Entrepreneurial

    Innovate Immigration Policy

    Screen Shot 2017-01-30 at 13.00.07Why a Hostile Immigration Policy is Stupid

    Who remembers George Gilder?

    He’s a relevant person to recall at this moment in time. George Gilder said in 1995:

    “Without immigration over the last 50 years, I would estimate that U.S. real living standards would be at least 40% lower.”

    He could be wrong with that figure. It might be more than 40%. He said that in 1995.

    Readers who would prefer I stay out of political posts please understand this is a post about Innovation. I’m not going to comment on the moral, legal, or overtly political aspects of the new immigration policy. I will say that the new policy is hostile, at the very least in terms of how it’s perceived by people overseas. I believe that perception matters because it has a direct impact on long term USA innovation and subsequent USA economic growth.

    Why does Gilder make the claim above. Well, in a phrase it’s called the computer revolution. In the early 80’s before the personal computer, and more broadly, the rapid innovation of micro-chip technology, the USA economy was in a tailspin. We owe the rescue of our 80’s economy to technology and immigrants. Technology saved us. The key technologies of the last thirty years were invented by immigrants who came to America. Millions of people in the USA today owe their jobs, and their amazing productivity, to the computers and associated technologies invented here — by immigrants.

    Gilder got it right with regard to how valuable immigrants are to the American economy.

    In his book, Microcosm, The Quantum Revolution in Economics and Technology, he describes in rich and interesting detail just how Silicon Valley exploded with innovation in the 80’s and beyond. Order the book and read the detail, it names the physicists and mathematicians and engineers from eastern Europe, the middle east, and Asia who were integral to the formation of Silicon Valley. To this day Microcosm remains, in my view, the best overall description of how science, quantum physics, entrepreneurship, California vibes, and, most prominently, brilliant people from all over the world, that is, Immigrants came to Silicon Valley and created the computer revolution.

    You want innovation in the USA? Bring in more immigrants. So, let’s not be stupid and kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.

    Let me be clear, Gilder’s thinking is a mixed bag of ideas, some of which I enthusiastically endorse, others not at all. But please note that Gilder is a true conservative, who counseled President Ronald Reagan, and wrote speeches for Gov. George Romney, and Nelson Rockefeller. If you look at Gilder’s record and ignore his thoughts on social policy, you’ll see he was dead right when it came to technology issues. He predicted how digital streaming would disrupt television in 1990, as just one example.

    Gilder, an arch conservative, is an advocate of immigration as an economic boon to the USA economy.

    Nobody is against protecting our borders. What’s stupid is showing the world how mean we are in how we protect our borders. The current immigration ban is a PR disaster. We still want brilliant people to come to the USA and help us reinvent the future. They won’t come here, or stay here, if they think the USA is hostile to immigrants. Brilliant people with drive tend to come from places of little opportunity. Yes, refugees are exactly who we want in the USA.

    So, sure President Trump, yes, let’s improve vetting and ways to prevent terrorists from coming to America. But can we be nicer about it? Can we be smarter about it? You know, so we don’t scare away people that help us innovate our economy? It’s in our best interests to do so.

    Just ask conservative George Gilder, I’m sure he would be happy to advise another President.

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    Colorado Innovation Training

    A brief post to make sure you know about the upcoming Denver, CO public course in Advanced Innovation Facilitation.  This is a high value training. It’s partially sponsored so the price is much lower than usual. Here’s a page with details. It’s next week Starting Wednesday February 1, continuing on Feb 2, finishing at noon on Feb. 3rd. Essentially this is intensive, hands-on workshop that trains people in innovation frameworks, and tools for strategy, ideation, research, and project management. It’s being held at the Community Research Center and I’m working with CO local Kim Smoyer of Smoyer & Associates. It’s a course for innovation project managers, consultants, intrapreneurs, and entrepreneurs who want to have more productive strategy, idea generation, and




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    Retro Motorcycles Signal Innovation In Goshen, IN

    Manufacturing in America — Using the Past to Create an Innovative Future It’s heartening to learn about a small USA manufacturer who’s doing something creative, new, and interesting. Janus Motorcycles in Goshen, Indiana is creating hand-crafted, small batch motorcycles. These are simple, accessible, easy-to-work-with bikes. They are throwbacks in a certain way, but don’t get me wrong they’re elegant. The retro-ish designs are informed by old American bike brands like Indian, and old British bikes like Triumph and Norton. It’s not hard to imagine that famous Hoosier, James Dean, riding one of these bikes around the countryside. The bikes look like James Dean era rides because Janus purposefully leaves the bikes open, in the sense that all the parts can




