Category Archives: Innovations

TEDx Promotes the Literacy of Speech

TED was started by Chris Anderson a number of years ago by promoting “ideas worth spreading” through its annual TED Conference with talks from global leaders. The 18-minute talks are then posted on for free viewing. TEDx is a year-old offshoot, offering individuals and groups a way to host local events around the world — which are now occurring daily. Trinity University in San Antonio just hosted a local TEDx.

TEDx represents radical openness and passion from each speaker. What started as highly visible speakers making powerful speeches, like Gates, has revolutionized the art of the spoken word. SmartPlanet published an interview with the founder Anderson, who spoke on changing the world, one video at a time. He says:

I think anyone who has read great books or watched a half-dozen TED talks will say, “My goodness, my world just shifted,” and understand the impact of great ideas. If you don’t get the power of ideas, you will think TED is a very strange thing.

Anderson believes that “there’s a whole new literacy that’s being developed” in these videos. “Reading and writing is how we teach our kids to communicate with the rest of the world, because that’s been the only game in town. Now, the literacy of speech is going to be more important.”

My take away from this interview:

There’s 1,000 talks now. I love the talks that give a different lens on the world and especially those that give a different lens on your own mind. It’s a shock to discover just how buggy and flawed our minds are.

Check out Chris Anderson: How web video powers global innovation


Serendipitity while reading “Where good ideas come from”

The book Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation led me to music I had never heard before, a study on entrepreneurs from Stanford University, and another way of using Facebook. And that was just the beginning.

I’ll start with ideas.  Where do good ideas come from?  According to the author, they don’t materialize in a vacuum. Good ideas, he says, come from the social or informational interactions in diverse and unique settings.  He identifies seven “patterns” in which new ideas are formed and backs them up with examples. I haven’t finished, but the take aways so far are leading me on a new journey:

1. You don’t reach Serendip by plotting a course for it.  You have to set out in good faith for elsewhere and lose your bearings serendipitously. (A quote by J. Barth, a postmodernist writer)

2.Music. The author shares an example of how diversity in thinking led musicians Eno and Bryne to produce My Life in the Bush of Ghosts:

“Rather than featuring conventional pop or rock singing, most of the vocals are sampled from other sources, such as commercial recordings of Arabic singers, radio disc jockeys, and an exorcist. Musicians had previously used similar sampling techniques, but never before been used “to such cataclysmic effect” as on My Life.”

If you don’t buy the whole album on itunes, at least buy America is Waiting.

3. A study in the late 90s investigated the relationship between business innovation and diversity.  The results showed the most creative individuals consistently had broad social networks that extended outside their organization and involved people from diverse fields of expertise.

“Diverse, horizontal social netweorks were three times more innovative than uniform, vertical networks. Groups united by shared values and long-term familiarity, conformity and convention tended to dampen any potential creative sparks.”

4. Which leads me to Facebook, and any social networking site like LinkedIn. Not your friends, but acquaintances. Or people you hardly know because they are in another field or industry than yours.  As other studies have shown, building bridges outside your realm of existence, allows you access to new ideas that you can use in a new context. Looking at those “weak ties” of your social network allows information to travel back and forth throughout a network.  And it is not just the speed in which ideas and information travels across a network, it is the openness the information from one area triggers a connection that leads to a new breakthrough.

Obviously, I suggest your own journey of serendipity while reading this book.

Not the ipad and beer keg; it’s just a car

So while we in the U.S. are using our ipads to monitor our beer kegs, our colleagues in Germany are doing a little something more sophisticated.  Well, I mean ALOT more sophisticated, if you call using the ipad to run an autonomous taxi a sophisticated use of the ipad.

Thanks Mashable!

Techies who love their ipads and beer

Now this semester, some of the engineering products the business students are working on lack the real “God-awful” problem it takes to turn an idea into a business.  But with creativity and passion, we will overcome!  We have a great example to learn from.  The Yelp guyss in this video have turned a passion for beer and a love of their ipads into an innovative resource for most college students! I know I’d buy one if it were on the market.

Check it out!

Technology AND Content

It’s all over the internet: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation launched a $20 million new grant program to boost education technology.  Not surprised but quite interested in what grants will be supported and by whom. The foundation will aim “to help dramatically improve college readiness and college completion in the United States through the use of technology.” The grants will range from $250,000 to $750,000.

My concern:  what about the content?  Many teachers in schools, colleges and universities just don’t know how to use the technology to its potential.  I’d rather see a call for grants for new content.

I posted sometime ago about what one man is doing for some schools in Israel: bought everyone a laptop and then made ALL content computer generated, easy to use, and educationally progressive.  Can’t have technology in school without the content!

Customer satisfaction: Facebook and IRS score low

A new study by ForeSee Results and the American Customer Satisfaction Index finds that U.S. consumers regard social media sites Facebook and Myspace as lowly as they regard cable providers, airlines and the I.R.S.

The Annual E-Business Report for the A.C.S.I. study encompassed thirty online media brands in the categories of: portals and search engines, news and information sites and for the first time in July 2010, social media sites.

On a 0-100 point scale, Facebook scored just 64 points.

So why do 350 million users connect on Facebook? That’s 2/3 of the entire globe!

Get your 15 minutes of fame

Can’t pass up reminding you about this! I don’t know how interesting she is, but her blog about her is, so read more!
Do you have a small business that you’re trying to grow, but need Venture Capital? Do you know how to write a great business plan, or how to meet those Venture Capitalists? Are you afraid of losing control of your company by getting that much needed cash?

The Idea Finishing School is an incubator for small business startups in San Antonio. Their goal is to help you make a perfect business plan and then present you to their team of Venture Capitalists who are actively looking to invest in Healthcare, Technology and Green companies.

If you’re looking to grow your business and could use that injection of cash, without losing control of your company, come to the Idea Finishing Schools open house; The Idea Xchange.

This month, Sarah Monahan, owner of ShrimpTank Productions will be speaking about SEO, Social Media Marketing and getting your 15 minutes of fame.

We hold an Idea Xchange of the last Wednesday of each month. The June exchange is:

June 30th, 4-6pm
at the
Idea Finishing School
3463 Magic Drive, Suite 245
San Antonio, TX
Inside the big red SATC building.