Friday, November 25, 2016

Future Innovations

Organizations might have a good plan, but other things might go wrong

Organizations might have a good plan, but other things might go wrong due to uncontrollable variables. Wade (2012) describe some of these variables as political, economic, societal and technological forces that will have a negative impact on business despite having a good plan. I will discuss three organizations that had a good plan but failed because something went wrong because of things out of their control.

Blockbuster was a video-rental business. The business was doing fine when video films were delivered in a form in VHS and DVD. The video delivery changed from VHS and DVD to online delivery but Blockbuster a good plan but fail to adapt to the new change (Davila, Epstein, 2014). Due to technological innovation, video films were was stream through personal computers, smartphones, smart TVs Blockbuster retail outlet is struggling, and hundreds of the firm's store are closing down. Companies such as Netflix, Redbox are taken over the video market from Blockbuster. Netflix now offers videos cable televisions, phone companies, and video-on-demand while Redbox is now renting videos overnight through vending machines of a Dollar (Davila, Epstein, 2014).

Sun Microsystems was building high-end servers and developing Java programming language and became an industry giant in information Technology in 1990. However, due to the bust, Sun Microsystems lost many of its customers. Personal computers become powerful and cheaper; server are now available in the form of vertical machine and cloud computing is providing servers as infrastructure as a service, and fewer people will buy expensive servers. Sun Microsystems could not survive and was sold to Oracle.

               Another company that failed due to uncontrollable variables is Nokia.  Nokia was very successful and had been a market leader in the cell phone market (Davila, Epstein, 2014). The company produces good durable cell phones with good sound and camera functions. When smartphones with touched screen technology became available, Nokia still stayed with their plan of building durable cell phones.  The smartphone technology became mobile phone technology of choice, and Nokia lost its market.

The factor affecting good plans very relevant to consider because they the can influence the success of business. From the above example, the societal and technological forces affect the organizations such as Nokia, Sun Microsystems, and Blockbuster. Despite management having good business and strategic plan other unforeseen circumstances can impact the business negatively.  Therefore business plan alone cannot guarantee success, but it is very important to have a plan. According to Fairley (2009, a bad plan is better than no plan at all and failure to plan means preparing to fail.

Societal and technological forces
Societal and technological forces can innovation idea. A few years ago the idea of robot cars driving themselves, digital currencies and internet of things and thing which was not possible are possible now. The world is experiencing a faster pace of social, economic and technological change that no longer seems impossible It is forecast that by 2020 over 5 billion people will use the internet and about 80 billion of devices and machines will be connected together to share information. The internet of things will grow exponentially and will affect business positively and negatively. The combination of cloud computing technology and internet of things there will be a new range of technology-enabled services like as smart lighting, mobile working solutions, and smart device that will shape the lives of our society.

Davila, T., & Epstein, M. (2014). The innovation paradox: Why good businesses kill
breakthroughs and how they can change. Berrett-Koehler Publishers.
Fairley, R. E. (2009). Managing and Leading Software Projects. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Wade, W. (2012). Scenario planning: a field guide to the future. John Wiley & Sons.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Internet of Things

Internet of Things

        I will like to discuss Internet of present and future. The Internet of Things (IoT) will propel the future disruptive technology innovation. The Internet of things is the biggest technology trends that are taking place right at the moment (Wortmann & Flüchter, 2015).  It is forecasted to be the most disruption as well as the most opportunity technology innovation for the next decade. The Internet of Things is a data communication network that connects sensors and machines together to solve problems. The concept of the Internet of things originated more than as a network of radio-frequency identification (RFID) infrastructures at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Auto-ID Labs (Atzori, Iera & Morabito, 2010). The aim was to increase machine to machine communication.
        The Internet of things is defined as “a global infrastructure for the Information Society, enabling advanced services by interconnecting (physical and virtual) things based on, existing and evolving, inter operable information and communication technologies’’(ITU (2012). It enables machine-to-machine communication (M2M). The communication between machines is made possible because the machines used sensors, cloud computing, the internet to gathered data and share data among themselves (Wortmann, 2015). The Internet of Things comes together with the connection of sensors and machines
        The Internet of Things has numerous applications which include smart industry, smart home or building, smart transport solutions, smart health and smart city projects (Atzori, et al. 2010). The innovation of the Internet of Things combines physical and digital components in the form of hardware and software to create new products. The Internet of Things is built on cloud computing technology where software, a computer infrastructure, and platforms are delivered as a service over the internet (Gubbi, Buyya, Marusic& Palaniswami, 2013). 
          A cloud computing application is an important component of the Internet of Things because the cloud computing technology application interprets and data transmit data to the sensors. The Internet of things can enhance a basic function of a thing with additional digital services that can be can be accessed both local basis and globally. For example, functionality a light bulb can be enhanced to security alert functions.  Cars can be made smart to drive themselves and if they are driven by humans can tell the drivers their destination. Buildings can provide their own security. The opportunities future innovation of internet of a thing is very vast researchers mentioned some of the future innovation of internet of things as robot taxi, city information model and enhanced gaming room (Atzori, et al. 2010).
Atzori, L., Iera, A., & Morabito, G. (2010). The internet of things: A survey. Computer
            networks54(15), 2787-2805.
Gubbi, J., Buyya, R., Marusic, S., & Palaniswami, M. (2013). Internet of Things (IoT): vision,
architectural elements, and future directions. Future Generation Computer Systems29(7), 1645-1660.
ITU (2012). New ITU standards define the internet of things and provide the blueprints for its  
development. IT T/newslog/New?ITU?Standards?Define?The?Internet? Of?Things?And?Provide?The?Blueprints?For?Its?Develo pment.aspx
Wortmann, F., & Flüchter, K. (2015). Internet of things. Business & Information Systems
          Engineering57(3), 221-224.

