3D Print – A Pizza?

3D printers have been in the news lately with stories of people who are printing in sugar.  But what about printing in pizza?  I wanted to post this, since I thought this was a notable way to make food, here as well as in outer space.

A 3D printer machine designed by engineer Anjan Contractor recently printed a pizza as a test.  This printer could be used as a new way to make food for astronauts who are on long missions in the future. Usually astronauts eat food from tubes and in tightly sealed packages, but with a 3D printer they could print out and cook meals.

In order to print the pizza, the machine prints the pizza in “blocks.”  A block of dough is printed before a block of sauce and then cheese. The result is a square personal pizza. The food cartridges for the system are intended to last thirty years.  There is a video online where you can watch the pizza printer in action. I wonder what else the printer can print?


Image Source and Links:

3d Printed Pizza – Video 





ThePresent: A New Annual Clock

This time of the year the topic of time seems to come up.  January 1 is a time of new beginnings, resolutions, and a new year.  Time is something that has been measured with many things including grains of sand, shadows, and hands on a clock.

Scott Thrift and the creative company “m ss ng p eces” set out to make a clock that measures time in a new way, in the form of a dedicated annual clock.  The clock makes a revolution each day, and changes color as it moves.  With one hand – it tells the story of time in seasons instead of seconds.  The clock looks like a color selection from a design program, the full color spectrum in the form of a circle.

ThePresent uses gradients of pure color to mark the Equinoxes & Solstices throughout the year. It uses special German-engineered annual movement that holds the “memory” of where the Annual Hand should be on any given day of the year.

The maker says that the clock, called ThePresent will have a powerful effect on how you can experience time.  Check out the video and read more on  Since I read about the clock, it has had me thinking about what color today would be.  Maybe a light blue?

Image Source:



The Idea Truck: A Truck That Sells Ideas

Lorri Deyer had a great idea.  Well, let’s say she had a number of great ideas. Deyer is an artist and storyteller whose work incorporates everyday materials and settings.  Past projects have included creating interesting garden hoses, and sending out postcards to announce a pot hole.

Her latest project, called Idea Truck is a platform to engage others in creativity in their daily life.   For the project, Deyer decided to drive the Idea truck (which is an actual taco truck,) and sell only ideas for six monthes around Los Angeles.

To participate, visitors  can order from a menu of ideas, but in order to get this idea you have to write your own idea down first.  The idea is for ideas to become currency, and to exchange.

The menu includes Tuesday’s Surprise Special, Half-Baked Idea, and also ideas left by other visitors.  The ideas are half-price if you recite the idea out loud.   You can contact the person who left the idea via email, and also add to the idea.

On the website it gives this example as an idea,”…space ships should be purple elephants with rockets for feet (one idea already donated to the inventory).  Why do they have to be aerodynamic anyway, there’s no air in space?  Disagree?  Want to elaborate?  Then contact the idea maker directly from the email he or she leaves behind.  And on that note—what is an idea?  Are they a dime a dozen or are they a unique stamp of who you are?  Is an idea enough in this consumer-driven object making world?”

The ideas and project are being livestreamed, and Twitter updates and posts are updated as part of the experience.  Online voting for Idea of the Week, and a project outcome of a Idea Truck book are part of the project.

Can anyone have a good idea?  Can a bad idea be as interesting as a bad one?  Check out the Idea Truck project online, and check out how the project has been going since it was funded on Kickstarter.

Image Source:



Innovation Uncategorized

Five Disciplines of Innovation : SRI’s Approach to Innovation

A few weeks ago I attended a workshop by SRI International called the Five Disciplines of Innovation.  SRI International is one of the world’s largest and most successful research institutes. The computer mouse, the first internet transmission, and the HDTV standard are all innovations that came from SRI.

SRI was founded by Stanford University to support economic development and innovation in Silicon Valley, back when the local area had more fruit orchards than tech companies.  Since its beginning, SRI has earned over 1000 patents for various inventions.

Around 2200 people work at SRI, and the goal is to make major contributions to society.  SRI today has various locations around the world, and has various research groups that focus on topics that are defined as “important” instead of just interesting.

This idea of defining what is important instead of just interesting, which SRI calls “value creation,” is key to their mission.  Part of their approach is to spend time developing a “value proposition,” which is a unique approach to developing pitches and proposals which is unique.   The approach is called “NABC,” which stands for asking and answering questions about the need, approach, benefits for cost, and competition related to the innovative idea.

In the workshop, we learned about how in most pitches and presentations, people tend to focus primarily on the approach, talking about how something is going to be done.  SRI’s approach emphasizes focusing on the need first, and making sure that you present this first, and that it is quality information.  Really examining the need of an idea is helpful for you to examine your idea, and your presentation will be stronger to others.  Part of developing need research is researching the user/customer which might include interviews, literally following your customer around for a couple of days, doing market research, etc. At SRI, a team member might fly to Japan for a few days in order to observe customer behavior, or do in-person interviews.

