Innovation or Not – Amazon One

Amazon One Biometric Payments

I came across another payments-related invention that Amazon is releasing into the wild. Yes, it is based around biometrics, but before you start getting all freaked out, it doesn’t use an implanted RFID chip or even facial recognition. No, Amazon One as it is referred to, connects a scan of your palm to your phone number and your credit card.

Once you’ve set this up at one of the Amazon Go stores currently piloting the technology, you’re all ready to go. From that point forward you can enter the Amazon Go store by hovering your palm above the reader and then use your palm on the way out to pay (and receive your receipt by text message I assume).

While you can connect your palm to your Amazon account so you can track purchase history, you don’t have to. Your palm scan is encrypted and stored in the cloud for future use.

Still not sure how it works?

Check out this explainer video:

The tagline for the service gives you an idea of the third party applications that Amazon hopes to pursue with this technology:

“Enter, identify and pay with Amazon One.”

So, what do you think? Innovation or not?

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Innovation or Not – Amazon Alexa Pay for Gas

Amazon Alexa Pay for Gas

You can now use the Alexa app on your phone or Alexa-enabled device in your car for an easy way to pay for gas at Exxon and Mobil stations nationwide.

Here’s how it works in a nutshell:

  1. Drive your vehicle up to the pump at your Exxon or Mobil station.
  2. Use the Alexa-enabled device in your car or Alexa app on your phone and say “Alexa, pay for gas.”
  3. Follow Alexa’s prompts to activate the pump.
  4. Fuel up and drive away. Payment is handled automatically.

I’m not sure whether they’re using Near Field Communications (NFC) or cellular data to communicate, but basically what’s happening is that in the same way a card swipe or tap to pay reader on the pump receives payment method information and validates payment, the pumps at select Exxon Mobil stations can now receive Amazon Pay default payment information, validate it and unlock the pump in the same way.

It’s a nice convenience and a clever way of trying to increase the adoption of Amazon Pay, but is it an innovation?

What do you think?

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How to Make Creativity an Everyday Habit Inside Your Organization

An Exclusive Interview with Scott D. Anthony

Scott D AnthonyI had the opportunity recently to interview fellow author Scott D. Anthony of consulting firm Innosight to talk with him about his new book Eat, Sleep, Innovate: How to Make Creativity an Everyday Habit Inside Your Organization, which is his eighth book with his co-authors Paul Cobban, Natalie Painchaud, and Andy Parker. Congratulations Scott!

1. Given all the innovation books already written (including yours), what did you see missing to make you write another one?

This book traces back to a conversation with a client about five years ago. We were doing a workshop with the top team of a global logistics company, and talking about all of our usual stuff about the need to create organizational space for disruptive innovation and whatnot. The CEO stopped the discussion and said basically, “I’ve read all of your books and we’ve done what you would tell us to do. I have a small team focused on disruption. They are doing great. But what should I do with the 28,000 other people in my organization?” We didn’t have a great answer to the question! In 2017-2018, we did a project for DBS Bank here in Singapore that forced us to push the thinking on the topic, so decided that we would take what we learned, augment it with additional research and case studies, and create a book.

2. Why do behaviors command such a central role in innovation?

Innovation doesn’t happen magically. It happens from people doing things. Much of the innovation literature focuses on the end output, on the strategy, on the supporting organizational structures and processes, but of course all of that only works if people follow certain day-to-day behaviors. One simple way we remind people of this is to return to the basic definition we have of innovation: something different that creates value. You can’t do something different that creates value if you don’t do something!

