Shazeeye's Blog Thoughts on User Experience, Technology and Business

30Aug/110

Managing Disruptive Innovation

PARC or Palo Alto Research Center, a Xerox Company in Silicon Valley has contributed tremendously to commercial innovation through ethnography. I am a huge advocate of ethnography and PARC pioneered this process of studying human behavior and "hybridized" it with other social science and analytical methods to optimize it for business application - particularly for addressing new opportunities, customers and markets. PARC owns 2500 patents and have created products such as GroupFire (acquired by Google), Inxight (acquired by SAP) and Uppercase (acquired by Microsoft). You can see some of their presentations here. On August 18th I went for a presentation on Managing Disruptive Innovation by Tamara St. Claire, VP of Global Business Development and Head of Commercial Operations.

Tamara spoke about managing disruptive (vs. incremental) innovation, its risks, two case studies and lessons learned.  Incremental innovation happens in existing markets (left column in image on right) while disruptive innovation happens in new markets (right column) and is more challenging to manage. She mentioned three risks in disruptive innovation - technology, market and execution- emphasizing that markets and execution are the most challenging factors to overcome. A further breakdown of the risks are found in the image below. Lack of credibility/experience (includes C level stakeholders), lack of channel (sales/distribution network) and lack (actually the inability to filter through too much) of information are critical risk factors.

The best way to enter a market of disruptive innovation (with existing or new technology) is to start with a minimal viable product (MVP) introduced at the right time and a strong value chain. MVP is a product with a limited set of features that fits the user needs of a niche market. Once the product has gained an audience ideas to gain mass market with added features can be explored. Tamara gave an example of one of PARC's chip packaging technology which was introduced seven years ago but shelved due to bad timing. It was reworked seven years later by partnering with Sun Microsystems and Oracle due to their advances in chip technology. The value chain are a group of activities (see image below- extreme right) that help to bring the product to market. In existing markets best practices help define a path to market entry but in disruptive markets one has to be flexible and shift gears depending on learnings. It is also critical to partner with experts and consultants studying these new markets as well as visit trade shoes and conferences to learn as much as possible. Partnerships are forged to strengthen the chain and build credibility.

Case Study: Printed Electronics Services

PARC developed low cost disposable printed flexible electronic expertise and devices can be applied in health electronics, packaging and biomedicine. When DARPA (Defense Agency) contacted them to develop an early detection solution to prevent brain injury for soldiers they partnered with consultants and experts to expand their printed electronics services for defense applications. They soon realized they couldn't manufacture the films at the scale desired and thus decided to play a connector role (flexibilty to change is key) between materials and manufacturing.  They partnered with Polyera and 2 other manufacturers thus giving up positions in the value chain and concentrating on their strength (network orchestrator). The lessons are outlined in the image on the right where N=1 means that they relied on more than one consultant or expert to help traverse this new territory and in many cases related to disruptive innovation a group of experts help bring together a holistic viewpoint and a superior product. The other lessons were to be flexible to change course, focus on strengths in the value chain and partner in areas of weaknesses.

Case Study: Content-Centric Networking Protocol

PARC developed a communication protocol complementing existing IP infrastructure to reduce the cost of distributing video and other content in IP/TV networks. Content-Centric Networking uses a unique architecture that caches content closest to the users who request it most thus reducing network capital cost and operating expense.  To create this solution PARC collaborated with Van Jacobson, Chief Scientist at Cisco and an IP/TV expert and took it to open source for feedback. They tested this network with the government and early adopters and used feedback to improve the solution to get critical mass. The lessons here were to get the right commitment, gain critical mass and engage user feedback early.

Overall lessons are to use ethnography to understand how people are using your products and thus have a well defined MVP. Disruptive innovation is more about unique business models and integrating technology. As a company expands it is critical to have a portfolio of products ranging from core to next gen products and using a process to manage this innovation can be the difference between success and failure.

11Oct/102

Health 2.0 conference: Top 3 promising health 2.0 companies

I attended the Health 2.0 conference on Oct 7th in San Francisco. I would like to share with you my top 3 promising health 2.0 companies. Unfortunately, my views on this post could be biased as I only attended the first day of the two day event. The conference was an eye opener to me not just because of the sheer number of disruptive healthcare startups out there (Health 2.0 tracked 850 companies over its past 4 annual conferences)  but also because of the strides taken in empowering the patient.

So, what is Health 2.0? The shift from traditional in clinic, doctor-dependent healthcare to patient empowered healthcare via web-based and mobile technologies that harness collective intelligence and predictive analytics of user generated communities. Of course, with disruptive technologies that challenge the norm, its only a matter of time when an integrated solution for all these different platforms would provide a more comprehensive solution. I look forward to health 3.0 and the convergence of such platforms.

Coming back to the promising companies at the conference:Health 2.0, Wellness

1. Unity Medical's Health Risk Assessment (HRA): I chose this for 2 main reasons- first, it addresses the wellness market and second, its personalized health recommendations and innovative data collection method using video transforms patient engagement and education.

The wellness market is aimed at keeping people healthy and disease free. It's a huge market and is what healthcare should be about -keeping people healthy and not healing people after they fall sick. Basically, the tool utilizes a female guide that alks to you through video to collect some basic  health information thus increasing participation and ease of use by transforming a boring process of collecting information (usually with a form in traditional methods) into a more engaging process. The information is then processed and a set of personalized recommendations are given to you. This should increase patient engagement and reduce the burden on traditional methods of patient education. It's also iPad compatible and customizable for doctors that want to collect specific information.

2. Sharecare: Jeff Arnold, the creator of WebMD, has started Sharecare, a new venture, with Dr Mehmet Oz. SharMatt Holt, WebMDecare, according to Jeff, is the "next generation of WebMD". The value of Sharecare comes from a 3 tiered pyramid. At the top lies the user communities answering questions related to 47 nodes ranging from allergies to women's health. In the middle lies the greatest value of Sharecare which is the power of the Sharecare network. Jeff has signed celebrities such as Dr. Oz, authors, powerful health groups such as the American Diabetes Association, local hospitals such as the Brigham and Women's Hospital and Industries such as Walgreens and Colgate. They help in providing quality content to the questions while establishing their brand through a Facebook-like page dedicated for each of them to add videos, user testimonials, etc. At the bottom of the pyramid is the accessibility of this service which is spread through mobile applications and extensive sharing and search supported features.

3. HealthLine: I chose this company for its innovative method to educate consumers. Healthline has collabor3D health visuals to empower consumers to make better health decisionsated with GE to provide visually enriched stunning 3D visuals of how diseases affect the body. These videos make medical jargon easy to understand empowering consumers to make better health decisions. Healthline's health map is a visual search tool to better navigate the vast resources on the site. You can even customize and add notes to the medical information on the site.

Some other companies that piqued my interest:

- MedHelp: builds health related mobile applications such as I'm Expecting (to help you through pregnancy) and Sleep On It (to track your sleep patterns and optimal sleep time) and boasts of the largest online health community

- PatientsLikeMe:helps find patients with similar diseases to learn from their stories and to build a supportive network to help through the emotional turmoil of the disease

- Qpid.Me: helps people make better decisions before having sex, by verifying their HIV/STD results and communicating these results through text messaging

Page 1 of 11

Switch to our mobile site