Part of SRI’s approach is to work on a value proposition, pitch it to others, get input and then reworking it.  At the workshop, we learned that it is not possible to get a pitch down right away and at SRI, it is not uncommon to revise a value proposition up to 40 times!

Our pre-work for the workshop was to prepare a one-minute pitch of a project or idea talking about need, approach, benefits per cost and competition. We presented these pitches at the beginning of the workshop.  Most of us took more than 2 minutes (even up to 4) to present.  In the workshop we broke up into groups, and then did team work creating fuller value propositions for someone’s project or idea.

The teams did presentations twice, and each group reworked the value proposition twice during the two days.  It became clear that the more that research about need was done, the better a case could be made for supporting an idea or project.  We also learned that many innovative ideas start out as one form, but end up being something used for something completely different.

A common problem at companies and institutions is that there is no language and framework to evaluate and give input on ideas and pitches. SRI developed a dynamic and useful way for presentations and input, called “Value Creation Forums.”  These are forums when individuals or a team give a presentation of an idea using the NABC format, and then get input.  Key to this is having people at various areas and levels of the company being part of the process.  The presentations are a continuous process.  A presentation might be given to various groups over and over, refining or changing it each time.

Some rules and roles are created for the forums, and there is a facilitator who keeps the presenters and critiques directed.

Some of the rules used in a Value Creation forum include:

  1. Before the presentation, some colored hats are given out to people.  We had 2 green hats – and people with the green hats were to give input on what was working and successful in the pitch.
  2. Two red hats were given out, the individuals wearing the red hats were to give feedback on what could be improved, what might be missing, added, etc.
  3. Two white hats were given out – and these were to be individuals role-playing and trying to see the presentation as the decision maker or person who would fund or make the final decision to implement the idea.
  4. Two pairs of pink glasses (without lenses) were give to 2 people.  People with these were to be the customer or user.
  5. The facilitator makes sure that everyone knows their roles, and keeps time for the presentation.  Two people take notes for the presenter/team.
  6. The presenter presents and everyone claps at the end of the presentation.
  7. The feedback is given by the green hats first, red hats second, white hats third, and pink glasses last.
  8. After this – anyone can give comments and feedback.  All feedback is to be constructive criticism, and not in the You should, or I think.. point of view.
  9. After each presentation, the hats and glasses are passed on – so that everyone gets a chance playing various roles.

In the workshop I was in, there were various professors and staff from Case Western Reserve University from various fields that included nursing, engineering, English, Biology, and other areas.  Through the format of the forums, everyone was able to have a common language for giving input, and also as a group it was fun and dynamic.

During the workshop, we created teams and each team worked on developing one idea that was presented at the beginning of the workshop.  There were two value creation forums done, and it was interesting to see how the presentation improved and communicated better going through the two value creation forums.

I am currently reading the Innovation: The Five Disciplines for Creating What Customers Want book written by Dr. Carlson and by Dr. Bill Wilmot.   I also plan to participate and facilitate some Value Creation Forums with individuals from the workshop in Winter 2013.

I also have priced out the red, green, and white hats – so I can get these in the near future and do Value Creation forums in my classes and community.

Image Source:
Five Disciplines of Innovation Workshop by SRI International, at Case Western Reserve University



 Innovation: The Five Disciplines for Creating What Customers Want book

Interview with SRI International President – SFGate





Food Innovation

Local Food Lab – A New Food Incubator for Entrepeneurs

Are you interested in sustainable food and agriculture? Have an idea for a food or farm startup but lack the necessary business knowledge to get started? Do you want to improve access to healthy foods for more people while reducing our reliance on conventional agriculture?

Local Food Lab which is based in Silicon Valley has a food entrepreneur accelerator program that provides food entrepeneurs with training, access, and resources during a 6 week program.    The program is designed for individuals interested in creating startups that offer prepared food products, catering and food services, food+tech products, urban to medium-scale agricultural services, and programs that expand the interest and demand for a more sustainable food system.

Cofounders Krysia Kajonc and Mateo Aguilar felt that the challenges of getting food from farms to table, and linking producers to buyers could be improved with a startup bootcamp.  They wanted to wanted to tie in technology, design, and the startup model to help entrepreneurs work to create business models that might address the challenge of producing enough food so that the prices can be more affordable.

Applicants pay $2500 in tuition for a six week program to learn how to create a marketing plan, create financial projections, and have access to Local Food Lab’s kitchen, garden, and collaborative space, and meet with mentors.  The end of the program culminates in a pitch night in front of potential investors.

Some of the past participants include Cynthia King who wanted to create a “edible churchyard,” and is currently planning to launch six farms in collaboration local churches, a synagogue  and nonprofits. Each faith organization can decide how to use the food and whether is be donated or sold for profit.

Plans for Local Food Lab is to bring the program to New York and to expand it to other cities and countries in the future.  If you have an idea, you can get information on the Local Food lab site about applying to the next accelerator program.

Image Source: