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Posts Tagged ‘experimenting’

New Pegasus, the photovoltaic donkey

20130615-092355.jpg A new Pegasus roams the countryside of Macedonia. In the heart of the wine region, near Kavadarci, a donkey quietly grazes while recharging its batteries through the two solar panels deployed on its wings. As its owners lead it through the hills, Pegasus offers its 1000W batteries to anyone who might need them and allows his human companions to recharge their laptops and cameras when they camp at night.

Imagined by Philémon and Arnaud Verley, two artists from Lille, France, Pegasus is an experiment rather than an innovation. It has a use but no market. Yet the experiment illustrates brillantly how art and technology can team up to sketch out a different future where power generation could become portable and distributed amongst users.

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Permanent care-taker gov to become political innovation of the decade

June 14, 2011 1 comment

A year ago, thanks to its inability to form a government, Belgium became the laughing stock of political commentators. Today, nobody is laughing, not only because the media circus has moved on, but also, more interestingly, because what started as a political accident, may well turn out to be a successful political experiment. Read more…

When your analytical mind smiles down at you with an objection, all you have to do is smile back

February 27, 2011 3 comments

Today I continue my exploration of the interaction of the analytical mind and creativity with a recent real-life example.

People often regret not being creative enough. They think cannot generate novel ideas. More often than not, the issue is not an inability to generate ideas, but a stronger ability to kill them instantly, which stems from the analytical brain: when an idea pops up, timid and fragile as a late winter flower, stamping it down with all sorts of logical reasons why it will not work is easy. Dead easy. To shamelessly paraphrase Burke in reverse, all that is required for the demise of new ideas is for the analytical brain to do everything.

It is however possible to keep your analytical mind in check. The case presented itself to me in a mentoring discussion last Friday. Read more…

Dikes or Halophytes: letting go is a good way to spur innovation

January 17, 2011 1 comment

Saline marshlands abound around the world. They are low-lying areas that get flooded with sea water in spring tides, making the soil saline and usually unsuitable for traditional agriculture. In a number of cases in Europe, they have been drained and reclaimed from the Middle Ages and have become prime agricultural lands protected by heavy dykes. Emblematic examples include The Fens in England, the Marais de Dol near Mont-Saint-Michel in France, and of course a large part of the Netherlands.

As the average sea level rises, more pressure will be put on the sea defenses that these areas rely on. While the historical response has been to consolidate dykes, in the future another response may be halophyte plants: plant species that grow in high salinity soil. Read more…

With Autolib’ the electric BlueCar accelerates

December 17, 2010 2 comments

This week, life-long entrepreneur Vincent Bollore and his BlueCar won the contract to run the Autolib’ scheme of the city of Paris. The story so far is rich of innovation lessons.

Firstly, Autolib’ builds on the success of Velib’ and replicates its business model. Launched in 2007 in Paris and now replicated in many other European cities, Velib’ is a bike rental scheme that allows customers to pick a bike from one of the 1,200 points in Paris (one every 300 meters) and return it to another, without having to worry Read more…

Innovating does not have to be difficult

October 12, 2010 3 comments

In the workshop I ran at the W.I.N. Conference in Paris early October 2010, one of my key messages was: innovation happens in many different ways and places. It is not necessarily about new technology, it can be about new customers or new business models. It is not necessarily about a world-scale change, it can be very small-scale and localised. I could have added Read more…

Casting aside the fear of failure

April 9, 2010 1 comment

“The only adventure that is doomed from the start is the one we do not attempt.”

“La seule aventure d’avance vouée à l’échec est celle qu’on ne tente pas.”

Paul Emile Victor