Our goal – to inspire and learn, a new year resolution for 2015.

Resolutions are always good to start a new year with: Committing to Gamification sounds like a good one. The goal is to maximize enjoyment and engagement through capturing the interest of learners and inspiring them to continue learning. Then it occurs one element you need is narrative and at least one other is immediate feedback. Then it occurs what we are being conditioned, or thought we are being conditioned by our leaders, corporate and political. Other evidence of this is the narrative we increasingly hear is playing down the unpleasant rather than getting to the point – an example of spinmeisters at work deploying euphemism(s) expecting we let the words wash over us without scrutinising the underlying reality.

So now our good intention is turning out to be a communication strategy and not so much a goal to inspire – We are openly massaging our message to our stakeholders to transition our moving forward. But what if, if the intention was only pro-business and pro-market? By this we mean to benefit the rent-seekers only.

It then occurs that while we have good intention in our resolution, others might not share our values that climate change is real and urgent. That merely adapting for ‘climate variability’ is a loser view. It would seem, according to Dr Neil James: Workers, corporate and politicians alike are digging in for a long fight between the ideology of each for 2015. Reported is you just have ask around and you read and hear; “Minister’s who can’t or won’t compromise, Union’s lack the strength to force their issues, and a workforce wondering what is going on here? “

Co2land org does guess it is about the game after all, and we are still in hope for a happy new year. As was said in Monty Python’s Life of Brian – always look on the bright side of life.

Also introduced are the further extensions of language to confuse and obfuscate, and from Dr Neil James, executive director of the Plain English Foundation and the author of Writing at Work was said:

“In Australia, the nation’s finances dominated the political “narrative”. The Treasurer divided the nation between “lifters” and “leaners”. The finance minister huffed that our public broadcasters were merely being subjected to an “efficiency dividend”. The government later admitted that, yes, this meant their funding was being cut after all.

Then Amanda Vanstone weighed in as a member of the National Commission of Audit with what must be the mixed metaphor of the year: Let’s fix our roof while the sun is shining because we’re on a course to hit the rocks and we have to fix it.

In the era of the mobile device, we are subjected to more information in more places at more times than ever before. It has never been more important to deconstruct this kind of doublespeak and uncouple the corporate spin. 2014 provided plenty of examples of what to watch for in the year ahead.”

Then there are the ‘we are here to help you’ matters – Like the National Disability (NDIS) scheme where parents of young children are being helped. But there is a catch; your special school can now bill you for the government contribution equivalents and other fees that leave them out of pocket in a way not done before.

Then there are those innovation help schemes. One example from a LinkedIn group member involves the ‘improved’ Commercialization Australia Scheme, called ‘Accelerating Commercialisation Australia’.

Under the heading: Accelerating Commercialisation Australia – up close and personal, Mark Dunn wrote – “Having read all the paperwork, FAQs and consumer guides, I lodged an application with Accelerating Commercialisation, and found out what they are really targeting.

Basically, this is product development funds. You have to have your prototype product or service, and are seeking assistance to convert it into something that a customer wants, e.g. making samples to distribute, or working with customers to determine detailed specifications, or working to develop markets.

The rules say the grant scheme is potentially good for $1 million, for 1:1 matching funds, but to quote their advisor, ‘there is not actually very much money’ in the fund.”

Being we cannot help ourselves we set about looking at common reference tools and found:

Accelerating = Slow down (dictionary form antonym)

Commercialisation = making it easy for companies to engage and successfully exploit

Australia = a sing-along medley of mountains, deserts, reefs, forests, beaches and …

I guess with a sense of humour you could say come a waltzing Matildas with me!

But do we need it, to suffer anymore in 2015 with the ‘necessity’ of euphemism, obfuscation and metaphors aided by corporate and political spin?

