Author Archives: Joanne Moretti

Joanne Moretti

With 35 years of experience within leading high tech organizations, Joanne is responsible for all aspects of growth and operations of the Radius Innovation & Development organization.

2018: Technologies Redefining the Human Experience

Last week, like many others in our industry, I experienced the most gargantuan trade show on the planet: the Consumer Electronics Show 2018. As always, the show was held in Las Vegas and played host to thousands of companies, 170,000 humans, and several hundred robots. Putting aside the sore feet, the frustration of waiting in line for cabs for 45+ mins, and waiting at least 20 minutes for a coffee in the morning, I will tell you that the content, the people, the innovations, and the technology I discovered more than surpassed my expectations. It was all worth it.

This year my biggest “ah-ha” moment was not about the tech or cool gizmos. Instead, I was completely and pleasantly surprised with the overwhelming passion at the show. The passion oozing out of everyone — entrepreneurs and corporate executives from companies of all sizes, at all stages. And the passion centered on improving the human condition, and making life and the planet better in some way – safer, easier, healthier, cleaner,.. you name it.

So this year, instead of giving you my usual laundry listing of cool tech stuff I experienced, or my pitch about the business value metrics it creates for companies, I’m going to give you the human metrics and human empowerment the technology gives us! And I’ve made it super easy by capturing it in this spectacular video.

Please enjoy!

P.S. Humans: If you would like to learn more about an empowering career here at Jabil or perhaps with our innovation and development consultancy, Radius, please feel free to check out our career pages. I feel so empowered to make a difference here and help our customer’s change the world, I’m never leaving!

The Big Trends We’re Expecting at CES 2018

You gotta love CES – all that innovation crammed into one city and one week! For us at Radius Innovation & Development, the show is a chance to see if we have our fingers on the pulse of the industry, to explore new innovations, and to meet some of the more than 900 startups showing brand new ideas and solutions.

No doubt we’ll be surprised by a few things; we’ll certainly be inspired. Here are a few of the big trends we’re expecting at this year’s show:

Digital Transformation
We’re seeing a digital transformation occur in every industry, even those that didn’t consider themselves technology sectors. The level of disruption and innovation from the digital transformation of industries such as retail, automotive, healthcare and financial is both phenomenal and disruptive. Indeed, we’ve seen our own digital transformation within the Jabil family and we leverage all the advantages of a digital thread through ideation, rapid prototyping, low volume manufacturing, right into volume production and supply chain orchestration.

We are expecting the digital transformation of more industries, more companies, more ecosystems and more elements of our day-to-day lives. We’ve found ourselves working with several customers this year, assisting them in their digital transformation, acting as a guide through the disruption they are seeing in their sector, helping them to be the disruptors rather than the disrupted.

Internet of Things
I know we’ve been discussing this for a while now, but the number of “things” connected to the Internet is continuing to grow. There will be very few new products at CES that aren’t “Smart,” “Connected,” or most likely, both.

The ability to connect the things in our lives empowers new solutions, and along with those solutions, new business models, new companies and even new industries. When we look at the whole ideation process we like to focus on the human experience first and foremost, then develop an ecosystem before we start to zero in on specific products. In many ways that makes us unique, but we believe this is the way our customers can find a consumer-led solution, rather than a technology-led one.

Connected or Smart Homes
We’ve seen smart home products at CES for a few years, but this year it feels like the sector is coming of age, led by the adoption of personal assistants like Alexa and Siri. The Amazon Echo sold seven times more units this Prime Day over last year, and with Google and Apple in the market, this space will get more competitive and the products will develop even more skills.

These systems provide the focus or glue for smart home adoption and with voice recognition the smart home seems to have found an ecosystem solution that users like. I’m expecting to see a lot of cool smart and connected home products at this year’s show, some from startups, some from the big home product brands with domain expertise, but almost all connected to, and operated by, personal assistants.

Wearables
The wearables area at CES grows every year and smart fabrics and cheaper sensors are driving this sector forward faster than ever. These products are finding applications beyond smart fitness. According to statistics, there are around 500 Million connected wearable devices in use now and that number is set to more than double in the next four years. By far the largest two categories are smart watches and health/fitness trackers, occupying close to 90% of the market.

We think wearables success comes not just from getting the product right, but also the human experience, or user interface. We work closely with our clients to ensure we reach out to potential users to discover how they want to use a product and how it helps in their daily lives.

Smart Packaging
Just how smart can packaging be, and how important is packaging anyway? Very smart and very important as it turns out. With retail moving from bricks and mortar to online, the packaging of a product might be the first physical interaction a customer has with a brand.

