June 16, 2011 by cs
Money talks. Or in this case, the sponsors of a new contest to find “the best idea to fix government,” hope it will persuade people far and wide to submit viable technology solutions to improve federal operations.
The Merit Awards contest, sponsored by MeriTalk, which describes itself as an IT community network of contractors, federal employees, and others, is accepting ideas until 6 p.m. Aug. 1. The program includes eight categories: citizen engagement, defense, emergency response, entitlement reform, workforce management and motivation, back office operations, results achievement and waste.
The contest is open to virtually anyone — individuals or teams, government employees or contractors, says MeriTalk’s Mark Meadows. What’s more, entrants may submit ideas however they see fit — from full-blown theses to Twitter messages. That should certainly make things interesting for the judges.
According to MeriTalk, judges will include Rep. Gerald Connolly, D-Va.; former Republican congressman Thomas M. Davis III; Mark Forman, the first administrator for e-government and IT at the Office of Management and Budget; Vivek Kundra, the federal CIO; Vint Cerf, Google executive and Internet pioneer; and MeriTalk’s founder, Steve O’Keeffe.
O’Keeffe, who described Washington as “an innovation wasteland,” said in a statement: “Let’s sic the power of good ol’ American ingenuity on Uncle Sam. And, let’s go further. Innovation knows no borders — nor does it need a green card. We invite Chinese, Indian, any nomination from the four corners of the globe.”
MeriTalk will announce the winner Aug. 23, at the Innovation Nation Forum in Washington.
– by Katherine McIntire Peters – NextGov – 06/13/11 07:16 am ET at http://techinsider.nextgov.com/2011/06/have_a_good_it_idea_for_government_you_could_win_50000.php?zone=NGtoday
June 9, 2011 by cs
The future drop in defense spending should not deter small businesses and innovators from putting forward new ideas, a top U.S. Navy official said June 6, and the coming changes could, in fact, provide opportunities.
“It is going to be tough over the next couple of years to get this right,” Under Secretary Bob Work said of the defense cuts. “We’re going to have many more impediments than defense planners have had in the past.”
Among those challenges, he said, is that the military will still be engaged in the war on terror even as those cuts are made.
“Although it is a challenging time, for small business I see a lot of opportunity,” Work told a luncheon audience at the Navy Opportunity Forum held just outside Washington.
“There’ll be a period of turbulence, without a doubt,” he said. “But no matter what, we’re going to have to rely on the small business community in ways we’ve never relied on them in the past, because we’re going to have to really do things less expensively.”
The annual Navy forum brings together small business technology innovators with Pentagon program managers and industrial prime contractors. Those in attendance include a large number of small businesses – companies with only a dozen or so employees are common – who have completed the initial stages of bringing forward new technologies and are looking to take their ideas to the next level.
“It’s a very good time to be a small business innovator,” Work said. “We want to capitalize on your ability for quick adaptation.”
Work acknowledged the challenges of cutting spending while continuing to meet military commitments around the world. Speaking afterward to reporters, he outlined the way ahead, starting with a major Pentagon effort now underway to determine where cuts can be made.
“The Comprehensive Strategy Review is a pre-Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR),” he said, referring to the study conducted every four years that underpins the country’s military requirements and strategies.
“We’re going to do another full-up QDR in 2013 regardless of the administration” elected in 2012, Work said. “At that point, we will really start to make the final decisions.”
The Comprehensive Strategy Review will “try and make the case on what we think the strategy will [be] over time, 2017 and beyond,” he said.
The review will also enable the White House to come up with an amount for the annual defense budget this fall.
“The way [outgoing Defense Secretary Robert Gates] has described it is: We’re going to be given a number in 2012 that is largely driven by politics,” Work explained. “We’re going to be given a number in ’13 that is probably driven by math. And by ’14 and out, it’s going to be driven by strategy.
“So what we want to know is, let’s make sure that when we start making procurement decisions in ’12 and ’13, they support what we think we’re headed towards,” he said.
Work declined to provide any specifics about what programs might be cut.
“Every single program is on the table,” he declared. “The fact that we’re not talking about anything right now is because the Comprehensive Strategy Review hasn’t been completed and we don’t have our final top-line numbers.
“Anything I would tell you about a program would be just pure guessing,” he continued.
The Navy Opportunity Forum continues through Tuesday and Wednesday in Crystal City, Va.