Then we read something that is food for thought in showing we are all full of it, and that ideology has little to do with success. It starts with the headline: Government running costs to reach record high as disability expenses mount, by Markus Mannheim, 3 January 2015: The Goulburn Post – “Former public service commissioner Andrew Podger, now a public policy professor at the Australian National University, said the expenses were a better indicator of efficiency than the size of the workforce because they included costs racked up by private contractors as well as public servants.

There have been a lot of experiments in efficiency over the years – outsourcing was one, another is shared services to try to take advantage of economies of scale …” he said.

“We had a period of decentralising government bodies and now we appear to be moving back to centralising a lot of work back into departments.

But you can’t say one method is more efficient or cheaper than another: it should be decided on a case-by-case basis for each program.

Real running costs grew rapidly under the Howard government. Labor, meanwhile, managed to restrain its operating expenses despite its massive spending projects to counter the global financial crisis.

Last month, as part of the Coalition’s “smaller and more rational government” agenda, Senator Cormann detailed plans to abolish or amalgamate about 250 government bodies, though most were small committees.

He also released a paper outlining the Coalition’s philosophy on the role of the public sector.

As a principle, government bodies should not be given preference as service delivery agents, where others are more capable of providing the same service …the minister wrote.”

We must finish with tying all this back to our advocating for a sustainable world, and the headline:

Heat is on Abbott government over climate change as world turns, 3 January 2015. “This could be the year of extinction for the climate-change denier” writes Peter Hannam. He goes on to say about the stance of the NSW Coalition Government: “When the Baird government unveiled the first high-resolution mapping of how global warming is expected to shift the climate for NSW, Victoria and the ACT by 2070, officials were quizzed why they weren’t using “climate variability”, a term favoured by federal Coalition counterparts, to describe the outlook.

This is the NSW government, we believe in climate change!” came the immediate response at the last month’s media briefing”.

Co2land org now asks is Gamification to be accessed in a similar way to narcissism. Classified as good and bad! We say we are good!

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Links to customer value – Future Energy Supply Strategies

Regulatory tests and security of supply –Sounds so elegant so simple when it is a strategic position statement or statements. Queensland gives some very good examples in recent times.

The first being the effort Ergon Energy put into the work to secure power supply upgrades to the ‘Granite Belt’ and that process started in 2011. It was abandoned 17 September 2014. What changed?

Then there is biofuel potential in Queensland. Why the focus on non-fossil sourced fuel now?

Then there are the Coal industry woes – China does not want the Galilee Basin coal type – it is too dirty for its cities!

Back to Ergon: After the Warwick Daily News headlined its story, 15 September 2014, “ERGON pulls the plug” – The story was quoting the Qld Energy Minister – Mark McArdle, as announcing the end of duplication of the Warwick to Stanthorpe power line and the controversy over the routes being selected. Ergon Energy then in a letter 17 September 2014 wrote to the landholders that were to be affected by the proposed duplication of the power line and formally advised they will no longer be effected. Clearly indicated for making the decision were the outcomes of the regulatory test(s). How could the regulator test find as it did to stop the project, even sway the politics of the project? Well, the key findings were:

  • The reliability standards changed on 1 July 2014. There is a heightened need to weigh the costs against the value to customers.
  • Existing demand is slowing and the evidence future demand will continue that trend if not further reduce. Certainly not inside the regulatory forecast periods.
  • Rising costs can no longer be blamed on rising demand predictions, that waste and excess must now be addressed for efficiency dividends.
  • There was very little to be concerned about with the reliability of the network as it stands now.
  • There is an edit the focus should be on affordability. That capital expenditure must be justified as needed.

Another way of putting all this is – Ergon Energy or any other supplier cannot get away with gold plating and excessive redundant equipment and infrastructure just because it gives them comfort – it must give value. How can you get value? You can improve the technology offering better monitoring, performance and be ‘smart’. The later is as simple as balancing the demand supply equation with incentives and/or implementing demand management strategies.

