Tag Archive | R&D

Connected car: new model building by Google

Google Car 2.0

This is incredible to see how Google progressed within 1 year about their program “Google self-driving car project”. This is now not anymore, a concept with technical tests using a Toyota cars, as it was last year, with Prius or Lexus RX; this is not anymore a technical solution with engineers embedded in these cars, checking the issues of the software developed.

This concept allows Google to propose a completely automatized car without any steering wheel nor any pedals of acceleration or brake nor any engineer embedded in the car.

A new model of usage born

These cars will not be sold by Google; the cost of cars remains too expensive from now; some rumors speaks about a price of 1 million of dollars for the first Google cars, if we integrate manufacturing costs and R&D costs included; and the running costs of these cars is unknown for the moment; for sure, limited people could buy these cars if they would be allowed to buy them.

These cars will be firstly rented by Google to replace your car to go to supermarket, to go to airport or to go some meetings in your town.  This model reinvent the usage of transports.

On one side, this car can be compared to a public transport, completely optimized: the car is able to take you everywhere; and you can go everywhere; this car is a two places car, it doesn’t take a lot of place in the road circulation and you don’t need to park them; the car is able to know the traffic jam and optimize the way to go to the destination.

On the other side, this car can manage all small “travel” corresponding to 80% if car usages. This is a complete revolution for the car manufacturers in the next 10 years; in this case, people will not buy anymore a car; what is the interest if you can “call” a car when you need it?

Of course, it means that there will be enough “automatized” cars available in one place as big towns. This is also a complete revolution for taxi or public transports: this automatized transport can be very competitive in the next 10 years and completely change the model of transports in big town.

Continuous disruptive model as Business model

This revolution is exiting because Google, a “big” company with 50000 employees and 60 billions of turnover, is able to make some disruptive innovations on many different sectors every year!

Generally, companies are able to make one disruptive innovation every 10 years; and when it is more, a big risk of failure of the company can be predicted. In the case of Google, it seems not; their Business model seems to be constructed on their capacity to continuously be able to build some disruptive concepts with a lot of synergies with existing profitable activities they also manage.

A lesson to be learn by many worldwide companies if they would continue to exist in the next decades.

Lenovo: a chinese innovation pioneer?


Lenovo’s innovation lies in its technology, products, business model and cultural management, according to Liu Chuanzhi, founder of the Lenovo Group and president of Legend Holdings Ltd., and Yang Yuanqing, CEO of Lenovo.

International acquisitions fueling global innovation

Referring to Lenovo’s innovation history, people tend to indulge in the story of Lenovo’s buying IBM’s PC business in 2004. “At that time, Lenovo didn’t expect to become the global leader of PC industry”, said Yang Yuanqing with emotions.

To date, Lenovo’s Innovation Triangle Teams in the USA, Japan, and China collaborate have been fusing together different cultures of different countries and collaborating in a 24-hour non-stop manner to ensure leading position of Lenovo’s innovation in the world.

After successfully absorbing IBM’s PC business, Lenovo’s international acquisitions have been unstoppable. Lenovo’s international mergers, from single business like PC and server to comprehensive business like cloud computing, serve not only as effective strategies for Lenovo to strengthen its operation volume and optimize market distribution, but also a way for Lenovo to bring in talented people from different fields and fill its innovation teams with new blood.

At present, Lenovo owns about 11,000 patents globally, about 2/3 of them coming from China and 1/3 from oversea teams. According to Zhang Dekui, director of Lenovo’s Innovation division, Lenovo spends USD500 million on R&D every year, and has 5,000 product developers, including engineers, researchers, and designers, and more than 100 advanced labs around the globe. These constitute Lenovo’s unique innovation and quality guarantee system.

Complete industry chain supporting innovations on multiple levels

Liu Chuanzhi has said that “Lenovo’s first innovation is to combine technology with the high-tech industry”. In 2012, when sales of Lenovo’s PCs were thriving across the world, Lenovo keenly grasped the new trend of the mobile internet and started its PC+ strategy, beginning to increase investment in mobile internet terminals like smartphones, tablet computers, and smart TVs in the meantime of consolidating its advantages in the PC industry.

Today, the fall of some traditional PC manufacturers and the achievement of Lenovo in the PC+ area have proved that Lenovo has made a right decision. In the Q2 of the 2013 fiscal year, the global market share of Lenovo’s smartphone increased to 5.1 percent, behind only Apple and Samsung, and the growth of its tablet computers was even higher. Also, sales of Lenovo’s tablet computer and smartphones had exceeded that of its PCs for two quarters in a row, their revenue accounting for 15 percent of total revenue of the company and profit margin steadily on the rise.

In Lenovo’s Innovation Center, Lenovo’s employees, from system design engineer to software application researcher, from part technology R&D director to product design director, demonstrated Lenovo’s innovation industry chain to the reporter. Lenovo has set up technologies in four major fields to bolster the entire Lenovo business innovation endeavor, including part technology and system innovation, natural interaction technology, cloud service and big data technology, and new materials and design innovation. These make up Lenovo’s core R&D innovation strategy, dubbed “one cloud and multiple screens”, and they are also the source of Lenovo’s business innovation.