Sunday, November 13, 2016


What is Forecast?
       A forecast is to estimate or predict in advance that an event will occur or happened. A Forecast is based on the probability that the event predicted will actually occur.  Forecasting is a tool for planning. Forecasting helps management to plan for uncertainties of the future. Planning actually is looking at the past and the present to see what the future will be. Forecasting relies on the past and present data and analyzing the trends to what the future will be. Every important decision made today by the business executive in base on some form of forecast.

Forecasting tool: Regression Analysis developed by the author

       There are many different types of forecasting techniques available and selecting the right forecast technique is very important. Each forecast method has a special use and must be selected with care for the right application. The wrong forest has grave consequences. Looking at the recent USA elections, all the polls predicted that Clinton was going to win the election.  It is there important for managers and forecasters to select forecast and also have better understating the range of forecasting possibilities.
Types of forecast techniques.
       Forecast techniques can be qualitative or quantitative. Qualitative forecast techniques do not rely on past data but base on qualitative data and may not take the past into consideration. The qualitative forecasting technique is used when data are scarce. An example of qualitative forecasting is Delphi method, scenario planning, and market research. Quantitative forecast techniques focus on patterns and pattern changes, and therefore historical data. Some of the quantitative forecasting techniques are time series, regression analysis and projections and causal models (Field, 2009).

Forces affecting forecast results-Technological and political
     A lot of forces can affect the success of any forecasting. Wade (2012) listed a number of forces that can affect the success forecasting with on scenario planning. Some of the forces are political, economic societal and technological.

      I will like to discuss two of these forces. The first force I will discuss is technological. A new disruptive technological can affect the success of a prediction. Consider the newspaper case study as an example. The new paper attempt to growth was interrupted by the emerging of the Internet and social network. The Internet emerged as a new technology which made news available online.

       The second will be politics can affect the success of forecasting. Rules and regulation made by the Government can affect the success of a forecast. Just this week the result of the US election 2016 has a drastic effect on the stock market. The major stocks on the international stock market were affected by the election results (Shell 2016).
Field, A. (2009). Discovering statistics using SPSS. Sage publications
Shell, A. (2016, Nov 13). History on how presidential elections affect stock markets. ABC News. Retrieved from

Wade, W. (2012). Scenario planning: a field guide to the future. John Wiley & Sons.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Newspaper Industry