And, yes there is more: alternative energy supply is opening being touted as ‘planned initiatives’ What alternative energy? Call it what you like – clean, green or whatever. But what will stick is not only ‘proven technology’ as the descriptors now includes ‘likely technology’ of distributed type and ‘battery’ storage.

As an aside did you know as ‘battery’ can be a physical volume exchange as well as an electron store!

Does this mean technology will save coal? It is possible – but at the end of the day it will get down to the economics and it is not looking all that bright for coal as sustaining its position even for baseload demand.  Even our world partners are turning their backs on coal – it is now seen as too expensive in terms of the outlook, and the economics, the environment and the cost of the process to make it ‘clean’. Recent Chinese regulatory changes are testimony to that issue. Then there is the story -AngloAmerican boss sees coal mines closing at a rate of one a fortnight http://www.goulburnpost.com.au/story/2569015/angloamerican-boss-sees-coal-mines-closing-at-a-rate-of-one-a-fortnight/ … – no a good look is it!

Yesterday, 22 September 2014, in Canberra the Minister for Industry Ian MacFarlane addressed a biofuel forum on the strategy for Queensland to take the lead on bio fuel production. This follows a paper released through the Queensland University of Technology prepared by Corelli and Deloitte Access Economics. The paper called “Economic impact of a future tropical bioenergy industry in Queensland”. It talks of the ‘potential’ of new manufacturing facilities, and how biofuels can be used as an area of increased focus in agricultural strategy.

What all this means is that traditional energy is heeding a need for a strategic change of heart. Despite what is being said about business as usual, that is not the behaviour behind the scenes and increasingly it is coming to the fore that change is inevitable. The EUAA calls it a paradigm for the industry. The question is what part of the pack are we to become. Australia has always been world renown for finding solutions. What we have not been good at is getting things done, besides talk about it that is.

And, there is more: some government facilitations would assist in industry establishment. Not our quote, it is taken straight from the above papers key findings.

Pride and Passion – too much for the business.

My father used to say – think your mother was a glassmaker? Meaning I cannot see through you. My pride would be hurt. Not because of what was said, but that I did not notice I was in the way and awkward at it too! That said it has parallels for business. Recently we were asked a question – I have done all the necessary steps to get my idea to market, don’t they know how important it is – it could change everything! I even spend $300,000 on IP Lawyers to protect our precious idea from copiers. Still going nowhere, why? Our reply, no worries ‘you’ are the problem. The problem is pride and being too proud and too much unbridled passion in your beliefs. Then our friend said; that is what the other guy said! Adding, they said you are not ready for success and it is very common when ideas get to the point of needing objective assessments and not just hard work. It is at that point where what could go wrong really goes wrong with the next step and it is ‘you’.

If we start with the hard work equation, Co2Land org Posted on July 23, 2014, Waltz with your innovation – 1,2,3 step. From this you will get a good visual on the issues. Then there are the mistakes: Chances are you challenged conventional wisdom – first mistake. Someone else has something to lose. Chances are you have improved a widget – next mistake. It was someone else’s cash cow. Chances are you did not realise you have set a new standard, or at least the potential to change is recognised. This means you are causal to change. Have any of you ever thought that what you cause to change might not like to change?

Then there is the problem of objective assessments and the blockers for it: What you might need to change is your pride! It is that point where your pride will not let you give up; you might want to walk away. But you cannot. It is that point that is too much for good business.

But can you still be proud that at least you give it a go? It is normal behaviour for you to hate to miss the next step for ‘your baby’ to succeed. What you would not like to hear is ‘you’ might better help the company by stepping back for three to four years and it would be good for your company. Why? It is in your mind – you are the best thing for the new company. It is your right in being there for the transition from inventor to innovator to leader. The reality can be different – too much passion to project and not being willing to share the problem.

