zaterdag 28 februari 2009

Flexible Screens Get Touchy-Feely

Touch and feel: Bendable, touch-sensitive screens could lead to a new generation of more rugged and easy to use portable displays.The first bendable, touch-screen display will be used by the military.

Researchers have developed the first computer display that is both flexible and touch sensitive. They say that the breakthrough could lead to more practical and easier-to-use portable devices.

E Ink, based in Cambridge, MA, already supplies displays that are easy to read in direct sunlight and require little power for both the Amazon Kindle and the Sony Reader, compared to LCDs and plasma screens. E Ink's technology uses a layer of microcapsules filled with submicrometer black and white particles to create a low-power, reflective screen.

Ultimately, though, the goal is to make displays that are not only flexible, but that also respond to touch. The first flexible electronic-paper product, the Readius, is due to launch later this year. This electronic reader features a roll-out E Ink display made by Polymer Vision, based in the Netherlands.

Sri Peruvemba, VP of marketing at E Ink, says that adding touch sensing to this kind of display presents a whole new set of challenges. There are a number of ways to make screens touch sensitive, he says, but most are designed to work with a rigid screen.

Read the whole story at Technology Review>>

dinsdag 24 februari 2009

CEO predicts future uses for Twitter

Innovative ways to connect with customers
At a Churchill Club event in San Francisco, Twitter CEO Evan Williams reveals which possible uses for his microblogging service excite him the most, what the company's most requested feature is, and why he's surprised anyone even uses their service at all.

It’s All About Building Trust

Article of Mark Hordes at

Sometimes “Hard Lessons” are The Best Teacher

April 17th, 20004 will be a day I will long remember. After spending close to four months responding to the clients RFP for systems integration work, I received a phone call from the executive sponsor informing me that they had awarded the consulting work to another firm.

It’s funny when people have to deliver bad news how short their conversations are. “But wait I responded before he hung up, can you give me some feedback as to why we didn’t win the work?” Sure, he said. “You all had the best services bundle, the most experience in our industry, best economic model, highly experienced talent, but you know we just liked that other group better!” What on earth do you mean I responded, how could that be the deciding factor given everything else you mentioned?” “We just seem to like them more, they bonded better with our team, had better chemistry with us and we felt they put our best interest first and we trusted them more!” So at the end of the day, I learned a very important lesson about working with clients, It’s all about building trust and acting like a trusted advisor that really makes a difference.

For the product company with a professional services organization staffed with technical specialists, field service professionals, consultants, engineers and various other technical experts, how can you make the transition from technical specialist to trusted advisor in all your interactions with clients?

Six skills are required:
1. You Have to Think Strategic 
2. You Have to Understand the Fundamentals of Change Management and How to Manage it 
3. You Need Technical Expertise Coupled with Good Communications Skills 
4. You Have to Project a Business Acumen Presence 
5. You Need to be Able to Talk to Clients About Value 
6. Building Trust Is Based Upon Creating Relationships

What would happen if your clients trusted you more? All kinds of great things, like allowing you into enter into their world, asking for your advice, sharing what things will occur before they actually do, seeking you out to help other parts of their organization without the constant focus on just price, and treating you like a partner who has terrific ideas which are acceptable and highly valued throughout their organization.

Bottom-line, creating a trust based relationship with all your clients for your technical specialist is a journey worth pursuing. The skills learned in this process will always sustain the test of time. Remember, its all about building trust!

The 10 Emerging Technologies of 2009

Technology Review presents its annual list of 10 technologies that could change the way we live.

Each year, Technology Review chooses 10 emerging technologies with the potential to change lives around the world. Some of this year's choices, such as paper-based medical tests and intelligent software that acts as a personal assistant, could reach the market within a year. Others, like biological machines and nanopiezotronics, could take longer but promise fundamental shifts in fields from computing to medicine, communications to manufacturing. The list includes technologies miniature and massive--from fast, cheap, capacious computer memory to batteries that can store enough energy to power a city. All are technologies that we bet will make a huge impact in the years ahead.

See the 10 Emerging Technologies of 2009.

maandag 23 februari 2009

A New Route to Terabit Memory

Dense dots: A top view from an atomic force microscope image shows three-nanometer polymer cylinders that self-assemble neatly inside another polymer matrix. Using the material as a scaffold to deposit tiny dots of magnetic material, each serving as a data bit, could give a density of over 10 terabits per square inch.Polymers that arrange into nanostructures could store terabits on a square inch.

The self-assembling of materials known as block copolymers could provide a low-cost, efficient way to fabricate ultra-high-density computer memory. Block copolymers, which are made of chemically different polymers linked together, can arrange themselves into arrays of nanoscale dots on surfaces, which could be used as templates for creating tiny magnetic bits that store data on hard disks. Until now, though, there was no simple, quick way to coax the block copolymer to make the desired arrays over large areas.