3. What behaviors are most important to innovation?

There has been good research and writing on this from a range of different scholars and thought leaders. Our synthesis of this work and our own field work suggests that five behaviors are the most critical. It starts with curiosity. You have to question the status quo and ask “What if?” to begin the innovation journey. Next is being customer obsessed. Ultimately, for innovation to take root it must solve a real problem that matters to customers, so great innovators take the time to find problems worth solving, what we call a job to be done. The third behavior is collaboration. One of the most time tested findings in the innovation literature is that magic happens at intersections, when different mindsets and skills collide together. Great innovators recognize that none of us is as smart as all of us. The fourth is being adept in ambiguity. Innovation success comes from trial-and-error experimentation, and requires being willing to fumble, take false steps, and sometimes fail. Finally, innovation requires being empowered. To be a broken record, you can’t do something different that creates value unless you do something!

How to Make Creativity an Everyday Habit Inside Your Organization4. What are BEANs and why are they important?

A BEAN is a behavior enabler, artifact and nudge. They are important because they get at a hidden barrier to innovation inside organizations: institutional inertia. Let me explain this by describing a puzzle. Over the last 15 years, I’ve watched my four children grow up in parallel to working with large organizations all around thew world. I didn’t have to teach my children to follow behaviors that drive innovation success. Like all humans, they are naturally curious, collaborative, and love to experiment. Yet organizations, filled with people that once followed these behaviors naturally, struggle with innovation. Why? Established organizations focus on doing what they are currently doing better. Innovation is doing something different. Ingrained habits constrain innovation energy. A BEAN draws on the habit change literature to break this inertia and encourage innovation.

5. What makes a successful BEAN?

There’s a basic answer and a more complex answer. The basic answer is that a BEAN engages the two decision making frames that Daniel Kahneman identified in his book Thinking, Fast and Slow: behavior enablers trigger the rational, logical part of our brain where we carefully consider decisions (System 2) and artifacts and nudges trigger the portion of our brain where we make quick, subconscious decisions (System 1). The more complex answer is that a successful BEAN has six criteria. A good BEAN is simple, making it easy to do regularly, practical, lowering barriers to use, reinforced, making it stronger, organizationally consistent, making it natural to do, unusual, making it easy to remember, and trackable, allowing it to be further refined and improved. Yes, those words form the acronym SPROUT. So, a good BEAN needs to SPROUT.

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Virtual Keynotes and Virtual Workshops Now Available

Virtual Keynotes and Virtual Workshops Now Available

The coronavirus (COVID-19) has inflicted untold pain and disruption on individuals, families, businesses and economies all around the world.

But, now that we all are obtaining a clearer understanding of what it means to live and work amongst the reality of COVID-19, people are going back to work (even if still remotely) and companies are turning their attention increasingly back to the future.

Now is the time for event producers and innovation leaders to restart their content pipelines to inspire and empower audiences and employees to stoke their innovation bonfires, plan their transformation journeys, or chart their course for change.

People are more ready than ever to engage with virtual content, and you can save on travel expenses at the same time. Whether we’re speaking about inspirational keynotes or empowering workshops that create new capabilities in the audience or bring teams together to co-innovate using design thinking and other tools, frameworks, and methods.

I would be more than happy to create and deliver a customized keynote or workshop to any audience anywhere in the world, on any of these broad topics:

  • Change
  • Innovation
  • Design Thinking
  • Digital Transformation

Or if want to do your own workshops inside your organization but need a little help transitioning these to the virtual world, I would be happy to assist you with this as well.

For more information, please see my speaker page or contact me.

Keep innovating!

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Companies Need to Double Down on Dual-Factor Authentication

Companies Need to Double Down on Dual-Factor Authentication

Unfortunately there will always be bad actors in this world, people who don’t restrain themselves from trying to steal from others or to harm them. Because of this we need to accept the fact that hacking is here to stay and enhanced security measures will be required to protect ourselves from theft in our digital lives that can impact our real lives.

Some of my recent research in the hospitality industry identified that fraud is a large and increasing problem for hotels, resulting in unfilled inventory, credit card chargebacks, and loyalty point thefts from customers.

Personally, my Starbucks card account has been hacked – twice.

According to

“The percentage of cyber attacks targeting loyalty and rewards accounts nearly tripled from 2016 to 2017, with 48% of businesses being hit by ATO (Account Takeover) attacks. This has cost companies more than $2.3 billion worldwide.”