For further explanation of why, maybe you should step back the following from: Jason Thibeault Sr. Director Marketing Strategy at Limelight Networks; Co-Author of “Recommend This!” on August 13, 2014, wrote: “About a year ago, I had an amazing opportunity to go work for a startup (PokitDok). This startup had everything I could possibly want in an opportunity: a great team, a lead investor who was a personal friend, an amazing mission/vision (which is what really drew me to them). And it was a gut wrenching decision to leave my position at Limelight Networks where, for all intents and purposes, I had an extended family and had just helped pivot the company to new messaging and direction. But I pulled the trigger anyway.

No risk, no reward, right?

Well, four weeks later, I was back at Limelight and wrote this personal reflection because I hope that people can learn from my experience.

The truth about startups

Everyone sees the startup opportunity as a potential lottery win. Sure, there’s the possibility of a windfall financially but for every one that hits it big, there are hundreds, even thousands, that don’t.

There are three things that people don’t quite understand about startups (and that I had forgotten unfortunately after doing a few). First, they are very tight-knit. Even post series-A, PokitDok had 13 people who had all worked together at some point (everyone in the company had a relationship to the two founders). They were already like a family. So there is a lot of intimacy in a startup which, for classic introverts like myself, is very hard to deal with. Second, they move fast. Everyone is doing a lit bit of everything at some point. When work needs to be done and there’s no one who is “responsible” for it, someone picks it up and runs with it (or they acknowledge they will get to it later if it’s not part of the focus). That can be a major cultural shock for someone coming from a public-company environment where roles and responsibilities are fairly well defined. Third, it’s all about focus. There are limited resources (time and money) and in order to be successful enough to garner more investment (or, heaven forbid, revenue) the company has to remain focused on the tasks that lend themselves directly to proving the company’s business model. That can have significant challenges for introverts who are big thinkers and visionaries.

I got broadsided by all three of these issues. As an introvert with an HFA diagnosis (high-functioning autism), I quickly withdrew. It was massive overstimulation. Every meeting, every “huddle up”, every problem I saw, every “lacking” element from the marketing function generated more mental output than I knew what to do with. I couldn’t process it quickly enough. It was overwhelming. Which, of course, led to another problem: I began to get manic. In my introverted mind, I wanted to get the minutiae tackled. I wanted to get all the processes and day-to-day stuff out of the way so that I could concentrate on what I was good at: thinking, pontificating, dreaming, exploring, examining. So I was producing a lot of stuff but not very deeply. I wasn’t very focused. Which is all great for brand and strategic marketing, not so good for day-to-day.

When the shoe drops…

So at the end of 4 weeks the CEO and I agreed that “it wasn’t a fit.”

It’s important to understand the implications of coming to this conclusion. It wasn’t a reflection on my skills or my ability to accomplish my work. It was all about my role (as a senior executive) and the current state/size of the company. In 3 or 4 years? Maybe a different story. They needed to get tactical and operational. I was operating a few levels above that.

Some people might find this a massive blow to their ego. They might not hear the part about “it’s not a reflection of your skill, we still need you to help us.” Only I understand startups and so I applauded the CEO for her ability to make a quick decision. There’s really no way to hide a problem, like someone not fitting or a lack of focus, in a startup. That intimacy exposes everything. And because of that second thing about startups, things moving really fast, someone not fitting can turn into a huge problem that snowballs completely out of control in a matter of weeks (where it might take months or years in a more established company).

Still, I did what anyone would do: I freaked out a little. I just lost my job (despite the consulting opportunity). I had no health benefits. Ruh, roh…

There really is a silver lining

Thankfully, I had left Limelight under great circumstances. I didn’t go to a competitor. I didn’t blast the company over their issues. I didn’t leave angry. In fact, I left sad (and I was actually still consulting with them because I still believe strongly in what they are trying to accomplish; heck, I helped get them there). So I reached out to my former boss (Kirby Wadsworth, with whom I was co-authoring a book for Wiley anyway) and told him what had happened. Long story short, I went back at Limelight for the long-term.