Scenario Planning: Newspaper Industry Case Study
A case study of a scenario-type planning was one conducted by the World Association of Newspapers which wanted to help the newspaper industry to understand how growing competition from new technologies and changing reading habits could create a new landscape for a product that has existed for centuries. the World Association of Newspapers (Wade, 2012).  The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) is the global organization of the world’s newspapers, which mission is to promote freedom of the press and quality journalism (Wade, 2012).  The organization conducted a scenario-type planning to determine why the future of the newspaper industry will be in 2020.
The study started with the history of the newspaper industry. The author mentioned that the newspapers began in Roman times as a way for government officials to communicate and making announcements to the masses (Wade, 2012). The newspaper industry has survived for a very log time and as today newspapers published all over the world, reaching an audience of 400 million every day (Wade, 2012).  But the  newspaper industry is now facing a critical period of transition. The traditional newspapers are declining because of that, profitability at many publishing companies is under severe pressure and struggling to survive.
A lot of the media houses which publish newspapers closed down. Newspaper publishers have struggled to live with the advent of radio and television.  They faced computers like round-the-clock news channels on cable TV at the beginning of the 1990s which began to chip away at newspapers’ circulation (Wade, 2012). The emergence of the Internet resulted in the free online news also led to lower newspaper circulation, lower advertising  rate, and low profit.
Identified Driving Forces
The World Association of Newspapers decided to take an informed, scenario planning approach to understanding how the future landscape of the newspaper industry might look in 2020.The study identified four driving forces that could shape the future landscape of the newspaper industry in 2020 as  disruptive media dominate, targeted audiences, traditional media dominate, and mass audience. The scenario planning workshop about took place in January 2008 which present four scenarios for 2020. These drives were paired into scenario planning as follows.
Scenario 1: Disruptive Media Dominate  and Targeted Audiences.
The scenario illuminated the effect of Internet on the newspaper industry in 2020. It forecasted that because the website is globally accessible medium, there is a fierce competition between newspaper industries because readers can be in be any part of the world. Another reason for this scenario is that new generation of readers grew up with the internet and these readers would shape the media landscape from 2010 to 2020.
Scenario 2:  Traditional Media Dominate and Targeted Audiences.
This scenario reflects the fact that newspapers are still around in 2020 and thriving. There will be news media convergence. Therefore newspapers are still enjoying their long tradition of quality and trustworthiness, coexisting comfortably with TV, radio, and the Internet.
 Scenario 3: Traditional Media Dominate  and Mass Audience.
The third  scenario is based on the idea that over the decade leading to 2020, consumers felt they were being flooded with online information which is unrealistic and, untrustworthy. So the audience will return to the newspapers because the newspaper it will be considered as reliable news and information.
Scenario 3: Disruptive Media Dominate and Mass Audience.
 This scenario predicts that the Internet will win. People go online for everything media-related including news, entertainment, sports, analysis, opinion, TV, movies, music, radio, games. This convergence is so dramatic that the key players, offering all these services on an integrated platform, are also the providers of choice of social media.
Change that came before 2020
Apple launched the iPad in 2010, just 27 months after the workshop had imagined that mobile device like iPad could become an important factor in the future of the news media business. This device will allow the news audience to read news in whatever format they want. The news content can be made available in different content such the form of apps and e-books. This will help the news publishers to enhance the reader experience. Another thing that the workshop apparently didn’t foresee was the rise of social media and its impact on news media.
How to use scenario planning for future innovation efforts?
The aim of scenario planning is to illuminate and explore different ways the future might realistically develop. It facilitates your ability to create a realistic vision for the future, as well as your ability to craft the strategies that will make you successful once you get there.
Does the scenario plan account for the social impact of change?
Scenario plan accounts for the social impact of change because the idea of scenario planning is using a mixture of trends to develop a particular kind of future more likely. Scenarios are therefore stories that reveal how a certain future may change due to some environmental factors.
Wade, W. (2012). Scenario planning: a field guide to the future. John Wiley & Sons.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Scenario Planning

Scenario planning vs Traditional forecasting

Though we live in the world, today we all think about the future. Most people believe that the future is unknown including the world renowned scientist Albert Einstein. There is a report that, when once asked what he thinks about the future, Albert Einstein answered that he never think of the future (Wade, 2014).  Not only that but there is a bible verse which quoted Jesus Christ saying people should not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself because the day has enough trouble of its own (Matthew 6:34, The New King James Version). Despite this assertion, everybody thinks about the future because life is future oriented.
Thinking of the future is more important to the business organization because business is a future-oriented venture, but the future is full of uncertainties. Due to business uncertainties, the business needs to plan for the future if it wants to survive.  Planning and forecasting are a tool used by businesses to deal with the future uncertainties.  Forecasting is trying to predict outcomes of an event or future state that has not been observed while planning is set of activities put in place in the present to ensure that we obtain the future result. Scenario Planning and traditional forecasting are two tools use to facilitate how to think about the future and innovation. The different between Scenario Planning and Traditional forecasting is discussed below.

Traditional Forecasting:
Traditionally forecasting is techniques that use used various concepts such as qualitative and quantitative statistical tools such as moving averages, time series, regression or causal methods to predict the future.  Quantitative methods used data from the past to predict the future while is qualitative methods explore the future using available data. However the traditional forecasting method is very rigid, and most of the time fail to predict significant changes in market trend, particularly in the real world.
Scenario Planning:
According to (Peterson et al., 2003), scenario planning is a systemic method for thinking creatively about possible complex and uncertain futures. Scenario planning is a tool to address some of the shortcomings of the traditional forecasting techniques.  Scenario planning technique is an analytical tool for managers to prepare strategically for the future (Wade, 2014). The process of scenario planning is based on the deification of driving forces that could affect the future business environment. The key strength of scenario planning is to discover the potential future environments and based on this fact understand the impact of today’s strategic decisions will have the impact on the organization (Amer, 2013). 

