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Technical Innovations on Demand
We create valuable, market-worthy innovations for high-tech businesses.
If you want to enhance—or regain—the innovative edge upon which your high-tech business was founded, we can help. We know how to conceive the most valuable kinds of innovations.
Map-makers, not back-seat drivers
Fovationz corporation can map the terrain ahead of you. We can identify valuable paths through that terrain. These are the paths that will take your technology to places your customers value.
There are lots of consultants who act like a navigator in a car saying “turn left here” and “step on the gas here,” but such directions aren't useful. Why? Because those consultants don't have a map! Furthermore, they can't create a map for you.
Better than brainstorming
There are plenty of consultants eager to facilitate brainstorming sessions with your engineers. Unfortunately the resulting ideas are often impractical and seldom of much value.
In contrast, the Fovationz service uses the skills of someone who can see into the future and create a map and describe the best routes.
How can we create valued technical innovations?
The CEO of Fovationz, Inc., Richard Fobes, is the author of the internationally known book titled The Creative Problem Solver's Toolbox. It's the definitive how-to book on creative problem solving.
Some of your customers and competitors in South Korea, Singapore, China, Japan, Indonesia, and India may be reading the foreign translations and overseas English editions of this book. Yet the author is here in the United States and available to provide you with technical innovations on demand.
Richard Fobes learned the skills of creative problem solving outside of classrooms, beginning in childhood. He has taught Creative Problem Solving Skills© workshops and seminars in Oregon, Texas, Michigan, and Washington DC, and he has been interviewed on radio stations around the United States. For four years he wrote a Creative Problem Solving Tips column for the American Creativity Association's Focus publication.
Someone who can create technical innovations on demand might sound too good to be true. Yet you really do have access to what can be called today's version of Leonardo da Vinci or Nikola Tesla.
The inventor of VoteFair ranking
To experience Richard Fobes' unique and powerful combination of creativity and technical expertise, please visit the www.VoteFair.org website. It implements VoteFair ranking, which Fobes invented.
VoteFair ranking is a calculation method that doesn't just reveal the most popular choice in a voting situation. It also reveals the second-most popular choice, the third-most popular choice, and so on down to the least popular choice.
The VoteFair ranking tool instantly integrates all the preferences of all the participants in a decision-making situation. The results reveal the overall ranking of budget categories, design alternatives, meeting times, or whatever else you care to rank.
Please try the VoteFair ranking tool. (It's free and anonymous.) Besides demonstrating VoteFair ranking, the entire website—including the Perl scripts that generate the interactive web pages—were created by Richard Fobes. It demonstrates the amazing combination of Fobes' creativity and technical know-how.
Market research is useful, but not for the best innovations
Does your business rely on customers to supply product-improvement ideas? If so, you've noticed that customers typically suggest ideas related to aesthetics. Sometimes they suggest minor usability improvements. Or they suggest copycat features, saying “your product should do what I've seen your competitor's product do.” Those ideas won't put you ahead of your competitors.
Remember that consumers of your products don't understand your technologies. (If they did, your business would be in trouble.) Without that understanding your customers can't imagine—and therefore can't suggest—breakthrough improvements to your products.
As a clear reminder of the consumer-focus trap, consider the mistake made by General Motors' Ron Zarrella. He heavily relied on consumer research to design the often-ridiculed Pontiac Aztek.
Yes, of course you should gather information from your customers. Occasionally they do suggest very useful product improvements. But don't simply pass the suggestions on to your engineering department and expect your engineers to create the best designs.
The best designs arise in the mind of someone who simultaneously understands your technology and your customers and has a usefully creative imagination.
(By the way, when you do gather customer feedback, skip the focus groups. Instead, favor one-on-one interviews with customers and observing people using your product or service. Market surveys, if they are well-designed, are also valuable sources of information.)
Do you depend on engineers for your inventions?
What is your source of technical inventions? Engineers? If so, we need to talk.
Most engineers are not trained to think creatively. Instead they are taught if-then kind of thinking. They are taught to recognize which kinds of circuit designs, which software strategies, and which mathematical equations to use in which situations.
To appreciate the lack of imagination in most engineers, consider what would happen if you gave the same project requirements to several typical engineers. There wouldn't be much variation in what each of them “designs.”
In contrast, consider people with a degree in physics. Often they are able to accomplish what others have thought to be “impossible.” That's because physics professors give a powerfully creative message to upper-level physics students. They say “here is what we've been able to figure out so far, and your job will be to figure out yet more.” Richard Fobes got this message clearly while getting his degree in physics. (And he was already a “beyond-the-box” thinker starting at a young age.)
Bypass the management challenge
Have you been lucky enough to find, and wise enough to hire, one or two creative design engineers? Alas, very few of your managers (if any) know how to manage those creative design engineers. The result is a waste of your precious resource.
You can bypass this limitation by outsourcing innovation.
Fobes isn't available as an employee because he juggles multiple creative projects, but he's willing to put them aside while working on yours. And in contrast to the stereotypic creative personality (wild and unpredictable), Fobes is quite professional.
As an important component of our service, you and your engineers get the credit for creating the innovation. Our involvement is behind-the-scenes.
Market-worthy innovation versus market-challenging innovation
The technical innovations created by Fovationz, Inc. won't bust your marketing department's budget. That's because we don't advocate pie-in-the-sky products that your customers find difficult to appreciate.
Ironically the most profitable technical innovations are often features that are easy to explain: faster, smaller, more useful, more convenient, more reliable, better specifications, and faster development time. These are what your customers want. And these kinds of innovations are much less expensive to market because they are easy to describe.