– by CHRISTOPHER P. CAVAS – June 6, 2011 – Defense News – appeared at http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?i=6726155&c=SEA&s=TOP#.Te_meUhi0cI;email
June 5, 2011 by cs
EI2 has launched an initiative in central Georgia to help smaller manufacturers implement lean principles, a set of tools widely used in manufacturing to help identify and steadily eliminate waste from an organization’s operations. So far, four manufacturers, a hospital and a non-profit charitable organization are enrolled in the Group Lean Implementation Project, also known as GLIP.
“GLIP is a good way for smaller organizations to pool their resources and learn from each other,” said Paul Todd, a lean specialist with EI2. “Manufacturers and non-manufacturers alike can learn how to eliminate non-value added activities and at the same time find out what works for them in their continuous improvement process.”
The following organizations are participating in GLIP:
- Advanced Metal Components in Swainsboro,
- Duramatic in Glennville,
- Easter Seals of Middle Georgia in Dublin,
- Hollingsworth & Vose in Hawkinsville,
- Meadows Regional Medical Center in Vidalia and
- SP Newsprint in Dublin.
As part of the new initiative, EI2 lean specialists Todd and Danny Duggar have led lean overviews, assessed where each organization is in its lean journey, and developed value stream maps, which are diagrams used to analyze the flow of materials and information required to bring a product or service to a consumer.
As part of GLIP, group members rotate hosting events at their facilities, working on specific projects and discussing challenges and successes to date. Already, the team has conducted projects in single-minute exchange of die (SMED) techniques, which shorten the changeover time to reduce production lot sizes and improve flow. The team also applied 5S – a method for organizing the workplace – that stands for sorting, straightening, shining, standardizing and sustaining.
Not only do participating companies benefit from the lean implementations, but they can also take advantage of the Georgia Retraining Tax Credit, in which a company’s direct investment in training can be claimed as a tax credit. Training programs must be approved by the Technical College System of Georgia, and the tax credit can be used to offset up to 50 percent of a company’s state corporate income tax liability. To be eligible, the retraining program must be for quality and productivity enhancements or certain software technologies.
“By utilizing Georgia Tech assistance, we get ideas from professionals who are very well trained and adept in what they’re doing. The other group members bring fresh ideas from organizations with different cultures, backgrounds and types of work that we can take and apply to our companies,” said Daniel Smith, industrial engineering manager for Duramatic Products. “It gives all of us a chance to get out of our comfort zones and see how other companies manufacture so we can use it as a benchmark to improve what we do.”
– by Nancy Fullbright, Georgia Tech- June 1, 2011.
May 27, 2011 by cs
Pindrop Security, a new company based on technology developed by School of Computer Science researchers to verify caller ID, has won the 2011 GRA/TAG Business Launch Competition.
Cosponsored by the Georgia Research Alliance (GRA) and the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG), the competition facilitates connections between the younger entrepreneurial community and more seasoned entrepreneurs. Pindrop, founded by primary researcher and Ph.D. student Vijay Balasubramaniyan, beat out three other finalists to claim the $50,000 cash first prize, as well as more than $200,000 in donated services from the Atlanta business community.
Originally called “PinDr0p,” the technology works by analyzing audio imprints left on calls by the multiple networks—cellular, voiceover IP, public switched
telephone networks—through which they travel. It uses these imprints to positively identify the calling phone with high accuracy. Equally important is
that the identification is made within 15 seconds of initial call placement.
Balasubramaniyan developed Pindrop in collaboration with School of Computer Science and Georgia Tech Information Security Center (GTISC) faculty, including Assistant Professor Patrick Traynor and Professor and GTISC Director Mustaque Ahamad. Earlier this year, TAG named Pindrop Security a Georgia Top 40 Innovation Company, and it also finished second in the 2011 Startup Riot.
“Winning the prize feels great, particularly because there were 88 other great companies competing for it,” Balasubramaniyan said. “It provides great
validation for the technology, the efforts of the team and the market potential. Georgia is a great place to start and build a security-focused technology
company, and we’re pleased to work with the local community to support economic growth and development as we expand our reach into the financial services, government and consumer markets.”
“GTISC researchers are leaders in understanding emerging cyber security threats and in developing innovative techniques that can provide effective
solutions for real-world problems,” said Ahamad. “Pindrop is just another example of this, and it will help maintain Atlanta’s reputation as a security
Balasubramaniyan said the company’s next step will be to use its GRA/TAG competition winnings to hire staff, with plans underway for the next software
release in the fourth quarter of this year.
