline.  Ontario Centres of Excellence Discovery 2011 featured budding entrepreneurs on both ends of the spectrum.

The FIRST LEGO League is a mentor-based robotics program for children aged 9-14, designed to get young people excited about science and technology. The program introduces students to real-world engineering challenges by building LEGO-based robots to complete tasks on a thematic playing surface. In addition to building a LEGO robot, the children are also challenged to research and address problems faced by scientists today.

Amanda and Michael, two of the students competing in this year’s competition developed an applied research project on diabetes management.  Current glucose monitoring is invasive, painful, and inconvenient.  The requirement to do this 4-10 times a day often results in non-compliance. So the team decided to come up with an easier, continuous way to monitor glucose levels.

They designed an internal glucose monitoring system that eliminates finger pricking and gives an immediate, real-time blood sugar level so action can be taken. The result was The Sentinel System, which has: a Bio-implant, a Watch, and an optional insulin pump.

Impressively, they designed all the parts necessary to make their innovate product work, as well as a plan on how to get their product approved and ready for the real world.

Front row L-R  Sentinel project team members Michael Catricala & Amanda Rampertab. Back row L – R Pam Banks, Dave Ellis, FLL Ontario

Programs like FIRST are incredibly important to motivate the next generation of innovators.  They are the future and companies such as LEGO have inspired them to explore possibilities outside the realm of a classroom.

For more information about the programs, please visit www.firstroboticscanada.org/ or contact: Dave Ellis (david.ellis@firstroboticscanada.org)

Pam Banks is the Executive Director for RIC Centre.  RIC Centre helps new entrepreneurs and seasoned business people take the next great idea to market in the field of advanced manufacturing, aerospace, life sciences and emerging technology.

The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers pro vide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

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Part 3 of the highlights from OCE Discovery 2011  

By Saadia Muzaffar

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the Ontario Centres of Excellence’s Discovery, which brings together key players from industry, academia, government, the investment community as well as entrepreneurs and students to pursue collaboration opportunities.

One of the panel discussions I attended touched the urgent need of a collective communal vision that will shape the innovation pipeline in Ontario for years to come.

The discussion addressed the need to encourage innovation as part of our extracurricular and academic programs at elementary school level instead of being introduced in a very formal context at universities. The experts in the panel urged to view innovation as a thought process that seeks creative solutions in all aspects of our lives, starting at a very young age, and not something that is restricted to the realm of post-secondary institutions and research-based careers.

Here are two exciting organizations that foster innovation at a grassroots level in Ontario:

Let’s Talk Science – an award-winning, national, charitable organization delivering science learning programs and services that turn children and youth on to science and then keep them engaged.

 Youth Science Ontario’s mission is to empower regional organizations across Ontario to increase youth interest in inquiry-based science and innovation. The programs could reside under the umbrella of the local schools and community centres and libraries.

The panel convincingly illustrated the need for each of us to be a steward for change in our respective community programs, to ensure that we have resources available for youth to explore science much the same way as they have availability of sports or arts programs.

The key message is to work together to build a talent pipeline that supports Ontario’s innovation ecosystem with the help of Ontario-based organizations that help run programs designed to engage, educate and inspire.

–  Saadia Muzaffar, from the Innovation Seminar at OCE Discovery 2011.

Saadia joins the RIC team as the Operations Coordinator responsible for building and execution of activities that fulfill RICC’s mandate. She brings several years of relationship management, corporate communications and operations experience mainly from the financial services industry.

The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers pro vide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

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Part 2 of the highlights from OCE Discovery 2011  

By Jasmeet Duggal

I recently read an article in the May 2011 issue of Backbone Magazine that emphasized the need to invest more heavily in designing electrical systems (i.e. SmartGrids) that are intelligent.

At OCE Discovery 2011, Michael Pawlyn gave the keynote “Biomimicry – A New Paradigm In Sustainable Design.” Biomimicry looks for sustainable innovations that are inspired by nature. Pawlyn emphasized key transformations harnessed by nature to produce restorative designs: radical increases in resource efficiency, moving from a linear to closed loop model, and shifting from a fossil fuel economy to a solar economy.

Michael Pawlyn

Going back to the article, how can SmartGrids be more intelligent? “What would nature do?” This is the fundamental question that is asked in the discipline of biomimicry.

The Toronto-based firm, Regen Energy, has taken design inspiration from nature and applied it to making SmartGrids smarter. Regen’s flagship technology is a wireless device based on swarm logic. If we think of a chaotic swarm, swarm logic is the ability of a collection of bees to find, most effectively, their food source. Regen’s device allows appliances to talk to each other through a specific algorithm based on this swarm logic. With the intention of minimizing how much power the appliances use, collectively, the device is linked to equipment that cycles on and off to minimize energy use.