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst have found a simple way to coat square inches of substrate with block copolymers. The highly ordered pattern formed by the copolymers could be used to create hard disks with 10 terabits squeezed into a square inch, the researchers report this week in Science.

Read the rest of the story in Technology Review article >>

zondag 22 februari 2009

McKinsey A tool that helps big companies manage their business units

McKinsey Classics
Articles of enduring interest
February 2009

In this narrated animation—one in a series of interactive presentations—a former leader of McKinsey’s strategy practice explains the thinking behind the GE–McKinsey nine-box matrix, a framework that helps multibusiness corporations allocate resources across divisions. Developed in the early 1970s, the matrix rates the prospects of each unit by two factors: its competitive strength within an industry (the horizontal axis) and the attractiveness of the industry itself (the vertical axis).

The position of business units within the matrix provides a way to analyze and manage them. A growth strategy is appropriate if they lie above the diagonal; those along it may be candidates for selective investment, those below for sale, liquidation, or milking. Although criteria for assessing the attractiveness of industries and the strength of units have become more sophisticated, most large companies that model their businesses formally still use the nine-box matrix or one of its offspring. 

vrijdag 20 februari 2009

Six ways to make Web 2.0 work

Web 2.0 tools present a vast array of opportunities—for companies that know how to use them.
Over the past two years, McKinsey has studied more than 50 early adopters to garner insights into successful efforts to use Web 2.0 as a way of unlocking participation. We have surveyed, independently, a range of executives on Web 2.0 adoption. Our work suggests the challenges that lie ahead. To date, as many survey respondents are dissatisfied with their use of Web 2.0 technologies as are satisfied. Many of the dissenters cite impediments such as organizational structure, the inability of managers to understand the new levers of change, and a lack of understanding about how value is created using Web 2.0 tools. We have found that, unless a number of success factors are present, Web 2.0 efforts often fail to launch or to reach expected heights of usage. Executives who are suspicious or uncomfortable with perceived changes or risks often call off these efforts. Others fail because managers simply don’t know how to encourage the type of participation that will produce meaningful results.
Gains from participation

Clay Shirky, an adjunct professor at New York University, calls the underused human potential at companies an immense “cognitive surplus” and one that could be tapped by participatory tools. Corporate leaders are, of course, eager to find new ways to add value. Over the past 15 years, using a combination of technology investments and process reengineering, they have substantially raised the productivity of transactional processes. Web 2.0 promises further gains, although the capabilities differ from those of the past technologies 


Management imperatives for unlocking participation

To help companies navigate the Web 2.0 landscape, we have identified six critical factors that determine the outcome of efforts to implement these technologies.

1. The transformation to a bottom-up culture needs help from the top. 
The best uses come from users—but they require help to scale. 
What’s in the workflow is what gets used.
4. Appeal to the participants’ egos and needs—not just their wallets
5. The right solution comes from the right participants
6. Balance the top-down and self-management of risk.

Read the whole article @ McKinsey >>

dinsdag 17 februari 2009

Alberto Alessi's borderline

Extract from a interview published in McKinsey Quartly with Alberto Alessi (CEO of a leading Italian design company)

The Quarterly: How do your failures influence you? Why are they important?

Alessi: To understand why fiascos matter, I need to explain my theory of the borderline—which divides the areas of “possible” and “not possible.” The area of the possible is represented by those new projects that final customers will be ready to understand, to wish for, to love, maybe to buy. The area of the not possible is represented by new projects people are not able to understand. I admire some marketers and designers whom consumers find extremely difficult to understand. Sometimes they create things that could be used 10 or 20 years later.

Well-organized, mass production companies try to work as far as possible from the borderline. They cannot afford to take too many risks. But by all producing the same car, the same television set, and the same fridge year after year, those companies are making products more and more boring and anonymous.

The destiny of a company like Alessi is to live as close as possible to the borderline, where you are able to really explore a completely unknown area of products. The problem is that the borderline is not clearly drawn. You cannot see with your eyes where it is. You can only sense these qualities.

31 Power Tools For Twitter Lovers To Make Lives Easier

Twitter is a rapidly growing micro-blogging service in these days. It’s a great fun to share information or talk with your friends and the powerful way to spread the word as much as possible. In this post, 31 Power Tools For Twitter Lovers are listed To Make Lives Easier that are free and absolutely useful. Whether you are designer, developer, office worker, manager, supervisor, student, home user, etc. Most of them are not very well-known, but they are really amazing in respect to their features. Just take a look at them and share your thought here.