The most recent hack was foiled by a 24 hour cooldown period, preventing (or discouraging) thieves from being able to move about $25.00 off my Starbucks card onto theirs. But as I was setting up dual-factor authentication on my account and changing my password to keep the thieves from getting back into my account I noticed that the system was not set up well for a simple nuclear family – let alone a complicated family. Users are only able to enter a single phone number for the dual-factor authentication code to be sent to. I assume this is to make the system simple but it then makes it so that my wife can’t access the account.

Dual-factor authentication is going to become a mandatory requirement for logins to financially-linked accounts (including any site where you store your credit card details) and companies need to design their systems to accommodate spouses and potentially even children.

Companies should consider incorporating biometric methods of identity verification as the primary or secondary method of authentication as well, not just for security reasons but for ease of use/customer experience reasons too.

So, protect your customers folks, but remember how people live their lives as you’re designing your systems to keep them (and their money) safe.

Keep innovating!

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Re-imagining Drive Thru Restaurants – Innovation or Not

Food Locker Pickup Pizza Hut

Coronavirus (COVID-19) has changed our world with the subtlety of a sledgehammer and now billions of people around the world are under ‘stay at home’ orders. In many communities restaurants and bars are closed or only allowed to deliver meals or make them available as ‘to-go’ or takeaway orders.

But, even with the plethora of food delivery services in the United States and elsewhere, people still prefer drive-thru to food delivery when they choose not to dine in. But what are you to do when your restaurant isn’t configured with a drive-thru window?

One answer would be to re-imagine the drive thru and takeaway by learning from the automats of the 1930’s and 1940’s (the last one in New York City closed in 1991) and Amazon Lockers.

Food Locker Automat 1936

You can create lockers for warm food and lockers for cold food. Before the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic began spreading across the globe some companies were experimenting with food lockers combined with mobile ordering at ballparks:

Food Lockers with Mobile Ordering at Ballparks

And, Pizza Hut was experimenting in Hollywood with Pizza Lockers to eliminate interactions with employees (picture top of article).

One could imagine that as Coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdowns stretch from weeks from months, and the virus lingers for the next 12-24 months, and fears of individuals linger potentially even longer, restaurants may want to re-imagine how they configure and leverage their physical space.

Is it worth redeploying an external wall of the restaurant to optimize to go or takeaway orders?

The idea isn’t that difficult for an individual restaurant to adopt as there are companies manufacturing food lockers already, and they can be combined with PIN’s to unlock them that can be delivered by email or mobile platforms and reset after each use.

During a virus outbreak (or on an ongoing basis) sanitizing wipes could be provided or if the lockers are on the street, then one employee could be staffed for delivering food from the kitchen to the lockers and then sanitizing the lockers on the outside of the restaurant.

Have you seen this type of solution growing in your part of the world?

Innovation or not?

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New Idea from South Korea to Reduce Demand for Coronavirus Protective Gear

New Idea from South Korea to Reduce Demand for Coronavirus Protective Gear

Now that the United States and other countries squandered the two month advance notice they received of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak in China, we should be all be accelerating our efforts to learn from each other.

From South Korea, the country that gave us the idea of Drive-Thru Coronavirus testing, comes this new idea for protecting both healthcare workers and patients, while also reducing the amount of personal protective equipment (PPE) that healthcare professionals (doctors, nurses, etc.) will need as we struggle to cope with this crisis and severe supply shortages:

Please share this idea far and wide around the globe and post other great ideas that people can learn from below in the comments.

Together we can beat this!

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Open Source Respirator and Low Cost Ventilator Efforts to Fight Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Open Source Respirator Project

Mechanical Ventilator

NOTE: Nothing on this page is intended as medical advice. My only goal is to make information available so that people can get involved with co-innovation efforts and share resources that can be leveraged in crisis situations.