What’s more, the ability to use smart packaging to drive loyalty opens a whole world of opportunity for brands. Smart packaging can be used to protect the consumer from damaged, mishandled or tampered shipments. They can also inform consumers of the need to replenish, connecting to smart apps that allow for convenient one button re-ordering. For the brand, smart packaging can also drive that all important digital transformation, generating data on product usage and consumer habits.

Our partnership with Jabil Packaging Solutions has led us to develop some great solutions in this area, particularly our Packaging Innovation Sprint, which helps brands quickly assess the potential of Smart Packaging in their market.

Humanizing Healthcare
The healthcare industry has many challenges, not least an aging and growing population. Technology may not be the silver bullet, but it is certainly developing solutions that have much to offer the industry. Key to success in Healthcare technology is Human Factors, part of what we do every day to make sure products meet the needs of patients, practitioners and of course the FDA. Once again this goes back to the significance of the user experience.

We think in 2018 the healthcare industry will connect more closely with patients, delivering diagnosis, information and care in the patient’s home as well as at the clinic or hospital. Technology has the capability to accelerate the healthcare process, driving down costs and bringing solutions to a growing population.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)
There’s little doubt that AI will be the star of the show this year. Data is the rocket fuel for just about every one of these emerging technologies, and AI offers the chance to take that data, process it, learn from it, and apply it. Gartner believes that by 2020, 85% of customer interactions will be managed without a human and as earlier as next year “customer digital assistants” will recognize customers by face and voice in a digital environment.

There are already some remarkable AI success stories. In October, Google’s AI subsidiary DeepMind unveiled the latest version of its Go-playing software, AlphaGo Zero. The program is entirely self-taught, playing itself over and over again to learn what is considered the most complex game in the world. After three days of self-play, Zero was strong enough to defeat the version of itself that beat 18-time world champion Lee Se-dol, winning 100 games to nil.

What’s interesting here is that this version was only programmed with the rules of Go, where the previous had more than 100,000 human games in its dataset. This underlines the amazing potential of AI to learn and develop at an amazing rate.

So, expect to see plenty of super smart technology at CES, plenty of amazing innovations, and of course a few things that will come out of left field and leave us all wondering why and how the idea even came up. We’re excited to be there and our team will be blogging throughout the show. Watch this space to see if our predictions are right and to see what wowed us at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show.

Digital Health & the Impact of Last Week’s FDA Announcements

Last week’s FDA decision and announcement to create a new, streamlined regulatory model for software related technologies, promises to disrupt disease diagnosis and treatment and is exciting as it creates tremendous opportunities for patients and the industry.

The pre-cert for the 9 companies included in the model (see below) is akin to a TSA pre-check at the airport for pre-qualified customers. It will create a digital trial master file framework/model that lays out the processes, standards, quality, system validation, audit trails etc. in advance, such that when these new healthcare product players bring a new software product to market for diagnosis or treatment, a regulatory path has been prepared in advance to streamline approval. About time! Software is a key part of the overall digitization of the health world, and the model will accelerate innovation, help to spur new service delivery models, generally help with outcomes such as improved patient care and ultimately help to save lives or prevent health issues in the first place.

The pilot participants represent a wide range of companies and technology in the digital health sector, including some of the biggest brands in the world as well as exciting new startups, who develop and deliver high and low-risk medical device software products, medical product manufacturers and software developers. The pilot participants that were selected are listed below:

The FDA received interest in the program from more than 100 companies. In selecting the participants, the agency considered several factors including company size, demonstrated record of quality and organizational excellence, clinical focus area and the risk profile of the product. The FDA’s selection process identified companies that represent different perspectives and unique approaches to digital health technology development.

There’s a lot more to it than that, but that’s the 30k foot explanation so if you would like any assistance in navigating this new model, and what it means to your business, our Radius Innovation & Development group, a Jabil company, will leverage our 2 decades+ of deep life sciences, healthcare expertise, human factors expertise, UI/UX design, and software design & development capabilities to partner with you (who are or are not part of the FDA “pre-cert”/pre-check pilot) to ensure your designs and development plans meet patients’ needs and are compliant with the new FDA guidelines.

You may have all the software chops in the world needed to design world-class digital solutions, however, if you need assistance on the Healthcare side, that’s where Radius shines. So don’t hesitate to contact us, this is groundbreaking news and will help you get your innovation to market faster.

Please feel free to contact Mike Susi for more assistance, visit us at radiusinnovation.com, or take a look at our video to help you understand how we help our customers realize their innovation and ultimately achieve outcomes that matter!

Finally, if you are interested an exciting role in the innovation and development world, whether you have research/strategy, design, or an engineering background, check out our careers page to see if there is a role for you!

Focus on the Customer Experience!