– published May 26, 2011 – For more information contact: Brendan Streich, Georgia Tech College of Computing, Office of Communications - ude.hcetag.ccnull@hciertsb – Related links appear below:
May 6, 2011 by cs
At the spring training conference of the Association of Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (APTAC) last week, Chuck Schadl was named Vice President of Education for this national organization.
Schadl is the program director of the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC). GTPAC is one of 93 procurement technical assistance centers (PTACs) that operate across the country. PTACs assist businesses in identifying, competing for, and winning government contracts. APTAC is the trade association that represents and supports PTACs.
As Vice President of Education for APTAC, Schadl is one of six officers of the organization who make up the executive committee. As VP, he is responsible for overseeing APTAC’s Education Committee as well as the organization’s Professional Review Board. His appointment became effective on March 24, 2011 when he took the oath of office with other board members.
APTAC’s Education Committee determines the type and content of – and arranges for – the training courses to be presented at national training conferences, including the training courses that fulfill the certification requirements of the Professional Review Board (PRB). The PRB is responsible for managing and administering APTAC’s certification program, including developing and maintaining a method of recognizing the professional qualifications of procurement technical assistance specialists, promoting the value of APTAC’s certification and upholding the integrity of the certification process.
“I’ve been active in APTAC ever since I joined GTPAC in 2003,” commented Schadl. “In my new role, I’m looking forward to making an even more meaningful contribution to the organization and its membership. In turn, this should translate into better service to the businesses that PTACs serve nationwide.”
May 6, 2011 by cs
Nothing happens without leadership. It is the single most universal skill in life.
On Friday, May 20, 2011, from 9:00 am until noon, Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute will conduct a no-cost training and networking event focusing on how military leadership can be applied to the civilian world. Featured speakers also will explore the classic building blocks of leadership and provide tools for applying leadership at any level of an organization.
Here are details:
- “Military Leadership Techniques Applied to Civilian Enterprise” – Two former military officers will recount their collective experiences as they relate to current challenges and opportunities in the civilian world. What is it that makes the military so successful in some things and how can the very best practices In the uniformed services be adapted to serve us as civilians? These and other topics will be addressed by this revealing presentation. Speakers: Chip Beckham is a former Navy helicopter pilot with ship-based deployments in anti-submarine warfare, search and rescue and logistics. He now works overseeing quality growth at Nordson Corporation, a world-wide manufacturer of adhesive and coating dispensing equipment. Bernie Flank is a former Navy diver with a vast array of experience in salvage diving and small unit military operations. He currently works in network architecture design and deployment at AT & T.
- “Building your Leadership Potential” – This is an engaging presentation on the classic building blocks of leadership. We’ll discuss how character, clarity, communication, and credibility constitute the four pillars of leadership, and provide tools for building leadership potential at any level of an organization. Topics will include development of a personal values statement, organizational vision, improving powers of clarity, building credibility through charisma, storytelling as a communication strategy, and many more. Speaker: Craig Cochran has assisted countless companies become more competitive. His books include practical guides on quality, continual improvement, customer loyalty, and problem solving. Craig has spent the last few months fine tuning his approach to leadership and is excited about sharing it.
This event is free, but you must pre-register to attend. To register, please click this link and enter the requested information: http://gamep.org/?page_id=1329.
This event will take place at the GTRI Auditorium at 250 14th Street, Atlanta. This is the building right beside Georgia Public Broadcasting on 14th Street. You can’t miss it. Parking is free inside the parking deck. Your internet mapping programs (such as Mapquest) and your GPS devices will accurately guide you to 250 14th Street.
April 28, 2011 by cs
Entrepreneurs are a powerful economic force. They create jobs, grow businesses, and develop the innovations on which America thrives. In order to help entrepreneurs thrive, the White House announced the launch of an initiative called “Start-up America” to celebrate, inspire, and accelerate high-growth
entrepreneurship throughout the nation.
This initiative comes to Georgia Tech on Monday, May 2, 2011. The event is free and open to the public, but advance registration is required.
The “Startup America: Reducing Barriers” event will be held from 1:00 until 4:30 pm on Monday, May 2 at Georgia Tech’s Global Learning Center, located at 84 Fifth Street, NW, Atlanta, GA 30308-1031.
Administration officials will join local high-growth entrepreneurs to discuss the regulatory reforms, reductions and improvements that could be enacted to help high-growth entrepreneurs grow in our country.