Advantages and disadvantage of traditional forecasting
The main advantage of traditional forecasting method is that it is mathematical and scientific, so the output prediction is independent of the human involved in predicting the forecast. The disadvantage of traditional forecasting is it is very rigid and do not allow for changes in the environment.

Advantages and disadvantage of Scenario Planning
The main advantage of scenario planning is that it allows for flexibility. The disadvantages are that it is uncertainties are difficult to control and cause high stress to individuals who are concerned with the controllable factors and the method is not scientific as compared to traditional forecasting.

Amer, M., Daim, T.U., & Jetter, A. (2013). A review of scenario planning. Futures, 46, 23-40.
Peterson, G. D., Cumming, G. S., & Carpenter, S. R. (2003). Scenario planning: a tool for
conservation in an uncertain world. Conservation biology, 17(2), 358-366.
Wade, W. (2014).“Scenario Planning” - Thinking differently about future innovation.

Monday, October 31, 2016

NMC Horizon Report: 2016

       The New Media Consortium (NMC) Horizon Report: 2016 Higher Education Edition is learning initiative research conducted by New Media Consortium and EDUCAUSE Program. The report is the 13th edition which describes annual findings from the NMC Horizon Project. The project is an ongoing research project which was designed identify and describe emerging technologies likely to impact on learning, teaching, and creative inquiry in education (Johnson et al., 2016).
       The report is the outcome of research conducted regarding technology adoption and educational change. The report was produced through a collaborative research and discussions of a body of 58 experts. The authors mentioned that the report is regarded as the world’s longest-running exploration of emerging technology trends and uptake in education which impact is emerging technologies in colleges and universities across the globe (Johnson et al., 2016).
          The study draws on the expertise of an international expert panel that considers set of important trends, challenges, and developments in educational technology. The panel explores and selects the final listing of trends, challenges, and technology developments. The process takes place online, where it is captured in the NMC Horizon Project wiki. The participants are 58 education and technology experts from 16 countries on five continents.  The research was conducted using modified Delphi. The reason for using modified Delphi method was to share a consensus view on topics which have a significant impact on the practice of higher education around the globe over the next five years (Johnson et al., 2016).
Technology:  Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)
     One technology considered by NMC Horizon Report: 2016 Higher Education  is  BYOD, which is  referred to as BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology). This is the practice of people bringing their own laptops, tablets, smartphones, or other portable devices with them to learning or work environments.
Example of a BYOD Seminar Room: John Woolley Building N208
       The BYOD movement addresses the same reality in higher education. Many students  go to class with their own devices to connect to the school networks.  The  BYOD is a policy that reduces overall technology spending  of students . A study indicates that about 42% percent of colleges and universities in the US had implemented a BYOD strategy in 2014 (Johnson et al., 2016).
The BYOD movement enables students to learn using the technology with which they are already familiar and comfortable than what is provided by the school.  It also provides students with a greater sense of ownership over their learning.  It is reported that about 86% of undergraduate students owning a smartphone or tablet are expected to use these devices to access learning content, take notes, gather data and frequently communicate with their peers and instructors (Johnson et al., 2016).
Trend: Advancing cultures of innovation
       I will like to discuss the Advancing cultures of innovation which is a long term trend. The title of the study is “Advancing Cultures of Innovation Long-Term Impact Trends: Driving Ed Tech adoption in higher education for five or more years” (Johnson et al., 2016).
      The research is based on a theory that universities are generally perceived as institutions which have the ability to start new discoveries and innovations that directly impact their local communities and even the global landscape (Johnson et al., 2016). The study argued that in order to embark on innovation and adapt to economic needs of the communities, the higher education institutions must be structured in ways that allow for flexibility while spurring creativity and entrepreneurial thinking.
       The report cited graduates from Stanford University in the USA and Cambridge University in the UK which adopted the trend and incorporate entrepreneurship initiatives into the education curriculum making a considerable impact on the job market. Many of graduates these universities became successful entrepreneurs because of the experience they gain developing business strategies through hands-on education curriculum.
       According to the report, the number of formal entrepreneurial courses in higher education has grown in the USA has increased exponentially for two decades and  nearly 25% of today’s college students aspiring to be entrepreneurs. Stanford alumni entrepreneurs were able to help to generate revenue of $2.7 trillion annually globally, and Cambridge University Entrepreneurs group in the UK has helped generate companies with approximately £100 million of investment over a 15-year period (Johnson et al., 2016).
       The positive impact of the trend is evident in a study prepared for European Commission which revealed that university alumni who engaged in entrepreneurial programs were able to secure jobs more quickly. They are also more confident and able to innovate in the workplace and capable of starting new businesses. Another impact of the trend is that students improve in self-awareness, self-management, and creativity.