Go Beyond the Transaction – Understand the Journey.
In this high speed and highly connected world, organizations across the board, from small to global enterprise, are thinking about the Customer Experience (CX) and what happens to it in this digital world. Hardly anyone thinks of the CX as someone else’s problem within a company or isolated to the “Customer Service Department”. Those days are long gone. Today the CX is everyone’s responsibility and must be considered a true “journey” that is affected by every stage of your value chain and contemplated in every phase of product, service, or new business model design and development. We believe it simply can’t be an afterthought or just one person’s/group’s job. Here are some staggering statistics on the importance of the CX to the “C” suite, from a variety of analyst firms and consulting firms:

As for Investments, of the companies Gartner surveyed, 50% of product investments will be redirected to customer experience innovation. And TSC‘s survey found, 60% of organizations see customer service as the top source of competitive differentiation in the next 3 years.

Just as compelling are the benefits of focusing on the customer experience including the entire “customer journey” when dealing with your company:

Understanding your “customer’s journey” in terms of how and when they engage with you, is critical. Every channel they use, every thing they see and experience, the product they touch and how they touch it or interact with it, what kind of service they get before and after a purchase, how easy things are to use, are all incredibly important elements of the journey and of the experience overall.

For example, in the Grocery Retail world, the customer journey insofar as traditional brick and mortar has gone from bad to worse. Most people do all of their shopping online. It has become so frustrating to shop in a traditional grocery store.

For example, today when I arrived at my local grocers, I couldn’t find a shopping cart at the store’s entrance. When I finally found one, the wipes to clean the cart handle bar, were empty. As I moved through the store, the price was missing from 3 of the products I was interested in purchasing. To add insult to injury, one of the products I wanted that was advertised on sale was out of stock. And the most frustrating part of the entire experience was the self check-out kiosk. It drove me bonkers – not recognizing when I put an item in the bag and the clerk coming over to reset me about 5 times.

Really? Wow. This whole experience was more than annoying. It sucked. And look what happens when an experience sucks:

At Radius, we engage with customers to develop new products, services, or business models, by working with them from ideation to commercialization. The CX is front and center. We never lose sight of it for a minute. Since the ideation to commercialization cycle is full of opportunities, challenges, risks, and rewards, we deliberately determine the experience you want to create up front and then ensure it is threaded through the entire development cycle. We do this by assigning a cross-functional team as soon as we start working on a project. This team, includes researchers, strategists, designers, engineers, manufacturing experts (if hardware is involved), supply chain and pricing experts, and regulatory experts (if it’s a regulated industry). This team approach ensures the CX is maintained through every stage. The best road to a successful, end-to-end product or service introduction is paved with constant end-customer touch-points and a deep empathy for their wants and needs.

Sounds basic, I know, but in reality, staying in lockstep with the end customer you are servicing is an iterative process that must be integrated into every phase of your development process—from insights, planning, discovery, design, and development to delivery.

Recently a few big retailers have called on us to talk about what cool new technology they could use in the face of this looming competition from the Amazon/Whole Foods union. We stopped them right in their tracks and said, “let’s think about what your customers are feeling and their journey before we dive into sensors and beacons and near field communication devices.” Technology is nice, but its a means to an end. The end being a superior customer experience that can’t be touched by your competitors.

7 TIPS TO HELP YOU AMPLIFY YOUR CUSTOMER’S VOICE
Here are key tips for making sure your customer’s voice comes through loud and clear:

1. Consumers Hold the Power – Get Connected
Make no mistake: your ultimate customer isn’t the distributor or retailer dangling the promise of shelf space or digital media promotion in front of you. It’s the END CONSUMER who actually uses your product or service. Speak to them, listen to them, and innovate for them and with them. Social media sentiment analysis is one of the most important ways to listen to customers and the abundance of analytics tools will help you listen for both positive and negative sentiments about your latest product launch or offering. Our “Radius Epiphany Analytics” services, allow our customers to see, in real-time, what their customers are saying from across the web. Those sentiments and experiences throughout a “user’s journey” are then factored into the full innovation and product development work we do.

2. Forego the Features Arms Race – Focus on the Ease of Doing Business
Consumer buying practices are no longer driven by who ticks off the most feature check boxes. Avoid the race to produce a product overloaded with features. Instead, figure out which features deliver the most value and a compelling experience for customers. And find out what they like and dislike about the entire process of doing business with you. The experience throughout the entire journey, from signing up, to trying, to buying, to returning, to online or phone support, matter. Features and functions are so yesterday. Simplicity, elegance, and ease of use are more important than one-upping your competitor in a features war.

3. Focus Groups Are So Mad Men – Go with Try & Buy or CABs
Focus groups play better on TV than as a service or product development strategy. Instead, embrace ethnography to observe consumers interacting with products in their actual environments to uncover inarticulated needs and insights for innovation. Follow that with in-home user testing (IHUT), where consumers take home your product, use it for days to weeks and chronicle their experiences. Or “try & buy” if your offering is software based. It’s really the best way to get real-time feedback about how to optimize your product’s value proposition.