I know that a lot of people are excited by startup opportunities but going into one with eyes wide-open is critical to being successful which is why I impart this one piece of advice: The startup culture (fast, intimate, focused) has to fit with your personality. It’s probably not the best place for a classic introvert unless you are an engineer where it’s expected that you are heads-down in code.

Every experience, no matter how small, changes us

But I also learned a lot about myself. In fact, it gave me a new perspective on my role in helping a business be successful. That new perspective actually empowered me to come up with a role at Limelight (working for Kirby) that is perhaps the most exciting role I could have ever imagined. So what did I learn?

That I’m not a “leader”. That’s not me. Worrying about leading takes away from my ability to do what I do best. When I played hockey, I was a go-to guy because I worked hard. But I was never the captain.

That it’s okay not to be the best at everything. I’ve embraced what I’m really good at: strategy/vision, writing/storytelling, and speaking. Those are my three core strengths. Everything else…no thanks.

That being happy with myself means recognizing #1 and #2.

Would I have liked the startup to work out? Sure. They really have a powerful mission and vision. Yet I also don’t think that I would have had a “life changing” event if it had worked out. I might have continued to believe that I was good at everything, that I was a leader (and deserved the title to go with it), and that I was happy. So in a sense, everything worked out for the best. I got to go back “home” to my extended family (and an exciting new role) while making new relationships with the people at Pokitdok (who are all really awesome people, by the way).

My ultimate advice to everyone? Be truthful to yourself. Accept your weaknesses and embrace your strengths. Don’t try to make strengths out of weaknesses if it’s going to make you miserable trying especially at a startup. Understand that you cannot place anything above your own personal happiness. Because if you aren’t happy, you can’t contribute to other people’s happiness and when it comes down to it, happy environments make for productive employees.”

Well there you go! As long as you experience – you live! You also have reason to be proud, no need to be sorry. Just be cool!

 

 

Waltz with your innovation – 1,2,3 step

What really goes wrong with the next step from innovation is a common question. The most probable answer is scientific reputation. Followed by you. Followed by your assistance choice. Think this: You have a really good solution for a problem you have identified. You put your energies into making it possible. So you go from inventor to innovation. Chances are it goes wrong at the next point – what is known as the valley of death in the leap to commercialisation. You spend vast amounts of money in relative terms and still no significant progress. There is plenty of talk and countless possibilities. However, there is very little progress.

Chances are you challenged conventional wisdom – first mistake. Someone else has something to lose. Chances are you have improved a widget – next mistake. It was someone else’s cash cow. Chances are you did not realise you have set a new standard, or at least the potential to change is recognised. This means you are causal to change. Have any of you ever thought that what you cause to change might not like to change?

Once you have spawned you idea and it is in front of your eyes, and you dream of the introduction to the market. We all think for the good mankind here it is, wonderful!

To have your idea move to being accredited it must be measured in some way. By what measure soon becomes a dilemma. Does it produce an electric current, does it produce noise, and does it produce gases and so on? This is where scientific reputation becomes important. Chances are you need some sort of national accreditation body give it a number of some sort. The most common delay to the introduction of your idea is proving it is a benefit. A couple of examples are the CSIRO writes of the promise of a particular technology, financiers have promised funds, buyers are prepared to place orders. But, you only now go to the EPA or some enforcement equivalent body asking for the merits to be rewarded with an exemption or sanction of some sort. Your mistake – market acceptance is not enforcement acceptance. Now considerable effort is needed to save your initiative. You may even need to change your design because of scientific reputation.