Independent manufacture and protection of innovation achievements

In October 2013, Lenovo’s industry base in Wuhan was completed and put into operation. This is a comprehensive industry base that integrates R&D, production, and sales of mobile internet terminals, with a total investment of more than RMB5 billion Yuan. “In this base, a product will need to go through dozens of labs before it is finally put onto the market, and it will be examined and checked repeatedly during production. This is the advantage of independent production and development. It can protect our innovations”, said Yang Yuanqing.

There used to be doubt that Lenovo was a computer assembler and not a core technology innovator. For this, in 2011 Lenovo began to shift its focus onto parts and components, striving to achieve breakthroughs in component technologies and walk ahead of competitors in terms of system innovation. This requires Lenovo to attach more importance to working with upstream manufacturers, extensively consolidate upstream and downstream technologies, and provide parts for system innovation. Lenovo’s independent manufacturing enables it to communicate directly with upstream manufacturers, which would increase its leverage for innovation.

10 years ago, Lenovo introduced a relation-type business model that targeted at corporate customers and government customers, to go along with its consumption business model that targeted consumers. That was a business model innovation. Now, Lenovo again introduced a new-era dual business models, with one online model and one offline model, and its marketing campaign is moving from traditional advertising to internet marketing, digital marketing, and micro-blogging marketing, etc.

In 2012, Lenovo added “Pioneer” to its 4P corporate culture, showing its intention to be a pioneer of the time. Internally, Lenovo has its unique innovation mechanism, including CEO innovation discussion, ideas management, etc, so as to promote the realization of technology and product R&D.

Canada: Poor grade in IT innovation


Canada ranks 13th in countries benchmarked

Despite the presence of companies such as BlackBerry, OpenText, Mitel Network, Sierra Wireless and newcomers such as Hootsuite, Canada received in 2013 an extremely poor grade when it comes to innovation.

Canada ranks second-to-last among its peers in venture capital investment and business R&D spending, according to The Conference Board of Canada’s ranking of innovation among the world’s leading economies. And the rest of the report card doesn’t get much better, as Canada ranks 13th in the 16-country How Canada Performs benchmarking.

Gaps remain in innovation investment

Daniel Muzyka, president and CEO of the Conference Board of Canada, said despite a decade or so of innovation agendas and prosperity reports, Canada remains near the bottom of the pack among its peers on innovation. Governments and other organizations, along with many individuals, have done their best, but gaps remain in innovation investment and activities that have created serious consequences for the economy and society.

More importantly, Canada may have reached a point where it impacts the wealth and opportunities for following generations. “It may seem counter-intuitive due to our low overall ranking, but Canada actually gets above-average grades on the quality of its scientific research and the creation of new businesses. But these signs of promise are not being turned into commercially viable products and services, and successful, globally competitive companies are not emerging from our creative ideas,” he said.

Switzerland, Sweden & United States: “A”

According to the rankings, Switzerland, Sweden and the United States earn overall “A” grades. Canada is weak at all three categories of the innovation process – creation, diffusion, and transformation — and performs poorly on most of the 21 indicators.

Indicators of 2013 benchmark

Canada is above the 16-country average on six indicators: top-cited papers, ease of entrepreneurship, government online services, new firm density, scientific articles, and aerospace exports. It is about average on public R&D spending.

Canada performs poorly on most of the 21 indicators in this year’s revamped Innovation report card. By grade, Canada gets 13 “D”s, two “C”s, six “B”s, and no “A”s.

Eleven new indicators were added this year:

  1. New firm density – “B”, 2nd of 15
  2.  Ease of entrepreneurship index – “B”, 4th of 16
  3. Government online services index – “B”, 4th of 16
  4. Top-cited papers index – “B”, 5th of 10
  5. Public R&D spending – “B”, 8th of 16
  6.  ICT investment – “D”, 8th of 15
  7. Connectivity – “D”, 14th of 16
  8.  Patenting firms less than 5 years old – “D”, 13th of 15
  9. Patents index – “D”, 14th of 16
  10. Venture capital – “D”, 14th of 15
  11.  Business R&D spending – “D”, 15th of 16

Canada gets a “D” grade on venture capital investment. The rate of venture capital investment in Canada amounts to less than half of that of the “A” performers – the United States, Sweden, and Switzerland. Canada needs a larger and more dynamic equity and venture capital industry that is ready to invest in and provide guidance to Canadian seed, start-up, and early-stage companies.

Tools & metrics to attract investors

The Conference Board report, Financing Innovation by Established Businesses in Canada, discusses the tools and metrics innovators need to use to attract investors. Canadian companies are also poor spenders on R&D —regardless of the business they’re in, the report found. Canada has been a “D” performer on business expenditures on research and development (BERD) since the 1980s, and spending in Canada fell from 1.29 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2001 cent to only 0.89 per cent in 2011.

The United States spends twice as much as Canada on BERD, and Canadian businesses spend only a third (as a percentage of GDP) of what businesses in Finland spend on R&D. Canadian business leaders must recognize that the cost and risk of not spending on research and innovation are outweighing the cost and risk of spending and innovating.

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