If you are a large enterprise selling to large enterprises, there is nothing that beats a customer advisory board (CAB). This consists of 8-15 of your top customers meeting regularly to review your strategy, your product road map, and to even help you trial run some of your new products before they enter general availability. CABs are an incredible thing, but the key is strong facilitation, constant report out, and making customers feel like they are being listened to.

4. Value is KING
Deciding the final product price shouldn’t require a divining rod if you understand what your customers value most. Value can come from the finish, quality, and a differentiating user experience. Value drives cost, so never lose sight of the relationship between the two.

5. Keep your Brand Pristine
Never, ever trade on your brand equity to sell higher volumes at lower prices. It’s a short-term strategy that you’ll pay for at some point. Be a good brand steward and say “no” to all things that could affect your brand in a negative way and don’t deliver on your brand’s promise. The best brand protection strategy is to build products with your customer at the center of everything you do. Everything else emanates from that crucial point of view and will fall into place accordingly.

6. High-Velocity Value Chain
Gone are the days of 12-18 month cycles. Customers/consumers, especially those buying online, want to see new value monthly, if not weekly. Think about your iPhone or Android and how quickly your apps get updated. That’s the bar that has been set. If you don’t continually provide VALUABLE improvements, customers will turn to your competitors. Marketing can’t do this alone, the entire internal value chain from the innovation process all the way to delivery needs to move at the speed of digital. It’s important everyone in the organization is connected digitally and constantly collaborating. Customer support, sales, product marketing, product management, R&D, and anyone that has anything to do with the end delivery of a product needs to be lined up and ready to go.

7. Technical/Customer Support
The only thing I will say here is DO NOT FORGET to implement a strong support strategy. Regardless of the distribution channel you sell through, never abdicate an opportunity to speak to a customer directly and build a relationship with them. Customer support is your way to stay engaged, show customers the love, and develop new ideas for value that you can deliver by constantly monitoring and measuring their satisfaction level. Ask questions during support calls like: “if you could wave a magic wand and change one thing about this product tomorrow, what would it be?” Record their answer, and if you implement their input, remember to thank them. You will earn a customer for life when you implement a change they requested. If your solution is software based, make change/enhancement requests easy, and based on “popular votes.” Give loyalty points, discounts, and offer other incentives to keep the feedback flowing. And remember, everyone in the organization should focus on customer satisfaction. Everyone should be asking the magic wand question.

Remember to deliver support in a manner in which your customers want. Whether it’s a chat line, phone number, web submission, in person availability, or all of the above. Customers/consumers want to operate the way they want to operate in this highly connected world.

In summary, thinking in terms of a buyer’s journey is transactional and tactical. Thinking in terms of an entire customer journey and creating an optimal CX throughout is strategic and will help you attract and retain your customers for life.

If you are planning a new service or product, or you just want to upgrade the existing one, let us empower you with an ideation and journey mapping session at Radius. It’s amazing what you will find out about the many unspoken needs and frustrations customers have. Eye-opening, in fact! For more information contact us here.

Or, if you are interested in an exciting career opportunity in research, strategy, design, prototyping, engineering, manufacturing, or supply chain, please feel free to check out our Radius career pages or that of our parent company, Jabil! You will be amazed at how much fun it is empowering some of the most exciting brands in the world!

Look what some of those Brands are empowering today:

Here’s the full infographic:

Wireless Power – Not a moment too soon!

How many of us have dreamed of a future without cords and outlets? How many have hoped for ubiquitous wireless power that makes connected independence a reality? Or just wished for a work space or home office that doesn’t look like a hairy monster, cluttered by cords and an accident waiting to happen. And the problem is only going to get worse, because according to many sources (see the Infographic below for sources), the rise of “internet connected devices” that require power, will grow to epic proportion. Imagine just the devices in the home office alone competing for the power bar?! Well, a solution has arrived and not a moment too soon!

Bellevue, Washington based Ossia has made the seemingly impossible a very real and viable technology, becoming the first company to develop a safe, efficient and viable wireless power solution. Cota™, Ossia’s patented smart antenna technology, enables wireless charging of smartphones, wearables, remote controls, smoke alarms, electric toothbrushes, AA batteries, and more—without wires, plugs or charging pads. A revolutionary idea that has been coming together for nearly a decade, Ossia uses technology similar to Wi-Fi to deliver wireless power by safely targeting energy to devices at a distance.