Will you accept the notion you must change? In an article, http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/235608 , JULY 15, 2014, Steve Tobak wrote: “As a veteran of Silicon Valley, I’ve had the distinct pleasure of working with more than my fair share of talented and innovative entrepreneurs. Sadly, some of their behavior was just dysfunctional enough to royally screw things up for themselves and their companies…… That’s not meant to be as irreverent as it sounds. I have always felt empathy for founders and their stakeholders. After all, it’s not as if I were some paragon of virtuous behavior when I was an executive, either. Nobody’s perfect……… Nevertheless, you can’t fix a problem until you face the truth. So whenever I have an opportunity to help a promising startup that can’t find its way or a mature company in need of a turnaround, it is difficult to watch them fail simply because those in charge aren’t willing to deal with their limitations…….. Any decent psychiatrist will tell you that on some level smart people do understand what’s really going on. They do have common sense. They hear what others are telling them. They know what they’re doing. So when they suppress it, bury it in their subconscious, hear what they want to hear – call it what you want — that, my friends, is a choice……….    I bet I know what you’re thinking. There are lots of reasons why startups fail. Yes, there are. I’m sure I’ve seen them all. But if you dig down a bit, the root cause of most of them is that their leaders choose not to see what’s staring them right in the face. Think about it. You find a reason and I’ll show you an entrepreneur in denial………. Lots of companies run out of cash. But while some can’t raise capital, you would not believe how many can and simply don’t. Oftentimes, their founders aren’t willing to give up a piece of the pie. They try to bootstrap a promising venture and end up starving it to death. Or they have too high a burn rate, aren’t willing to invest the time it takes to raise a round of funding, wait too long and run out of time……… It’s hard to imagine how many beneficial ideas, inventions and innovations never see the light of day because they offer solutions that don’t actually solve any real problems. Or they’ve come up with concepts, not products……… Lots of entrepreneurs are not in it for the long haul or for the right reasons; they think they can make a quick million or feed their egos. Some don’t think they need a unique value proposition or competitive differentiation. Others have holes in their strategy so big it would take a miracle to fill them.”

Co2Land org say there is another problem we should also mention. Be very careful with who you ‘are allocated’ to help with commercialisation – their motive may not match your own expectations. Example: You see a long-term relationship with your enterprise; they may see the need for you to make a company exit. Who is right – the right of the company or your association right!

So it is a three step, a waltz no doubt: reputation, you and your partnership choice.

Work Smarter – retail v’s wholesale rules

The various ways innovation can be killed off achieves only one goal, to prevent us from doing things smarter. In 1994 the Department of Finance issued a statement aimed to clarify working smarter. In 2014 the Australian Government again said: We need to work smarter. What does smarter mean? You could take the view it is a balancing term where working smarter is a term that illustrates the rigor and complexity of the English language. Smarter used this way works equally well in arts, literacy, and performance tasks. However, what if it were used as a verb as an irritating means to stop something innovative?

The US gives us a good example of this where the legal challenge to a regulator that issued a rule for good and smart behaviour needed to be defended because it balanced the demand supply equation and that disrupted business as usual. This example was blogged by Joel Eisen: D.C. Circuit Vacates FERC Smart Grid “Demand Response” Rule.

Joel B. Eisen is Professor of Law and Austin Owen Research Fellow at University of Richmond School of Law. His scholarly work is available here.

Last Friday (May 23), in Electric Power Supply Association v. FERC, a D.C. Circuit panel split 2-1 and vacated Order 745, a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) rule designed to promote “demand response” (DR). DR is a rapidly growing and valuable means of reducing electricity demand, thereby benefiting consumers and the environment. It is also an important part of the Smart Grid, in which smart meters and devices that communicate with one another and energy service providers can further promote these goals. Indeed, former FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff has called DR the Smart Grid’s “killer app.”

The case tested a question of near first impression about the Smart Grid: which level of government regulates it? For now, the D.C. Circuit has held squarely for the states, concluding that DR regulation is a matter of exclusive state jurisdiction. If the decision stands, it will have many adverse implications for federal regulation to advance the Smart Grid and use the wholesale electricity markets to achieve energy reductions and environmental goals.”