FlandersDC: Je eigen creatief ondernemersprofiel

Op de site van Flandersdc kun je inzicht krijgen in je ondernemersschap:

Ondernemers - entrepreneurs en intrapreneurs - die meer over hun onderneming en hun persoonlijke stijl willen weten, kunnen hier terecht voor gratis online training. Je krijgt een pak interessante inzichten en concrete tips, die je leert wanneer je wilt. Zo kan je je sterktes versterkten en je zwaktes afzwakken.

maandag 16 februari 2009

Kindle reader

Out of print: The new Kindle is less than a centimeter thick, weighs 300 grams, and turns pages 20 percent faster than its predecessor. The e-ink technology powering its screen is also a newer generation, displaying sixteen shades of gray rather than four. Credit: AmazonTechnology Review

At a press conference held at the Morgan Library in New York City, Amazon announced a new version of its Kindle electronic reading device. While the new device offers important improvements over the original Kindle, it is most significant as a sign of Amazon's ambitions to dominate the transition from printed books to electronic ones.

The Kindle 2's biggest new feature is text to speech, powered by software from Nuance. The device can read a book aloud to a user, and is designed to make it easy to switch between reading and listening. At Monday's launch event, Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon, demonstrated this technology by having the Kindle read from the Gettysburg Address. The device betrayed the stilted speech that is characteristic of most text-to-speech software, but nonetheless pronounced the words clearly and accurately.

Most of the other changes to the Kindle are improvements designed to further its ability to "disappear" while the user is reading, as Bezos put it. At just under a centimeter thick, the device is smaller; is, at 300 grams, slightly lighter than the previous version; and turns pages 20 percent faster, Bezos said. The e-ink technology powering its screen is also a newer generation, displaying sixteen shades of gray rather than four. And the Kindle 2 has enough storage space for 1,500 books instead of just a few hundred. The Kindle 2 will sell for $359 and, as with the first Kindle, will come with free wireless access to Amazon's store.

donderdag 12 februari 2009

Hal Varian on how the Web challenges managers

McKinsey story

Google’s chief economist says executives in wired organizations need a sharper understanding of how technology empowers innovation. 

Extract from the article

More than ten years into the widespread business adoption of the Web, some managers still fail to grasp the economic implications of cheap and ubiquitous information on and about their business. 
On flexible innovation

We’re in the middle of a period that I refer to as a period of “combinatorial innovation.”  .... Now what we see is a period where you have Internet components, where you have software, protocols, languages, and capabilities to combine these component parts in ways that create totally new innovations ...... There are no inventory delays. It’s a situation where the components are available for everyone, and so we get this tremendous burst of innovation that we’re seeing.
On corporations and work
The work goes to you, and you’re able to deal with your work at any time and any place, using the infrastructure that’s now become available ... When we’re all networked, we all have access to the same documents, to the same capabilities, to this common infrastructure, and we can improve the way work—intellectual work, knowledge work—flows through the organization. And again, in my opinion, that will lead to a substantial advantage in terms of productivity.
On free goods and value
Back in the early days of the Web, every document had at the bottom, “Copyright 1997. Do not redistribute.” Now every document has at the bottom, “Copyright 2008. Click here to send to your friends.” So there’s already been a big revolution in how we view intellectual property. So it’s not so much the question of what’s owned or what’s not owned. It’s a question of how can you leverage the assets you have to realize the most value .... We have to look at today’s economy and say, “What is it that’s really scarce in the Internet economy?” And the answer is attention. [Psychologist] Herb Simon recognized this many years ago. He said, “A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.” ....
On workers and managers
... now we really do have essentially free and ubiquitous data. So the complimentary scarce factor is the ability to understand that data and extract value from it ... In the old organization, you had to have this whole army of people digesting information to be able to feed it to the decision maker at the top. But that’s not the way it works anymore: the information can be available across the ranks, to everyone in the organization. And what you need to ensure is that people have access to the data they need to make their day-to-day decisions. And this can be done much more easily than it could be done in the past. And it really empowers the knowledge workers to work more effectively.

On computer monitoring and risks

One of the really interesting phenomena that’s been going on in the last 20 years is what I call “computer-mediated transactions.” So now, in the middle of almost every transaction from person to person or organization to organization, there’s a computer. And the computer can monitor that transaction, record the information, collect the data, and assure that the transaction is carried out the way it was intended to be carried out. So one of the subtle implications of this is you can now write contracts and make contracts enforceable that simply weren’t enforceable before....

On reshaping industries

We’re obviously going to see enormous change in the traditional marketing industry...