To all those who heard about it, Cota seemed too good to be true… but as Jabil quickly learned – it wasn’t! Ossia partnered with Jabil, and put our specialized product design, engineering, and manufacturing expertise to work for Ossia. The CTO had this to say:

“Having all these cutting-edge technologies in one place shows that when it comes to innovation, Jabil leaves nothing on the table. The Blue Sky Center is a fantastic example of how the latest advancements interact and work together to create next-generation products.” – Hatem Zeine, Founder, CTO and Chairman, Ossia.

Now, let’s shift gears for a minute, and imagine this technology working for you! You are an innovator (whether you are part of a large R&D team within a global enterprise or in one of those cool tech start-ups), and you are trying to deliver a solution that needs power; Connected home and Consumer products, Connected Healthcare, like prosthesis or home care devices, Connected Factory floors, etc. but can’t or don’t want wires everywhere?! Can you imagine your differentiation and the possibilities?

We can! And we can even help you take this technology and design and develop those possibilities at Radius, Jabil’s Innovation & Development consultancy.

For more information on this incredible technology, please connect with us here and we will be happy to explore the possibilities. Alternatively, you can check out the full case study on Ossia here.

Enjoy our Empowerment Video, to help you think through how you might empower the world:

Virtual Reality Bringing Industry 4.0 to Life at the World’s Biggest Show on Earth: Hannover Messe

In a column published earlier this year, I wrote that I expected 2017 to be a breakout year for Industry 4.0 or IoM (the “Internet of Manufacturing”), citing several key new technologies as enablers. One of those enabling technologies is VR (Virtual Reality), and at the Hannover Messe fair this week, along with our partner Microsoft, Radius Innovation & Development teamed with our sister company Nypro Healthcare, to demonstrate how we are using VR throughout the entire product lifecycle of a Medical Device, from idea through to completed product. We’ve been excited to share our progress of this initiative, and have sprinkled information out there since the day we received our four new Microsoft Hololens headsets. Now we are ready to share our story and our use of Microsoft’s incredible collaboration tools during product design and product development.

But first some context on Hannover Messe, for those that aren’t as familiar with it.

Hannover Messe put on by Deutsche Messe AG, is the world’s largest industrial fair, set to attract 250,000 people with more than 6,500 exhibitors this year, in Hannover, Germany. All key technologies and core areas of industry – from research and development, industrial automation, IT, industrial supply, production technologies and services to energy and mobility technologies – can be found in Hannover. The theme this year, is all about ‘Integrating Industry’. Some of you may recall, that Hannover was one of the first places to debate the principles of Industry 4.0 and it continues to be a hub for conversation and innovation related to industrial manufacturing techniques, bringing science, politics, technology and business together in one place. To say this show is exciting is an understatement! New partnerships are formed, exciting advancements in technology are shaped and announced, and provocative conversations can be heard everywhere!

Now back to our presence at the show:

The world we live in is becoming ‘augmented’ and the way we interact with it is changing rapidly. The days of simply using, or even programming, tools to complete a task are over and we are now in an age where we fully interact with our tools to achieve our objectives. This is true not just in terms of VR, but also in the way we work with automation, robotics and artificial intelligence. All topics that will feature heavily during this week in Hannover.

This is Jabil’s second year at Hannover with technology partner Microsoft. Last year we presented our use of Microsoft Azure Predictive Analytics and the positive impacts the technology had in two of our major plants from an efficiency and customer experience standpoint.

This year, Radius Innovation & Development and Nypro Healthcare — all part of the Jabil family, teamed together on a project using Microsoft HoloLens. The interactive demo shown at the Microsoft booth shows how IoT-enabled product design is already improving the healthcare industry by giving providers a better way to design infusion devices, which doctors rely on to administer doses of vital fluids like nutrients and medications to patients. Radius and Nypro have been in the Infusion business for over 20 years, and have helped large healthcare companies innovate these pumps to ensure the patient experience is continually optimised. So, when we saw an opportunity to improve, collaborate and accelerate the design and development of these important medical devices, using design software on Microsoft Surface Studio, the visualisation capabilities of Microsoft HoloLens, and 3D Printing capabilities all together, we pounced.

Holograms and 3D capabilities allow product manipulation and accelerate group collaboration and design iteration/refinement prior to a product’s introduction on the factory floor, which means we can get it exactly right before production. In other words, we can truly “design for manufacturability” and do it across disparate development teams both on the design front, and the production front. And anyone who knows manufacturing knows that this is the single greatest area of error and risk, i.e. going from prototype to production. When Radius and Nypro get tighter during this process, it creates differentiation for us and value for our customers. And for this, we are grateful to our partner Microsoft for all the collaboration tools they provide us: Office365 to SharePoint, to more recently, Hololens.