Johnson, L., Adams Becker, S., Cummins, M., Estrada, V., Freeman, A., and Hall, C. (2016). NMC              Horizon Report: 2016 Higher Education Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.

The interesting thing about NMC Horizon Report for Higher Education that is that the panel represents people from a wide range of backgrounds and from different countries. These panel of experts brings a relevant expertise to educational innovation. Over the years the NMC Horizon Project research has bee conducted by nearly 2,000 internationally recognized practitioners and experts, and in any given year, a third of panel are new members. This is to ensure a flow of fresh perspectives each year.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Ideas that happened by accident

        Many invention and ideas that happened accidentally. Muller (n.d)  reported about 24 of such accidental inventions at website. Some of the inventions include a microwave oven, coal tar, and rubber. The one I will like to discuss the accidental invention of rubber which I learned when I was as a child. I learned from my primary school days that piece of a hardened rubber accidentally fell in a fire and turned into industrial rubber. What a funny story It was by then.
       The actual accidental invention of rubber is what I will discuss here. According to a report, in 1939 a man named Charles Goodyear accidentally dropped a rubber mixed with lean and sulfur onto a hot stove (Muller, n.d.). The rubber mixture hardened and became very durable and resistance to heat and could and became the industrial rubber use today.
       Before Charles Goodyear invention, there was rubber, but the rubber was not for industrial purposes. The substance which used for rubber comes from rubber trees in the tropical forest. I have personally seen a rubber tree and the rubber material called latex in Ghana. But the old rubber could not be use for the industrial product as we have it today. The rubber in at that time get hardened in the cold winter season and will melt in summer when it is hot. The rubber industry was dying because of the characteristics of rubber and people who sell and use rubber were becoming hopeless.
       The rubber industry in the USA began the 1930s. Many people wanted to use a waterproof gum from Brazil, but the people found out that it was a mess (Goodyear Corporate, n.d.). The rubber is frozen and become hardened in winter and will melt and turned to look like glue in the summer which resulted in investors in rubber industry lost millions of dollars and many closed down.
      That is when a man from Philadelphia called Goodyear who was a hardware store owner try to do something about rubber. Goodyear has been experimenting with rubber and because he had no funding became so poor, and he went to jail because of debt. Goodyear made his first rubber experiment in a police cell. When he was out of jail, he continued to try again and again to make his experiment reality. He mixed different substance such as magnesium powder, quicklime, and nitric acid to the rubber but could not achieve the dire result. The rubber still gets hardened in winter and melt in summer. The sad news was that Goodyear became so obsessed with his experiment and became so poor that he could not feed his family and was constantly in debt.  For five futile years, Goodyear was near rock bottom. People from Boston the place where he lived gave his children food, to eat, and he lost children in the process.
     The great accidental discovery occurred in winter 1839. In February that year he just walked to a general store at Woburn to show his new rubber mixture. Very excited and waving his hand, the substance fell from his hand and landed on a hot potbellied stove. When he try to scrape the substance of the stove he made a discovery. He found that that instead of rubber melting like molasses, it had charred like leather. The rubber had become elastic. He discovered that heating the rubber is the answer for the rubber to stay the same in winter and summer. The winter after Goodyear’s discovery heat and sulfur miraculously changed rubber. And Goodyear made remarkable discovery by inventing weatherproof rubber.
      It was Goodyear who saw rubber as what we know it is today. Rubber has been a versatile modern plastics. He suggested the same application of rubber in 1850 as rubber paint, car springs, ferryboat bumpers, wheelbarrow tires, inflatable life rafts, and “frogmen” suits” and many other recent innovations he described a century ago (Goodyear Corporate, n.d). And now about 300,000 Americans earn their livelihoods in rubber manufacturing and rubber materials worth $6 billion in the USA.
Goodyear Corporate. (n.d.). Retrieved from
Muller, D (n.d) 24 Important scientific discoveries that happened. Retrieved from