This event is free of charge, however pre-event registration is required, and space is limited.
Scheduled to participate are: Marie Johns (Deputy Administrator, US Small Business Administration), Michael Fitzpatrick (Associate Administrator, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs), Teresa Rae (Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the US Patent and Trademark Office), Ronnie Chatterji (Senior Economist, Council of Economic Advisors) and local leaders.
Again, you must register in advance. RSVP to vog.absnull@sreirrabgnicuder.
March 14, 2011 by cs
Amir Aghdaei, president of Tektronix, will deliver the annual James R. Carreker Lecture on April 7, 2011 at 11:00 a.m. in the Van Leer Auditorium on Georgia Tech’s midtown Atlanta campus. His lecture topic will be “The Future of Engineering and Why Innovation Matters.” This presentation will be delivered live to the Georgia Tech-Savannah and Georgia Tech-Lorraine campuses.
2011 marks the 65th anniversary of Tektronix. Amir Aghdaei, president of Tektronix, will visit the Georgia Tech campus to discuss how the engineer’s job is impacted by the technology trends driving our industry today. He will also share his view about the importance of technology and innovation to address the acceleration of those trends in the future.
Amir Aghdaei was appointed president of Tektronix in May 2009. He joined Danaher, the parent company of Tektronix, in October 2008 and completed immersion learning about the company culture and the Danaher Business System. Mr. Aghdaei has more than 20 years of experience in the test and measurement industry. Prior to joining Danaher, he was with HP/Agilent and held a variety of positions in life science and test/measurement businesses. During his tenure with HP/Agilent, Mr. Aghdaei lived in Pennsylvania, Germany, Holland, Colorado, and Singapore. His last position at Agilent was as the general manager/vice president of the Measurement Systems Division.
Most recently, Mr. Aghdaei worked at Credence as the senior vice president of sales and marketing in California. He was accountable for developing Credence’s short- and long-term strategy, refining/repositioning the company’s product portfolio, and developing/executing its worldwide channel strategy.
Mr. Aghdaei earned an M.B.A. from the University of Delaware, master’s of science from Georgia State University, and a bachelor’s of science degree in industrial engineering from the University of Iran.
The announcement may be found at http://www.ece.gatech.edu/jrc-lecture.
January 29, 2011 by cs
1. How do you define innovation? Something different that has impact.
2. What are different types of innovation? Innovation is more than whiz-bang technology; consider different strategic intents (e.g., create a new category, extend current business) or innovation mechanisms (e.g., new product, distribution channel, marketing approach).
3. How do I spot opportunities for innovation? Go to the source: the customer you hope to target.
4. Which customers should I target? Look beyond your best customers to those who face a constraint that inhibits their ability to solve the problems they face in their life.
5. What should I look for? As Drucker said, “The customer rarely buys what the business thinks it sells him”; look for a job-to-be-done, an important problem that is not adequately solved by current solutions.
6. How should I look? Start with deep ethnographic research; avoid focus groups!
7. How do I come up with an idea? Remember the Picasso line “good artists copy, great artists steal;” seek to borrow ideas from other industries or geographies.
8. What is disruptive innovation? An innovation that transforms a market or creates a new one through simplicity, convenience, affordability, or accessibility.
9. What is the best way to disrupt a market? Embrace the power of trade-offs. Seek to be just “good enough” along historical performance dimensions but introduce new benefits related to simplicity or affordability.
10. What does “good enough” mean? Performance above a minimum threshold to adequately solve a customer’s job to be done; sacrificing performance along traditional dimensions can open up new avenues to innovate.
11. What is a business model (and how do I innovate one)? How a company creates, captures, and delivers value; codifying the current business model is the critical first step of business model innovation.
12. How can I “love the low end”? Build a business model designed around the low-end customer’s job-to-be-done.
13. How do I know if my idea is good? Let patterns guide and actions decide; remember Scott Cook’s advice that “for every failure we had we had spreadsheets that looked awesome.”
14. How can I learn more about my idea? Design and execute “high return on investment” experiments to address critical unknowns.
15. How can I get other people behind my idea? Bring the idea to life through visuals and customer testimonials.
16. How long does it take new businesses to scale? Almost always longer than initial projections; be patient for growth and impatient for profits.