This project is a great example of the benefits delivered by the augmented age and how humans and machines working collaboratively can achieve amazing results. Design is one element that has been impacted by the augmented age, but there are much more. As we develop tools that leverage the unique skills and experience of our team and the latest technological advances we can achieve faster and better design, greater manufacturing efficiency and agility and even better supply chain management and visibility.

At Radius Innovation & Development and Nypro Healthcare, we find ourselves in the privileged position of having tens of thousands of highly skilled and experienced people, who are embracing the use of the very latest technology to deliver their insight and knowledge (faster) to a growing number of brands and in turn to their demanding and ever more connected consumers. We help some of the biggest and newest brands REALIZE INNOVATION on a daily basis, and it’s the most gratifying work you can imagine.

Visit us in the Microsoft booth (Hall 7) of the Hannover Fair from April 24th to 28th and chat to the team about our vision of the augmented age, rapid innovation and manufacturing agility.

Robots Inspire Next Generation at Blue Sky

The robotics industry uniquely spans the generations from DIY hobbyists to serious multinational players and appeals to everyone from the smallest child playing with a robot beetle to the more mature executive exploring robotic logistics in complex supply chains. This was all reflected in an inspirational day at Blue Sky on April 12th when Jabil and Radius Innovation & Development hosted more than one thousand guests for the 8th Annual Silicon Valley Robot Block Party.

The robotics industry is fascinating and seems poised to become very important with many factors creating a tipping point. Enabling technologies such as AI (Artificial Intelligence), sensors and IoT (Internet of Things) are all coming together with an increased interest in automation to create the perfect storm for the robotics industry. It is indeed an exciting time to be involved in robotics and this was reflected in the outstanding attendance at this year’s event and the real buzz that came with it.

Robots span the entire gamut from DIY to complex cobots (collaborative robots) for factory use, and everything in between. This spectrum was on display from the exhibitors, who brought every robot imaginable to the event, much to the excitement of the hundreds of children in attendance, all looking to get their hands on the latest robotic technology. Interaction is what the Robot Block Party is all about and it was wonderful to see the next generation of engineers, innovators and leaders being so inspired by the tools available to them. There is something special about watching a toddler climb out of their stroller to play with a robotic bug and seeing them control that robotic bug intuitively with a smartphone. These will be the people who in the future imagine and innovate things we have not yet even considered.

As well as the wonderful exhibits on show, there was a full schedule of presentations, opening with Chris Anderson of 3D Robotics. Chris, formerly the editor-in-chief of Wired Magazine and a founder of DIY Drones, talked about their work in autonomous vehicle development at the DIY level, explaining how simplicity and a ‘have a go’ approach can work in shaking up an industry. Chris sees robotics in a similar place to drones ten years ago and is excited about where it might go. Chris was immediately followed by Jabil’s VP of Global Automation and 3D Printing, John Dulchinos who proffered his vision of the future of robotics. As John explained, robotics and associated automation have much to offer electronics manufacturing and supply chain, and are rapidly finding their way into places we previously didn’t consider them to be applicable. Robotics, together with IoM (Internet of Manufacturing), AR (Augmented Reality) and AI, offer progress along the road to the kind of manufacturing agility that modern brands and consumers expect from their technology and fulfillment partners.

After further presentations came the chance for some startups to pitch in front of a panel of judges made up of Jabil’s John Dulchinos, Radius Innovation & Development’s Heather Andrus, Vantage Robotics’ Tobin Fisher,  and HAX’s Cyril Ebersweiler. The winner was Semio (www.semio.ai), a company that is developing a platform that allows robots and humans to collaborate and communicate on an emotional, as well as logical level; a technology that the judges saw as important and scalable.

The number of inspirational technologies on show was indeed impressive, but what impressed and inspired most was the excitement on the faces of the children as they shared the Blue Sky vision of innovation and technology all at the speed of digital.

Enjoy this video of the day:

Accelerated Innovation REALIZED

More than 40% of executives that participated in a PwC study agreed that innovation is a “competitive necessity” for their organization. 60% of CEOs interviewed by McKinsey believe that half of their income will come from technology-enabled innovations. Another study from the Harvard Business School estimates that 95% of consumer products fail.

With that kind of expectation, and the fierce nature of competition coming at companies from new disruptors, as well as consumer expectations around personalization and instant gratification being at an all-time high, innovation must be fast and right the first time. For this reason, Jabil and Radius are working together to slash the time taken to get an idea from the back of your napkin to front door of the consumer.

The dividends of accelerated innovation are clear: first to market advantage, quicker ramp to volume, lower development cost and, perhaps most importantly, shorter time to business value.

Using techniques like rapid prototyping and digital manufacturing, combined with an intelligent digital supply chain, as well as new technologies like 3D printing and VR modelling, Jabil and Radius are able to substantially reduce the design cycle, whilst enabling multiple prototype versions to evaluate and adjust a design.

