Gordon Edge, remembering a great innovator and leader

Gordon Edge

It was with great sadness that I learned of the recent death of Gordon Edge. These are some of my memories of a great technology innovator and business leader.

For a period of almost three years, during the 1980s, I was privileged to work at PA Technology, near Cambridge. This was a great place to be and formed part of what became known as the “Cambridge Phenomenon”.

Populated by a bunch of bright mavericks, it was led by its founder and chief maverick, Gordon Edge. Dressed immaculately, he spoke quietly, using few words, and what words!

Continue reading “Gordon Edge, remembering a great innovator and leader”

Tesla in Texas: two innovations interacting?

Selling innovative products

If you are selling something, then you want people to buy it, but how? The challenge is greater if your product is more innovative. But maybe other innovations can come to the rescue.

Resistance from existing distributors

Tesla_logo

For Tesla, the electric car manufacturer which is shaking up the motor industry, Texas is different. Tesla believe that existing car dealers have little incentive to sell electric cars, so they decided to sell them direct through their own sites, rather like a kind of Apple Store chain for cars.

But in Texas the car dealers don’t like that and they have laws to stop it.
Continue reading “Tesla in Texas: two innovations interacting?”

Any riots in the clouds?

Earlier this week, I overheard an interesting and unusual support call being handled at a company which provides business systems. On the face of it, you might enjoy this topical little story, but it might also get you thinking, as it did me, about some rather more substantial issues.

This customer was calling because he wanted to take his business system home! Continue reading “Any riots in the clouds?”

Come on, Apple; you can multi-task!

My iPad is great. Although completely unjustifiable on any financial basis, I bought a “top of the range” first generation iPad soon after it came out and have never seriously regretted it.

The addition of apparent multi-tasking, in upgraded versions of the operating system, seemed to be a good idea at the time. But for me, with experience of using it on a daily basis, it really is not. This is a counter-counter-intuitive case where “less is more” does not apply. Good old intuition applies: less is less!

The lack of proper multi-tasking is not good; this is compounded by the pretence of some kind of multi-tasking; and I find it increasingly irritating.

Come on, Apple, you can do it!

Organising for innovation

Aspects and characteristics

It is unlikely that anyone doubts that the ability of an organisation to innovate is strongly dependent on the nature of that organisation. Its nature can be described by various characteristics (including cultural, behavioural and structural characteristics) and by several aspects (including the static and dynamic aspects) of those characteristics.  Continue reading “Organising for innovation”

Standards: who’d have them?

Whether to standardise?

“If only there were a standard!” How often have we heard this lament about the need for consistency and the benefits of uniformity? Standards free us from decisions and incompatibilities, and are extremely useful in many situations.

On the other hand, there is the sceptical approach: “The great thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from.” So goes the “standard” joky banter about standards; and it continues: “and if you do not like any of those available, then another one will be along next year.” Continue reading “Standards: who’d have them?”

It’s not about the technology! Or is it?

New experiences, behaviours and techniques come along from time to time. As children, at school, there was always the latest “craze” whether it was for conkers or marbles or assegais (remember those?). As adults, at work and at play, we call them innovations, whether they are new materials, techniques, goods, services, fashions or whole new experiences.

“Social”

At the time of writing (early 2011), one significant “craze” is for “social media”, “social networking”, “social” anything, or, even, simply “social”, … as if we were not social or, at least, sociable before! It’s all the rage. Now we (yup, that includes me) are calling it “social communication” and just round the corner, allegedly, is “social commerce”. It’s fun, it’s different, and it’s a substantial change in something or other, … but in what? Continue reading “It’s not about the technology! Or is it?”