If you want us to create a hot new product—within your field of expertise—that attracts lots of customers and media-attention awards, we can probably do that too. But you won't owe us any royalties. The specific dollar fees for all our services are established in advance.
Fees are based on the value of what we create
If for some reason we come up with nothing more than a minor feature improvement, you won't be charged for lots of thinking time. That's because our fees are based on the value of what we create, not the time it takes to create it.
Of course a major innovation such as a new product involves a higher fee. But before we work on any major innovations for you, let's start with technical challenges that involve a new feature or capability.
The technical challenges that excite us the most are your biggest challenges. The ones your engineers have given up on, or claim to be “impossible.” Those are the ones that will give you the best return on your investment.
Still have reservations? You can take advantage of our risk-free trial. Here's how it works. If you and your engineer decide that the innovative ideas and insights given to that engineer are not likely to produce a 500 percent return on investment (within two years of implementation and after deducting engineering expenses), then you owe us nothing. Absolutely zero dollars! Our goal really is to help you regain the innovative edge upon which your business was founded.
Creativity + Technical Expertise = Breakthrough Innovations
Creating valuable innovations requires more than just creativity. Technical expertise is essential. For best results it should reside in the same person who provides the creativity.
Leonardo da Vinci and Nikola Tesla revolutionized the technology of their times not just because they were creative. They also thoroughly understood technology.
Leonardo da Vinci clearly understood machinery, water, and air, so he was able to invent a military tank, a submarine, and flying machines — several hundred years ago! His designs lacked practicality because gasoline and steam engines didn't exist and machines of his time were made of wood instead of metal.
Nikola Tesla invented the most important elements of radio technology (including tuned circuits)—which Marconi commercialized—and he invented the AC motor and many types of electric lights and transformers. He's also the guy who chose 60 cycles per second as the frequency for AC power.
Leonardo and Tesla weren't just creative, they based their creative thinking on a clear understanding of technology.
We deeply understand technology
At Fovationz, Inc. we understand technology. Our technical-innovation expert, Richard Fobes, understands it deeply. Electronics was his hobby as a teenager, and he earned a degree in Physics (from the University of California at Davis).
Has Fobes combined his creativity with technology? Oh yeah! In 1974, before the first 8-bit microprocessor became available, Fobes was designing and beginning to build his own microcomputer (long before IBM popularized the term “personal computer”).
Since those early days he has worked as a television-studio electronics technician, a technical writer specializing in documenting especially complex technology, and a software developer for numerous innovative (and challenging) software projects.
How deep is his understanding of technology? For Etec Systems (now part of Applied Materials) he created a comprehensive troubleshooting tree for troubleshooting especially challenging mask-making errors. It's 76 pages in printed form, yet he created it with only a couple of hours of assistance by engineers. It was part of a successful project that expert engineers thought was “impossible.”
You can become another Steve Jobs or modern-day Edison!
If you aspire to be as successful as Steve Jobs of Apple or the famous Thomas Edison, here is your opportunity. Of course Steve Jobs and Thomas Edison are/were entrepreneurs with expertise in promotion and marketing.
Yet the key to their success was teaming up with bright and creative researchers and engineers. In Jobs' case he teamed up with computer wizard Steve Wozniak who, by himself, created the first Apple computer.
What about Edison? Many, or even most, of his inventions were created by his creative workers. One of those workers was Nikola Tesla, who worked for Edison when Tesla first arrived in the U.S. In fairness to Edison, the (mechanical) phonograph was presumably invented by Edison. However, his electrical inventions involved heavy collaboration with his many creative workers.
Thomas Edison was such a strong promoter that many people mistakenly think Edison invented the electric light bulb. He didn't. What he did was to pay his workers—many of whom would now be called engineers—to test tens of thousands of materials for use as filaments in light bulbs. Eventually he and his workers tried carbonized bamboo, and this filament material burned for many hours—instead of just a few minutes or a couple of hours.
Notice that, for Edison, creativity involved a lot of hard work. That's why he said “inventing is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration.”
After inventing a long-lasting light bulb, Edison used his excellent promotion skills to successfully sell lots of expensive light bulbs—and the electricity to power them. He was protected from competitors by the patent on the kind of light bulb he and his workers invented.
The ultimate combination: creativity, technical understanding, and your leadership skills
Now you have the opportunity to team up with a consultant who is highly creative and deeply understands electronic, digital, and software technology (as well as other areas listed on the Innovations and Testimonials pages).
With superb innovation skills, why didn't Fobes choose to become an individual inventor? The U.S. patent system doesn't meet the needs of individual inventors. Before learning this he did two patent searches and determined that two of his computer-related inventions were (and may still be) patentable.
Increased value = increased profits
Can you imagine the increased profits that will flow from new and improved products? We're available to help your engineers create breakthrough innovations in any technical area you, or they, choose. If you aren't sure which of your products could benefit from further innovation, we can help you with that too.
Our technical-innovation expert, Richard Fobes, has the “knowledge of an engineer” and the creativity of an inventor. It's the ideal combination for producing market-worthy technical innovations on demand.
If you're curious about the many innovations Richard Fobes has already created, see the list on the Innovations page.
Call us today!
If you want Richard Fobes (Fobes rhymes with robes) consulting with your engineers to create market-worthy technical innovations on demand, call us at: 503.799.5739
© 2006 Fovationz, Inc., Beaverton, Oregon, 503.799.5739