Traditional processes can regularly take more than 35 weeks and incur costs and delays as tools are built and iterations are manufactured and tested. What’s more, these methods are serial with the manufacturing process starting with the design process. Supply chain planning normally follows, adding additional time.

Accelerated innovation can deliver the same, if not better, results in less than eight weeks. This is done by shortening the idea to prototype stage to around five weeks and using digital manufacturing techniques to get to market in less than three weeks, whilst making the development of an intelligent digital supply chain a parallel operation.

This method does not cut corners or reduce the ability of the innovator to make multiple prototypes and iterations.

Thus, it’s true innovation without compromise, all at the speed of digital. Here’s the case study we worked on with one of our customers, Superfeet, who not only felt we sped up the innovation process significantly but helped him get to market in general!

Have a look at the Infographic below, and then feel free to check out the video as well. I think you will be amazed at how quickly a company can realize business value today when an underlying digital thread is involved. And frankly that’s exactly why Jabil wants to become the most technological advanced manufacturing solutions company in the world… to help customers get to the differentiation they need and ultimately get to the business value they want, in record time!

Smart Packaging REALIZED

What’s the big idea?
That’s the question we always ask our customers, be they well-known brands or emerging brands, at the outset of each ideation workshop we host, be it for a new product or new business model they want to launch (or both). And the good news is – the brands almost always have big ideas! There is no shortage of big ideas! The problem is, as in everything in life and business, execution.

In fact, according to Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen, each year more than 30,000 new consumer products are launched and 80% of them fail. Alas, it’s not that high in every category. A study by the Product Development and Management Association (PDMA) found failure rates varied among industries, and we saw failures in health care down around 35% and 49% for consumer packaged goods. But still, there is room for improvement, and there’s little doubt – launching a new product is pretty hard and, in many cases, slower than generally desired.

Reasons for failure vary dramatically by industry and by product. One simple reason that gets in everyone’s way can be chalked up to routine. We, humans, are all creatures of habit. The consultant Jack Trout has found in consumer studies, that American families, on average, repeatedly buy the same 150 items month after month, which constitutes as much as 85% of their household needs. But, the reasons for failure can also be much more complicated than routine. Here are other reasons product introductions fail:

  1. Market research is skewed by the wrong questions or rendered useless by failure to view results objectively.
  2. The product is revolutionary, but there’s no market for it.
  3. The product defines a new category and requires substantial consumer education—but doesn’t get it.
  4. The consumer can’t quickly grasp the benefits of and how to use a product.
  5. The product is priced too high (to warrant the purchase) or too low (to be perceived as valuable).
  6. … and the list goes on.

So why even try? According to a Nielsen study called “The Why Behind the Try,” 63% of those polled said they like when manufacturers offer new products. And, in our business, where we build value-added packaging for the world’s biggest brands, we find that innovation is constantly right at the top of the corporate priority list. So it’s no wonder. But, what’s the trick to coming out on the success side of a product launch? We believe starting with the right partners with the right formula for innovation is the secret recipe.

Innovation. REALIZED.

Radius Innovation & Development and sister company Jabil Packaging Solutions offer an integrated “insight to commercialization” model that digitally links the ideation, research, strategy development, design, quick turn prototyping with world-class, global manufacturing. Using our combined know-how, data and scale-up ability we help customers transform traditional packaging models into new user fulfillment systems, giving our customers the power to move with speed and thrive in a rapidly changing landscape, delivering new and accretive business models for the benefit of shareholders/stakeholders.

In market segments including Food & Beverage, Consumer Packaged Goods, Consumer Health and Industrial markets, innovation is table stakes. The competition is doing it… and if brands expect to stay on top, they need to do it too. The “Learn, Select, Transport, Use” buying model is shifting from the grocery store shelf to the online web page and from the brick and mortar store to the mobile phone. Aligning to dynamic trends and market shifts – and truly understanding how and why those shifts are impacting consumer buying choices and purchasing patterns — is as important as throwing millions at advertising. Some (like us) might argue – it’s infinitely more important. After all, no amount of money will hide a fatal design flaw or a usability issue – especially given the power of social media to share the bad news.

This Radius & Jabil Packaging Solutions is unique in its ability to offer world-class innovation and product development consulting as part of its end-to-end packaging solution. Design right from inception ensures not only diminished cost and market speed, it dramatically increases the prospect of market acceptance and ROIC.

What’s the big idea? Yours! But, only when it’s executed FAST and right from the start.

Inspiring Women at Blue Sky

When Jabil decided to sponsor and host WITI’s ‘Women in Green Energy and Automotive’ summit at our Blue Sky Center last month, it would have been hard to imagine the level of enthusiasm and inspiration the group would feel coming out of there! It was tremendous, to say the least.