Nature is the most educated scientist with over $3.8 billion years of R&D experience. All of its creations are a catalogue of what works and what doesn’t. It is a master of restorative design and a powerful way to innovate to provide sustainable solutions to today’s design challenges.

– Jasmeet Duggal, from the Biomimicry Seminar at OCE Discovery 2011.

Jasmeet Duggal is graduate student pursuing a Master of Biotechnology from the University of Toronto. She is currently the Communications Officer for the RIC Centre, a role which has allowed her to engage in the start-up culture, instilling an understanding of entrepreneurship and business development. With her expertise in the life sciences, she hopes to pursue a career in technology transfer to bring innovation in the life sciences to market.

The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers pro vide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

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Part 1 of the highlights from OCE Discovery 2011  

By Abbas Fazalbhoy

The  graph below of Blockbuster and Netflix stock prices is enough to mark the emergence of apps. Netflix, gained momentum when it launched an app for the iPad and iPhone and this led to the demise of the Blockbusters’ brick-and mortar distribution strategy.

Being the first device to capture the lucrative and untapped “app” market, Apple’s Gen I iPhone was the game changer in this space.

Apple’s App Store provided SDK’s to developers and harnessed this resource to develop their apps.

In contrast, RIM did not use this important distribution channel and BlackBerrys did not have BlackBerry App World preinstalled on their phones until 2010. The issue was that the lack of apps did not attract customers and the lack of customers did not motivate developers to develop apps.

The results are clear – Apple has about 200,000 apps, while BlackBerry has 12,000. Google was not far behind. After realising that the Gen I Android was not gaining momentum, Google partnered with hardware manufacturers such as Samsung and HTC. Krista Napier, Senior Analyst, at Canadian Digital Media & Emerging Technology, IDC Canada, says that Android is said to be the market leader in 2015, while Apple and RIM rank second and third and Microsoft gains some traction with the Windows Phone.

Kunal Gupta, CEO of Polar Mobile sees apps moving from cell phones and tablets to cars and televisions in the future. Beverley Public School has made tablet devices available to children with autism, a novel use of existing technology.

As Canada moves towards creating an information hub, strategic partnerships and promotion of entrepreneurial spirit among students will garner impetus. One such group, called Impact Entrepreneurship Group, is worth mentioning.

There are currently 520,625 apps in the World with this number expected to double every year for the next three years. As the iPad ad states, “It’s already a revolution, and it’s only just begun”.

Abbas Fazalbhoy, from the App Revolution Seminar at OCE Discovery 2011

Abbas Fazalbhoy is currently pursuing his MBA at McMaster University majoring in Strategic Business Valuation. He has held several management positions in the IT arena and has worked closely with software development. Abbas currently works as Business Analyst at the RIC Centre.

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In partnership with the World Greenism Investment and Trade Promotion Association (WGITPA) and the China Hi-Tech Industrialization Association (CHIA), the Canada International Economic and Cultural Exchange Association (CIECEA) is launching the first Canada-China Green Investment Business Forum in Toronto on 27 and 28 May 2011.

In addition to potential opportunities for Green investment in China and Canada, this event is also an excellent chance to network with others in the Green industry.  Many key players and authorities will be in attendance including government officials, policy makes, experts and entrepreneurs in the field as well as utility companies, energy equipment companies and cleantech companies.

Throughout the event there will be panel discussions on various topics including the U.N.’s report on “Global New Green Deal” as well as business matching and networking sessions.  Keynote speakers for the event include:

  • Andrew Bowerbank, a respected authority on green buildings, industrial design and low-carbon economics.
  • Nicholas Parker, the chairmen of Cleantech Group LLC.
  •  Peter A. Bruijns who has guided numerous biotechnology start-up companies and has a degree in Mechanical Engineering and an MBA from the Ivey School of Business
  • Robert C. Kay, a seasoned corporate director and advisor with extensive experience in international commerce.
  • Stephen Somerville, the Vice President of a U.S. based Greenfield development asset management and transaction execution company, Competitive Power Ventures (“CPV”).

For more details and registration information please visit www.ccgibf.com.

The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers provide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

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On Wednesday, June 15th, RIC Centre will be hosting the finale of the Growing Your Business breakfast series of the 2010/2011 season.  We are proud to bring back the very successful Innovator Idol for the third straight year.