Calling all doctors, nurses, designers, engineers and designers…

Join one of the amazing Open Source Ventilator Projects to contribute your passion, creativity, time and expertise to help develop low-cost ventilators to fight the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Here are some ways of getting involved and some inspiration and some cheaper ventilator options:

  1. 13,000+ member Open Source Coronavirus Supplies group on Slack
  2. OPEN CALL closes 24 March at 9:00 GMT: Rapidly Manufactured Ventilated Systems
  3. March 19-20 University College London (UCL) Design & Refine Sprint Low Cost Ventilators — Register Now
  4. Ultimate Medical Hackathon
  5. Open Source COVID19 Medical Supplies group on Facebook
  6. DIY Pandemic Ventilator (built during Avian Flu crisis and shared on Instructables)
  7. Story on OneBreath winning PopSci Innovation Award in 2010
  8. OneBreath company web site ($4,000 low cost respirator vs. $35,000 traditional solution)
  9. $500 pandemic ventilator from Canada
  10. Open Respirator Project on Github

Here is a video showing a DIY ventilator solution:

And here is a video from vacuum manufacturer Gtech in the United Kingdom (UK) showing a prototype they are working on to be entirely powered by the hospital oxygen supply in as simple a way as possible so they can hopefully meet the UK government’s call to make 30,000 ventilators in two weeks:

Just added another video highlighting an improvised design experiment the University of Minnesota is working on with some design partners:

The design team has made all of their designs shown in the University of Minnesota video – open source and available by clicking this REDDIT link

Here is an open source ventilator project out of Germany – The CORESPONSE – COvid19 RESPirator (Open Source):

Cost is about 75 Euros per unit and all of the details of this 3D printed open source project are available by clicking here.

Here is an article (click here) and a video detailing how to turn a snorkeling mask into a non-invasive ventilator:

AgVa Healthcare has produced a low cost ventilator starting at under $700 (according to the video) that leverages an app on the user’s smartphone to control its functions. Another great example of Indian ingenuity that was originally submitted as a comment on this article:

Below is a video from the Lemelson Foundation from 2015 that shares the story of how Matt Callaghan came to start OneBreath Ventilators to create lower cost ventilators for developing countries and the rest of the world after H1N1 Swine Flu never became a problem in the USA thanks to President Obama’s administration proactive steps to protect our country. (Learn more about the design process by reading this Stanford Byers Center for BioDesign article)

OneBreath Ventilator

UPDATE: Just found this video showing how to use one ventilator to save FOUR people – video from the United States’ Center for Disease Control (CDC) – all the details health professionals might need:

CAUTION, this from a doctor in Italy about risks of co-ventilating to be kept in mind as you group people to co-ventilate in a crisis situation:

“This is unfortunately not as good of an idea as it seems. In trauma and shootings, it’s one thing because lung compliance is unlikely to change quickly. However, in ARDS (and COVID19), we expect to have dramatic changes in lung compliance. When one patients lung compliance changes, there is a significant risk of underventilating the patient with lowest compliance and overventilating patients with highest compliance – both potentially deadly. I worry that instead of saving one person, you create a situation where you increase the odds of losing both (or all 4) patients“

BUT, according to Alexander Clarke you can solve this problem with flow restrictors…

Another article detailing previous research and considerations –

Vesper Prisma Health

VESper™ is a unique ventilator expansion device that allows a single ventilator to support up to four patients under emergency use authorization by the FDA during times of acute equipment shortages such as the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Hospitals can apply to receive the free source code and printing specifications for the device, produced using 3D printing technology, the device is developed with material already in use for medical devices and produced at minimal cost:

  • designed to work with ISO standard respiratory connections;
  • allows for appropriate filtering of bacteria and viruses in the ventilator tubing;
  • does not impact the care of other patients connected to the same machine.

SPECIAL BONUS for anyone facing a shortage of protective face shields.