From the keynote, presented by Susan Brennan, Chief Operations Officer for Bloom Energy, through the round tables with guests from the entire industry, to the final dialogue I moderated with MaryAnn Wright, Group Vice President Technology and Industry Relations of Johnson Controls, and Lisa Bahash, SVP & GM of Jabil’s Transportation & Auto group, every speaker seemed to provide optimism, inspiration, and practical advice that would serve anyone wanting to succeed in technology.

Susan Seilheimer Brennan, who has 25 years of experience in global manufacturing and operations for the automotive and energy industries, opened the day sharing her story and her experience. She told the audience what led her to take on strategic leadership roles in Fortune 100 companies Nissan Motor and Ford Motor, where she is one of the few women to have held an executive position at a leading Japanese corporation, before moving to Silicon Valley to work in a major startup. Her current role is at Bloom Energy, Silicon Valley’s highly funded startup with more than $1b in investment funding.

Susan talked about how her first promotion at 29 was disguised by management who gave her the title line manager, even though the role was actually that of plant manager, and how that title was eventually given.

Shortly after this Susan moved to Ford, rising to become their first pregnant plant manager, throwing up almost every day for nine months. By the time her second child was on the way, Susan was director of multiple sites and on her way to becoming Director of Global Manufacturing Strategy.

But Susan, never happy when things seem to be running smoothly, left Ford to join Nissan in Tennessee to build and launch their first electric vehicle. At 51, she shook things up again by moving to Silicon Valley to join Bloom.

The lessons that Susan learned along the way and shared with the group offer real insight into the challenges faced by a woman who has clearly succeeded in a male dominated environment. Many of those lessons were underlined by others throughout the day.

  1. Take care of yourself. This may seem simple, but it’s wise advice. It’s too easy to put work first and ignore health or family issues.
  2. Build and maintain a network. Surrounding yourself with the right mentors, advisers, and friends is essential, not just other women. Many of the leaders on stage talked about the women and the men that mentored, inspired, and supported them.
  3. Be a life long learner. Technology is fast moving and the energy and automotive sectors are moving faster than ever. Try to remember that everyday is a school day. Susan suggests having a detailed plan to keep updated and informed.

Susan delivered her keynote with humor and with great insight into a career that has spanned a period where a great deal of change has occurred in the industries in which she has so successfully worked.

Susan was followed on stage by five women who have two things in common, extraordinary success in their chosen fields and a desire to support others following in their footsteps. Sarah Lovell is Vice President Commercial Asset Management at Longroad Energy, Anna Paderna, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, is Head of Human Resources at Electronics Research Lab, Elizabeth I. Mayo, Ph.D., is Head of Department, Laboratory Services – DNV GL – Energy Advisory, Reema Poddar is Executive VP, Head of Business Operation at AdFender, and Jennifer Brace is User Interface Research Supervisor at Ford’s Innovation Center.

Here are a few highlights from what was a lively and interactive discussion between panel and audience.

  • Be a mentor not a martyr: don’t assume there’s a problem when perhaps there isn’t and don’t assume everything is because you’re a woman; there might be other reasons.
  • Avoid ‘Imposter Syndrome’: that counterproductive feeling that you shouldn’t be in your role and that eventually you’ll get found out. All of us have an element of this, which can manifest when we emphasize what we don’t know rather than what we do know. If you’re in a role, it’s because you deserve to be.
  • Don’t undermine others or even allow them to be undermined: if someone says they got the job because they are a woman, or for some other reason, politely point out why they are awesome at what they do and why they got the job on merit.
  • Don’t instill self-doubt into people: it’s like the bad best friend that is always criticizing you! Don’t doubt yourself, look at why you got to where you are.
  • Ask for help when you need it: you’ll be surprised how helpful people are! Look for the givers not the takers.
  • Deal with issues early: don’t let things fester and always make it about the work, not other stuff.
  • Smile: “Say and do everything with a smile on your face and no malice in your heart.” Sage advice.

Finally, I closed the day with a panel discussion featuring MaryAnn Wright and Lisa J. Bahash, who as well as sharing their experiences as women in technology and manufacturing, discussed the rapid and exciting changes taking place in the automotive industry.

Following the debate, all three took time out of the networking session to speak to reporter, Philip Stoten, Scoop Communications, about their careers, the industry, and the day at Blue Sky. Here are the highlights of those talks:

At the end of a day like this, it is impossible not to leave inspired but also acutely aware of the work that is still needed to encourage young women, and young men for that matter, to enter a STEM career.

All the women on stage had wonderful stories to tell, all had succeeded in challenging areas, and all were happy to be part of a network that encourages and nurtures talent. If that isn’t inspiring, I don’t know what is!