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    Projects Are How Innovation Happens

    Projects, Projects, Projects Innovation is complex and difficult — but one thing about it is not. What’s quite simple about innovation is that projects are what make innovation real. The following concepts, frameworks, approaches, etc. are Not Innovation.  Unless they are in the context of an actual project. Thinking about things is not innovation Having beers and kicking ideas around are not innovation Brainstorming sessions are not innovation Idea Campaigns are not innovation Guided visualizations are not innovation Design Thinking is not innovation Creative Problem Solving is not innovation DeBono’s Six Thinking Hats are not innovation Lean is not innovation Prototyping is not innovation Crowd sourcing or Open innovation are not innovation TQM and Six Sigma are not innovation Defining




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    The Risk of Not Innovating

    I recently was a guest blogger for Gibson Insurance and I wrote this piece about the risk of Not Innovating. I’ll make the point again here — with fewer words. For more detail, read my post over at Gibson. Risk Aversion is a Risk Itself Many leaders pull back on innovation programs because of expenses, and, fear of change. They settle for small changes and improvements and continue to look at innovation as if it’s extra work. They pay lip service to innovation and waste time doing culture assessments. They also spend precious time developing a precise process for innovation. Cultural awareness of the climate for innovation is a good thing, and a defined process is as well, but don’t




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    Intrapreneurship Chicago 2016

    Authentically Different Conference In recent years I’ve become a bit anti-conference. I still go to some but I find the formats tired. The formula favors big name authors and speakers who sometimes miss the mark. The agenda is so jammed you don’t have time to talk to your peers. The social events are fun, but a bit… forced. So, you may be surprised when I bend over backwards to promote Intrapreneurship Chicago 2016.  The event is going to be held at the TechNexus accelerator in the River North area. Chicago area innovators and intrapreneurs, take note. June 22! This conference is authentically different. And highly useful if you are a real working Intrapreneur. 90% of the conference attendees will be




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    10 Essential Elements of an Innovation Mandate

    Getting a Mandate to Innovate is Key Larger companies typically have an innovation process in place. They don’t always work, but the majority of the Fortune 1000 has some kind of innovation process or system. There is an implied consent then, to innovate, at those organizations. There are people, budgets, expectations. At smaller companies, the Mis-Fortune 5000 as I sometimes jest, there is often not a process in place. In many of these still sizable firms innovation tends to be a reaction to an emergency, or a sporadic effort that takes a back seat to operations. They often default to incremental improvement of the product or service based on customer demands. A newly appointed Innovation VP or Director at a




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    Innovation Facilitator Tool Kit

    I am sometimes asked what a Facilitator should have in their kit bag. Here’s my answer — the Innovation Facilitator Tool Kit list. The items are below in bold. Many have links to where you can source the materials. I’m assuming the facilitator is a hands-on project leader who facilitates meetings, such as idea generation or strategy sessions. I did not take into consideration travel via plane or car. Obviously, some things are more portable than others. Consider this a master list which you can subset for your needs. Some of these items are not available off the shelf retail, so, put this kit together ahead of time so you can focus on design and executing your session plan as




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    21 Rules for Innovation Team Building

    I revised this “rule of thumb” list for a client and she suggested I re-share it in a blog post. This list is the accumulated wisdom of many years and it includes thinking from colleagues in the innovation space. Its target is the innovation team leader, but there are lessons for all types of team members here. The big change from the previous version is the emphasis on projects. It’s the key to Innovation in my view, from culture change to positive team dynamics to effectiveness of an overall innovation program. It’s the one thing of innovation — doing Projects. So here goes: 21 Rules for Innovation Team Building 1. A strong bold project initiative, with a clear vision for




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    Woulda-Coulda-Shoulda Innovation

    The Time is Now to Plan for 2016 Innovation This time of year it’s natural to get an innovation plan in place — if you’re not there already — the time is now. Talking to customers about their innovation efforts I’m hearing regrets in December. Wishes for having done more, and done more sooner. Shel Silverstein wrote a poem that sums it up nicely: Woulda-Coulda- Shoulda All the Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas Layin’ in the sun, Talkin’ bout the things They woulda-coulda-shoulda done… But those Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas All ran away and hid From one little did. by Shel Silverstein A Simple Innovation Plan — in 7 Steps I get it, innovation, if it’s not part of your culture, is hard to kick start and get




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