See this article From Design to Mass 3D printing of Medical Shields in Three Days, below is a video highlighting the end result solution from this article:

OR looking for information on DIY hand sanitizer, masks, and protective clothing:

  1. DIY Masks (including comparison of materials)
  2. World Health Organization (WHO) Information on Protective Clothing
  3. World Health Organization (WHO) Information on DIY Hand Sanitizer
  4. WIRED – How to Make Your Own Hand Sanitizer

Here is a video showing how to make your own reusable elastomeric respirator (click here for instrutions poster):

And here is a video discussing whether people should wear face masks and how people can use DIY face masks without impacting availability of N95 and surgical masks to healthcare workers:

Here is a video showing how to make face masks to help healthcare workers:

AND here is a link to a PDF of the pattern to make the masks –

Additional DIY mask videos can be found here –

Here is how to make a DIY Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) smock out of a garbage bag thanks to the people at Hefty:


Doctors and Nurses in Spain and other countries are already having to do this.

And, here is a picture of an ingenious idea of using a headband and buttons to save the ears of healthcare workers from chafing of wearing a mask 13-14 hours a day. Thanks Natasha Smith!

Coronavirus mask and headband solution

And, here is an interesting article about a surgical and N95 mask design that uses salt to help kill viruses like Coronavirus (COVID-19) on masks to improve their effectiveness in protecting the wearer against getting sick

Coronavirus Salt Masks

If you know of other efforts working on creating low cost, quick to produce ventilators, please post as a comment!

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Just Walk Out Groceries — by Amazon

Just Walk Out Groceries -- by Amazon

Amazon Go is going big – grocery store big. Today it was revealed that Amazon has opened up a new Amazon Go that is four times (4x) bigger than previous Amazon Go stores. What’s new?

Well, this new Amazon Go store has produce, packaged meats, an expanded frozen food section, sundries like paper towels, and more!

This is a big step forward for Amazon and will be stretching its technology to the breaking point as Amazon looks not only to explore what’s possible, but to prove its technology to the point where its collection of technology could become another revenue pillar that it can build by licensing its technology to other convenience store and grocery store chains.

The Amazon Go approach, should it expand, also puts even more of the 3 million grocery store jobs in the United States at risk. This 3 million jobs number is already declining because of self checkout and Walmart’s robotic inventory systems, among other pressures.

Is the Amazon Go approach a good thing?

Do we really all want to live in a world where packages show up at the door or food can be obtained in a grocery store without talking to anyone?

Americans are becoming increasingly lonely and isolated. I could include dozens of supporting links to back this up, but here is a good one:

The grocery store has become one of the last remaining places where someone will actually speak to you, but self checkout and technologies like Amazon Go look to stamp out this human interaction too!

But even though there are still humans in the grocery store, the level of human interaction seems to be fading there too as younger, non-unionized workers replace older unionized workers in grocery stores. Has this been your experience?

What’s next the barbershop and the hairdresser?

And can our society survive any more isolation?

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Join Me Online at the Hacking HR Innovation Conference – March 3, 2020

Join Me Online at the Hacking HR Innovation Conference - Building a People-Centric HR

Join me from 10:15-11:00 AM EST on March 3, 2020 to learn about “Building a People-Centric HR” from a panel of talented and knowledgeable professionals including myself.

The Hacking HR Innovation Conference is a virtual event that is FREE to the public and takes place over multiple days.

Day 1 (March 3) will be dedicated to “HUMANS”. This day’s content includes: diversity/equity/inclusion/belonging, employee experience, innovation, agility, design thinking, culture, leadership, among other topics.

List of Speakers —
See the Agenda —

Click here to Register for FREE

I’ll be on a panel that will dive into a variety of people-centric Human Resources (HR) topics including:

  • Identifying Moments that Matter in an employee’s HR experience
  • Building a people-centered on-boarding process that guides people into the organization for keeps
  • People-centric Performance Management
  • Humane responses to an employee personal crisis and/ or termination

Click here to Register for FREE

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