Corporate Innovation – The Science of Luck

“Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future.”― Niels Bohr In my previous role leading front end innovation in a large company, I routinely gave talks to corporate groups about innovation not only as a practice, but also a theory, a methodology, and a mindset. Being that this company is perennially ranked as one of the most innovative companies in…

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Augmenting Innovation Decisions With Data Science

As a venture capitalist/data scientist, I’ve spent over a decade arguing that other venture capitalists and innovators can improve their decision making (a lot) through data science.  While the idea seems like a no-brainer today, 11 years ago it was heresy. Reactions to my work were historically hostile and emotional, and that’s putting it politely.  Words like “data science” and…

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China, Unicorns and the Battle for Global AI

Guest Post by Angelina Cheok Back in 2015, China’s economy appeared to be at a crossroads. Its slowing growth seemed to herald a death knell for the country’s start-up boom, while the outlook for its tech sectors look equally grim. Think tanks, academics and journalists like the Harvard Business Review and Foreign Policy published scathing critiques of China’s inability to…

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Innovation in Australia: A Yank’s Perspective

As an American venture capitalist who recently moved to Australia, it’s been fun to notice differences in how the US and Australia innovate. I’ll be the first to admit I’m no expert on Australia. For what it’s worth, however, I thought I’d share some novice observations in the hope that it’s somehow helpful to other cross-border innovators pondering these same…

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Some Ideas Are Better Than Others (and I don’t mind saying so)

Some ideas are better than others. This is a challenge for business strategists, who are voracious consumers of ideas (books, seminars, case studies, articles, blogs, biographies, etc.), but who aren’t typically trained to judge an idea’s quality. This leaves strategists vulnerable to bias, persuasion, poor heuristics and psychophysiological reactions (called ‘intuition’). Everyone from the doorman to the chairman has an…

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Will robots kill jobs, or create them?

A lot of people are worried about losing their jobs to either a robot or a line of code. This anxiety is fair – just ask Encyclopedia Britannica.  Some say 6% of all US jobs will be lost to robots by 2021, others say 38% of US jobs will be automated by 2030, and even in Australia the government estimates…

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Business intuition’s blind spot

I saw this YouTube clip explaining why it can seem as if good-looking people are jerks, and why it seems like healthy food always tastes bad. It made me realize the same effects happen in business, and it’s a bad thing. The YouTube video uses a nifty 2x2 matrix, plotting how "nice" people are versus how good looking you find…

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Push or Pull? …but only if the answer is Push

One of the biggest squabbles in corporate strategy is the “Push vs Pull” debate. Is it better to push technology into the market (‘build it and they will come’) or is it better to focus on finding customer problems first (create ‘pull’ for your products by finding pain points)? Supply or demand? It isn’t a trivial question. Big companies like to push…

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