Category Archives: Innovation and Technology

Deloitte reports on technology forces reshaping space sector

“Space, the final frontier”, says Spock in the opening lines of Star Trek. The show is one of a multitude of different pop culture phenomena that flourished largely due to the fascination of humanity as to what must lie in the unknown that our planet floats through. We are lucky enough to live in a time where this frontier is being slowly and surely penetrated through the efforts of private companies and governments alike. The company Deloitte publishes yearly reviews on the general technology trends happening in industry but this year released a publication on trends in technology shaping space travel in particular. Debra Werner of SpaceNews.com reports on some of these trends. You may have the technology of the future in your home already. Read More>>

As researchers pursue links between bacteria and human health, startups stand to benefit

In 2009 The National Institute of Health discovered that there was a direct correlation between gut bacteria and overall human health. This encouraged many investors to start to look towards investing in companies who are willing to commercialize tools that can help discover this correlation. Startups like: uBiome, Viome, Finch Therapeutics, Kallyope, Second Genome, Human Longevity, Maat Pharma and Seed have raised over half-a-billion dollars in just these few short years. Some of these companies sell to big pharma, while others sell directly to consumers. These consumer first companies offer an at home microbiome kit to customers and then offer feedback on what possible changes these consumers can make in their diet to improve their overall health. Read More>>

The Eureka Moment Myth

Every hardworking innovator dreams of the day that they might by happenstance stumble across the next big idea. This popularized picture of success — in which smart people have a world-changing idea dropped into their laps — is rampant within the entrepreneurial community, perpetuating the idea that simply being in the right place at the right time is enough to create an innovation that becomes a household name. Greg Satell of Inc.com sets the narrative straight by breaking down the popular story about the discovery of penicillin by Alexander Fleming in 1928. While it is enticing to believe that he was able to walk into his lab and miraculously turn the antibiotics that he found there into a commercially successful, life-saving drug, the truth of the story is something quite different. Why should you discard the idea of success hinging upon a “eureka moment”, and what is the actual process of developing a great idea into a successful one? Read more>>

Why The Semi-Nomadic Himba Are So Good At Thinking Outside The Box

Stepping out of your comfort zone is something that people are encouraged to do since they are young. However, people are reluctant to trying new methods of doing things especially when the method they are using seems to be working perfectly fine. Psychologists call this way of thinking, cognitive set. Sarah Pope a neurologist from the University of Texas at Austin wanted to explore this way of thinking and see if it was natural human instinct, or was developed from Western way of living. Pope found exciting results when running tests on both Western and non-Western humans that may help psychologists to answer many other questions about humans flexibility when thinking.  Read More>>

These Electric Planes and Flying Taxis are the Future of Aviation

The future of the aviation industry has a whole new concept to it and not only will the economy benefit, but the ecosystem will also see some major value from it.  Electric planes and taxis have been an idea for decades but it is now showing to make some major leeway into actually happening. Both U.S and European companies are racing to launch their electric airplanes to see who can turn a profit first. European airline, Easy-Jet is anticipated to introduce a nine-passenger prototype that will fly next year. While Uber has the hopes to start promoting their flying taxis by 2023. However, will these companies be able to meet these ambitious launch dates?  Read More>>

How Much Does Innovation Drive Economic Growth?

Productivity as defined in the article, How Much Does Innovation Drive Economic Growth? is the amount of value a company creates per dollar of investment or hour of worker labor. This has been seen to grow rapidly since the late 1800’s and has been positively reflected through the U.S economic growth. Workweeks and hours for employees are decreasing, while their wages are increasing. However, there is no clear reasoning as to why this productivity in the workforce has developed. Kellogg professor of finance Dimitris Papanikolaou was eager to find out. Innovation is usually measured through the study of patents but, Papanikolaou wanted to take this research a step further and look at the actual context as it compares to the quality of the patent. Through this research, Papanikolaou believes that it will not only help measure innovation but also help to answer a heavily debated question of whether or not this prolonged increase of productivity the U.S has maintained is now starting to slow down. Read More>>

AirAsia Targets Startups With New Venture Capital Fund

The latest in a number of airlines that are seeking to diversify their portfolios, AirAsia has started a fund called RedBeat Capital to provide seed money to burgeoning businesses. Sean O’Neal of Skift.com describes how the company is following the examples of JetBlue Technology Ventures and the unsuccessful Qantas AVRO Accelerator Program in its bifurcation of its focus into new and promising businesses. Whether the motivation for this venture capital fund comes from a desire to boost revenue, boost innovation within their cultures, or to insulate themselves from the uncertainties of the market through diversification, it is an undisputedly interesting and savvy move on the part of the Asian budget airline. Read more>>

2019 US VC Funds Take A More Boutique Approach

There are multiple types of venture capitalists (VC) who put up money to startups that need some funds to grow. Examples include business angels, small businesses, individual investors, and families. All of these VCs tend to provide support to certain categories of startups. Historically they have been the main lenders of capital to upstarts. That is until a couple of years ago. Since the tech boom of the 2000s a new and increasingly dominant type of investor appeared to snatch high growth and massively scale-able new business up into its clutches: the “supergiant” venture capital fund. These investors dominated the VC market for years and shelled out billions of dollars to startup businesses that they believed in. But Joanna Glasner of Crunchbase.com reports that a new trend may be emerging in the United States VC market — that of the boutique investor. Rather than awarding huge boluses of money to businesses, VCs are being more selective with their money, distributing it in smaller, more focused amounts to candidates. How are VCs establishing themselves in this new niche and what does it mean for startups? Read more>>

Can Predictive Analytics be Made Safe for Humans?

Everyone operating a computer in 2019 is aware to a greater or lesser degree of the war going on quietly under their fingers and in the cloud; a war involving subterfuge and attacks, heroes and villains. We are, of course, talking about the war on data privacy. From its very inception, technology has been a wild west that regulators have battled to control through the enacting of laws and policies. Unfortunately, as technology has rapidly outpaced regulation, ethical dilemmas such as the one posed by the increasing accuracy of data analytics will continue to arise. As TechCrunch.com writer Danny Crichton explains, “people can’t understand the extent that inferences can be made with their data”. A very public example of this concept is the story from Target, in which the software used by the retailer suggested maternity supplies for a teen based off of her early stage pregnancy shopping items. This suggestion alerted her father to the fact that she was pregnant. How are regulators attempting to tackle the significant ethical issues that arise from the undressing of people’s privacy through data while still allowing businesses and individuals to enjoy the benefits of these predictions? Read more>>

Your Guide to the Gold Rush of Digital Logistics

For any commercial manufacturing business, a huge expense and consideration is the logistics of product delivery. Logistics for many businesses are a nightmare of data surplus and chains of liability. As we move further into the 21st century, the headache is being taken out of logistics through digitization. According to Sangeet Paul Choudary, of INSEAD Business School, the forces of improved automation of inventory tracking methods, implementation of block-chain technology as a method of maintaining a distributed ledger, and the adoption of application programming interfaces (APIs) that allow databases and software to communicate with each other, innovative businesses have been able to springboard to lucrative business models. As logistics needs continue to develop and scale, new businesses will keep rushing to automate and digitize lean solutions to problems that we didn’t know needed to be solved. Read more>>