17. Why is innovation so important? The “new normal” of constant change requires mastering perpetual transformation.
18. Why is innovation so hard? Most organizations are designed to execute, not to innovate.
19. Who are your influences? Academics like Clayton Christensen and Vijay Govindarajan, leading-edge innovative companies like Procter & Gamble and Cisco Systems, and thoughtful writers like Michael Mauboussin and Bill James.
20. How do I encourage innovation in my organization? Stop punishing anything that smells like failure, recognizing that failure is often a critical part of the innovation process.
21. What is “the sucking sound of the core?” The pull of the core business and business model that subtly influences new ideas so they resemble what the organization has done before.
22. What is an innovation “safe space”? An organizational mechanism that protects innovators from the sucking sound of the core.
23. How should I form and manage innovation teams? Keep deadlines tight and decision makers focused.
24. What is in a good innovation strategy? Overall goals, a target portfolio for innovation efforts, a mechanism to allocate resources to achieve that portfolio, and clearly defined goals and boundaries for innovation.
25. What is the best way to manage an innovation portfolio? Make sure you correctly capture current activities and measure and manage different kinds of innovations in different ways.
26. What does ‘prudent pruning’ mean? Recognizing that destruction is often a critical component of creation.
27. What role should senior executives play in innovation? A big one.
28. How can I personally become a better innovator? Practice – innovation is a skill that can be mastered.
29. How can I find more resources for innovation? Shut down “zombie projects” that are a drain on corporate resources.
30. How can I more quickly turn good ideas into good businesses? Remember what Edison said – genius is “1% inspiration and 99% perspiration”; get ready to sweat.
31. Has anyone built the ability to innovate at scale? An increasing number of companies, such as Google, Apple, Procter & Gamble, Amazon.com, Cisco Systems, Godrej & Boyce, and General Electric.
– Reprinted from Scott D. Anthony’s Havard Business Review blog, December 27, 2010.
January 19, 2011 by cs
Budgets, technology give advantages to nimble government contractors over the larger competitors.
A profound and dramatic shift is underway in the government market that will dictate the type of companies that succeed and fail going forward.
We are witnessing a change from “economies of scale” to “economies of skill” as a successful business strategy in the government information technology market.
A significant share of new business will be driven by companies’ ability to adapt legacy programs to new technology and budget realities rather than capture entirely new programs.
Mergers and acquisitions will be driven by the highly differentiated capabilities of the company to be acquired rather than by the acquiring company’s objective of efficiencies through growth in market share. And if you doubt this is the case, you haven’t attended recent conferences for investors in this market.
Two key market drivers are behind this change in business strategy: budgets and technology.
The outlook for budgets is relatively flat. The implication is that there will be less spending on new program starts but relatively more spending on enhancements and improvements to existing programs. At the same time new technologies not only are being increasingly introduced but also increasingly disruptive.
Disruptive technologies and incremental enhancements are not a good match the classic “design-build-operate” paradigm. Companies in the past have leveraged their scale in the design-build-operate procurement model to win new programs. Companies in the future that can leverage their unique skills, smaller scale and agility in the new world of “adopt-insert-improve” will have a competitive advantage to capture business.
This evolution of the market negates many of the advantages of scale that have driven business strategy. Companies could gain market share and drive top-line growth through acquisitions, while at the same time achieve bottom-line growth through less than proportional increases in overhead and general and administrative costs. Disciplined engineering processes and program management practices provided additional competitive advantage to larger companies in the pursuit of new programs. As a result, many decisions to be a sub rather than prime on new program procurements were driven by the reality of being unable to “compete against the big guys.”
In contrast, just as specialized remodelers have distinct advantages over new homebuilders in renovating buildings, so too do niche companies have competitive advantages in the new adopt-insert-improve environment. Their competitive advantage can reflect specialized expertise in a technology, disciplined architectural and systems engineering capabilities for technology insertion, and subject matter expertise in mission operations.
Traditional reliance on agency relationships and domain knowledge will continue to be necessary but no longer be sufficient to win business for technology enhancements to legacy programs.
There are implications of this new environment for different segments of the market. Niche technology-driven companies will be increasingly attractive – both as teammates and potential acquisitions. Classic systems engineering and technical assistance contractors will be vulnerable if they lack technical knowledge and engineering expertise required for major enhancements to their current programs. Large primes will be on the look out for niche technology companies, and at the same time could likely divest their commodity-type service organizations.
Irrespective, we are seeing the demise of bigger is better as a successful strategy for this market.