What was the argument for the smarter innovation? 1. Directly affects wholesale rates by reducing prices and improving overall market functioning. 2. It has the effect of enabling demand-side resources, as well as supply-side resources, and improves the economic operation of electricity markets. 3. The regulator believed there would be limited Demand Response participation in the markets without encouragement.

The disruption to the smarter solution was achieved by dissention. It was not an issue of being straightforward and sensible, it was that it was competing with the established market and compensated those other than the supply side of the market. The smarter practice affected (can do) the wholesale market in a positive way, but it was “a part of the retail market. It involves retail customers, their decision whether to purchase at retail, and the levels of retail electricity consumption.” The regulator was empowered to regulate practices affecting the wholesale market, not the retail market.

So dear innovators, we have a situation: Working smarter has drawbacks, it can inflict pain, it can wound and be irritating to watch the dissenters argue you have no right expecting a retail outcome where it might affect the wholesale heaven of the established. It does tend to put the perspective on the ‘valley of death’ referred to in commercialization preamble!

 

Australia – so little support for idea leaders

It started with one line: Without a culture that makes big, bold bets on new ideas, its difficult to see how Australia can move from being an idea cemetery to an idea launcher -Source Ben McNeil.

All this came from a story in the Australian 28 August 2013. The story called “Big Ideas Buried in Innovation Graveyard”. It touched a nerve because as is the case of so much excellent ideas we generate in Australia, there is so little support for the commercialisation of the ideas. But, wait there is more! – We do not care about the innovation.  What you say, don’t care.  It is true – think about this line: Commercialisation Australia doesn’t support the company but the Commercialisation of the technology. Where does this leave the innovator? Up the creek without a paddle – your ideas can be superb, you business case well founded: But the graveyard – the valley of death for your invention is that place you go to because you cannot find support in our country, the country an with excellence for invention and a fail for innovation efficiency. In short we force our good ideas offshore if we want success as a company. The idea leaders cannot be rewarded for helping our industry to be part of our country.

If you doubt this, then this is what Ian Chubb, Australian Chief Scientist, said in the 28 August article: “Australia ranks 107th out of 141 nations in innovation efficiency”

In a ‘real’ world example: You ask please help me protect my IP, I need help because I have a lot of interest in my product after considerable R&D. What I do not have is the confidence of my buyers to outlay the dollars to place an order. When I place an application for help to move on my trade secrets, I am then faced with a number of questions that directly relate to my IP. Then the ridiculous come to light – the question: Why don’t you fund your own IP Protection? The answer creates a circular argument along the lines of a song from Harry Bellefonte some years ago: There is a hole in my bucket and it goes on rhyme well fix it to the point where to fix it requires the bucket to carry water – but there is a hole in my bucket. Unfortunately that pretty well sums up the Australia attitude of support for our ideas.

If it were to change would the Small man with big ideas be treated better?   Actually, in another perverse twist it is a tendency of this country to promote institutions with generous awards of cash and incentives. We can only suspect that is because it is a highly visible way to make big numbers look ‘real’ big deals. The short-term photo opportunity is seen a tick in the outcome box, yet often proves a less than optimum result.

The risk of failure will still be a major problem for the small innovator, even if they have the big bold new ideas that could drive our nation into prosperity and diversity of our GDP collection points. Because your ideas could not be protected while you seek markets, you fail you cannot protect your secrets – your ideas are ‘stolen’ and you will not attract investment.

CO2Land org noted that recently the Prime Minister announced the think small concept – what did he really mean?

Product design, standards and innovation

Product design is something that is no longer ‘just a good idea’. Creating a sustainable product is also an important trigger for your product design.  But then it gets boring – you start to take stock of the standards and think – we are trapped!

The backdrop is the lower slopes of Mount Kosciuszko (arguably the highest mountain in Australia), and it is winter. Looking into a log fire and being thankful we were warm and safe it was discussed that a better design and innovation are difficult to commercialise. The desire, the plans and even the Research and Development phase is proven. The issue at hand is the ‘bankable’, the intellectual protection and the confidence needed for the buyer of the new product. The buyer quickly becomes the focus. Then you divide it into whether the domestic market is different to the international market, and that leads to what standards might affect your design.