The whole interview>>
The video >>

Highest Capacity Flash Memory Yet

Memory multiplied: A micrograph of a 64-gigabit flash chip, which can store four bits per memory cell--double the amount traditionally stored.

Double the normal number of bits are crammed into each memory cell.

SanDisk has announced a significant advance in flash-memory technology that enables 64 gigabits of data to be stored on a chip the size of a fingernail. The new, more spacious flash chips do this by holding four bits per memory cell, as opposed to the standard one or two bits per cell. SanDisk presented details of the advance at the International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco on Tuesday.

In recent years engineers have found a way to increase the capacity of flash drives, without waiting for the transistors to shrink. They do this by storing more than one bit of data per transistor, within what are referred to as multilevel cells (MLCs). In a single-level cell, data is stored using two distinct states, defined by different voltage levels. In contrast, a four-bit MLC stores information in 16 states, which translates into four bits of data per cell, or four times the amount of information.

This trick is by no means easy. Ensuring that each memory cell maintains precisely the right voltage, without disturbing that of neighboring cells, is a major challenge. Another issue is reducing the time that it takes to write to these cells.

woensdag 11 februari 2009

Do schools kill creativity?

A twenty minute impressive speech of Sir Ken Robinson.

Google Ocean

A movie about Google Ocean

Hybrids Powered by Air

Air supply: Guzzella's design replaces a two-liter gasoline engine with a very small 750-milliliter one that's adequate for cruising speeds.Storing energy with compressed air, rather than batteries, could cut the cost of hybrid vehicles.

A new kind of hybrid vehicle being developed at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich could save almost as much fuel as today's gas-electric hybrids, but at a fraction of the cost. Swiss researchers will present the results of experiments with a test version of the new system at the Society for Automotive Engineer's Congress in April.

Conventional gas-electric hybrids use batteries to store energy recovered during braking, which would otherwise be wasted as heat. They later use that energy to drive an electric motor that assists the car's gas engine. But the high-cost of batteries, and the added cost of including two forms of propulsion -- an electric motor and a gasoline engine -- make such hybrids expensive. This has slowed their adoption and limited their impact on overall greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles.

Lino Guzzella, a professor of mechanical engineering at the Swiss Institute, is developing a hybrid that requires no battery or electric motor. Instead, it stores energy by using the engine's pistons to compress air. That air can later be released to drive the pistons and propel the vehicle along. Guzzella says that the system will add only about 20 percent to the cost of a conventional engine, whereas the extra components required in hybrid electric vehicles can add 200 percent to the cost. Computer simulations suggest that the design should reduce fuel consumption by 32 percent, which is about 80 percent of the fuel-savings of gas-electric hybrids, he says. Initial experiments have demonstrated that the design can be built.

Read the whole story >>

dinsdag 10 februari 2009

Boek "De kracht van mensen"

Zojuist een bijzonder toegankelijk en makkelijk leesbaar boek gelezen over hoe in deze tijd een firma geleid kan/moet worden om succesvol de toekomst tegemoet te gaan.

Voordeel van het boek is dat het openhartig geschreven is, waarbij gemaakte fouten gebruikt worden om te leren.
Aanbevolen voor iedereen die begrijpt dat in de toekomst mensen ruimte moeten hebben om te groeien om zo de firma te laten groeien.

5 sterren

Zo staat het op Internet samengevat


Wat gebeurt er als u een bedrijf opricht zonder afdelingen, functies of regels? Roland Hameeteman wilde het weten en richtte in 1991 E-office op, een IT-bedrijf zonder gewichtigdoenerij of haantjesgedrag. Een bedrijf waarin kennis wordt gedeeld in plaats van afgeschermd. 

De onderneming werd een succes, maar niet voordat het door een diep dal ging. Hameeteman ontdekte dat mensen twintigste-eeuwse structuren nodig hebben om in de eenentwintigste eeuw succesvol te zijn. En dat u ze een helder afgebakend gebied moet geven waar ze verantwoordelijk voor zijn. 

'Je moet afspraken maken met elkaar, doelen stellen, mensen aanspreken op hun verantwoordelijkheid. Maar dus niet vertellen wat ze moeten doen - het is hun persoonlijke groei.' 

'De kracht van mensen' is een persoonlijk en openhartig verslag van een ondernemer die met vallen en opstaan ontdekte hoe u professionals kunt helpen om het beste uit zichzelf te halen. En hoe u de organisatie van de eenentwintigste eeuw moet inrichten. 

Dit boek is geschreven voor alle managers en ondernemers die tegen de grenzen van de traditionele organisatie lopen. Het is een inspirerend boek voor iedereen die het talent van hoogopgeleide kenniswerkers nu eens echt wil benutten.