Four emerging companies will have their chance to pitch their business to a panel of industry experts. If you would like to particpate the application deadline is May 26 at 4 p.m. For applications and more details please visit www.riccentre.com or contact Jasmeet Duggal at jasmeet@riccentre.com.

A panel of experts will provide feedback on individual presentations  and business plans and with that influence; the audience will get to select the winner.  If you would like to have an impact on which company will be selected to win thousands of dollars worth of cash and prizes please join us for Innovator Idol III.

Entrepreneurs will have the unique opportunity to see what goes into a good business pitch and hear tips and tricks from experts on how to make their own presentations more successful.  Potential investors will have the chance to listen and compare multiple investment opportunities.

Innovator Idol III will take place June 15th, 2011 at the Noel Ryan Auditorium, Mississauga from 8:30am to 11:00am.

Registration to the event includes parking and breakfast. For more details and to register visit www.riccentre.com or contact Jasmeet Duggal at jasmeet@riccentre.com.

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By Robert Brands

 No matter if it’s a test score, sports game result or a sales figure, what we measure is what goes down in history. After all, “what’s measured is treasured.”
It’s human nature to look back at past results as a basis for comparison and for improvement in the future. For this reason, it is absolutely essential to carefully observe and measure performance in the New Product Development process. In each of the different stages of the process, keep track of how much time is being spent so you know if you are ahead or behind schedule compared to past NPD cycles.

What gets measured is what gets done. Therefore, it’s necessary to set leading and lagging indicators for how the NPD process is going. Leading indicators such as the number of new ideas in the database, number of projects in the hopper, patents applied to, and amount of time and resources spent are all important information that give you insight on the NPD progress. Lagging indicators could include number of new products introduced, patents granted, new product sales in the first three years after launch, and how close your team is getting to the goal of introducing “at least one new product per year.”

By the way the traditional measurement of % of R&D spend is no guarantee for success!

Things will not always go as planned so now is the opportunity to make corrective actions. By measuring performance, you will be able to address your team on what’s working and what’s not for continuous improvement.

Success in product development is seen as one of the top indicators of the future performance of a company. To sustain Innovation, companies need to continuously improve their new product development capabilities. Quantitative and qualitative measurements of new product development will lend insights into a company’s strengths and weaknesses.

Measuring performance doesn’t stop after your product is launched. Now it’s time to measure the fruits of your labor. Some very important and telling information can be collected during the first three years after the launch of a product. In a survey of 200 companies that design and develop new products, they shared these key performance indicators.

1. Measure Research & Development spending as a percentage of your total sales.

2. Look at your total number of patents filed, pending, awarded and rejected.

3. Track your total R&D head count, hours or days spend.

4. Measure the current year percentage of sales due to new products released in the past year, past three years, and past five years.

5. Count the number of new products released.

These metrics should be examined after every New Product Development cycle so you are clear on your spendings and ROI for each product. Look at your ratio of new product sales compared to total sales. Now you have a basis for comparison and can set a target goal for the next new product. This management by objectives style uses ongoing monitoring and is an effective method for keeping the NPD team focused on achieving goals. By looking at opportunities in the New Product Development process to increase ROI, companies are able to improve performance and ultimately, increase shareholder value.

Robert is the founder of InnovationCoach.com, and the author of “Robert’s Rules of Innovation: A 10-Step Program for Corporate Survival, with Martin Kleinman published by Wiley. Helping to Evaluate, Improve and Deliver Innovation through 10 Imperatives that Create and Sustain “New” in Business or Organization.

The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers provide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

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By Knowlton Thomas

FMC has launched one of a series of microsites targeted to assist its clients.

This first site is called TechStartUpCenter, and as one may draw from the rather uninspired name, its content is about helping tech startups.

Prepared by FMC’s legal experts in tech and intellectual property, and built on the slogan “The Ultimate Guide from Startup to IPO,” the site covers “legal and business issues impacting technology entrepreneurs, executives and investors.”

Currently, top articles include “Vesting and buyback rights” and “Understanding intellectual property rights,” topics that are crucial for company leaders to comprehend but are often not covered in sufficient detail outside of the legal realm.

There is a surprisingly large amount of content available on the site, covering an impressive range of concepts, and it’s all available for free – so there’s no reason that you’re budding tech company shouldn’t investigate what TechStartUpCentre has to offer.

Reposted from Techvibes Media

Knowlton Thomas is the Associate Editor of Techvibes Media. He is also the Web Editor of The Other Press, a weekly newspaper, and a regular columnist for them as well.

The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers provide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

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