This means you either consider the process of manufacture as a pure design or as a managed procedure or both. Examples being:

The ISO 9000 series – It has a purpose of being a quality management system and China is issued the greater number of certificate holders in the world. Then comes the reasons for not adopting this standard and this would include the risks and uncertainty of not knowing if there are direct relationships to improved quality, and what kind and how many resources will be needed. Then there is how much certification will cost, the increased bureaucratic processes and risk of poor company image if the certification process fails.

The ISO 14000 and ISO 9000 series is similar in that both are concerned with the process of how a product is produced. However, it is worth noting neither is concerned with the product itself.

Importantly for this ‘fire side’ discussion ISO 14000 standards main aim is to assist companies in continually improving their environmental performance, whilst complying with any applicable legislation.

What is the better way to go? Why do it at all when you want to establish your reputation on product performance? Simple answer if you want to sell it on mass and to certain markets it is important that you focus on at least one standard. The decision required is whether to do it as a quality of process management or as a management focus on environmental performance and applicable evolving legal compliance and reporting duties.

If you have followed carbon management and the principles you will have understood the trends and the effects of the product needs to promote through Life cycle Assessment, the product footprinting, and governance requirements. In Europe in particular PAS 2050 cannot be ignored. If that is where you market is heading you might be even more interested to know ISO/TS 14067 is the story of today.

Product footprinting is standard ISO/TS14067 (ISO = International Organization for Standardization, TS = Technical Specification. The full name of the standard is: ISO/TS 14067 – Greenhouse gases – Carbon footprint of products – Requirements and guidelines for quantification and communication.

The genus: Built on ISO14040 and 14044. And originally they were known as LCA standards. LCA originated around 1997 and replaced around 2006. Academically and professionally, these are very well understood and in use.

The fit: It uses the existing terminology, concepts and ideas from 14044 and builds from this and what you learnt before will be understood today. It is comparable to the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol and PAS 2050 and is related to many industry and government agency specific guidelines.

What is different:

Expanding from the original LCA to ISO/TS 14067 brings in the requirements for providing, quoted is

http://www.2degreesnetwork.com/groups/supply-chain/resources/four-reasons-why-you-should-get-know-isots-14067-product-footprinting/?goback=%2Egde_83858_member_263437238

 “principles, requirements and guidelines for the quantification and communication of the carbon footprint of products (CFPs).” Four types of communication are identified:

  • CFP external communication report
  • CFP performance tracking report
  • CFP label
  • CFP declaration

 

Of particular interest is that a performance tracking report …allows for the comparison of CFP results of one specific product of the same organization over time with respect to its original or previous CFP”.

The consensus: PAS 2050 was declared, ISO/TS14067 was built with international consensus representing about 50 countries through 12 working group meetings.

The importance of data:

A lot of data has already been collected for comparing product and categories are created that align with most products ‘norm’ for carbon footprinting. In short you can research if you don’t have enough data to start and the specification defines that the “best quality data available” should be used. Where site-specific data cannot be practicably collected, verified process data should be used. How good is that? A bit different to the ‘you shall’ or the sky falls in sort of thinking.

 

To conclude and quote Supply Chain: We should look at the standard as “

  • Something old = Built on the accepted ISO 14044 standard
  • Something new = Extends the scope of requirements for the communication of LCAs – which may be the next logical step for your current LCA work
  • Something borrowed = Utilises existing Product Category Rules concept that you may already be complying with
  • Something blue = Utilises process data that you may already have”.

 

In context to the original opening ‘discussion’ yes it makes sense that if you want to future proof you product or you want to move to markets where adopting EU stewardship rules, you have to consider it part of your plan to participate.  Just maybe that way you could break the ‘Business as Usual’ cycle and or hindrance to innovation.