Sunday, July 26, 2009

Virtural Support Organization ....

The Greensboro Chamber and the NC Biotechnology Center announced the formation of a new center that will accelerate market entry and economic development of International Bioscience Companies coming to the Piedmont Triad region and NC.

Peggy Low WS Chamber; John Merrill, Exec. Director Gateway University Research Park; Doug Edgeton, President of the Piedmont Triad Research Park and VP, WFUHS; Russ Read, Executive Director of the National Center for Biotechnology Workforce Training; Gwyn Riddick, Regional Director, North Carolina Biotechnology Center; Rob Clapper, President Greensboro Chamber of Commerce; Leroy Stokes, VP, Guilford Technical Community College; Davis Montgomery, Manager, Business Relations, Duke Energy signed a Memorandum of Support (MOS) July 27, 2009.

Instead of building a physical facility, the partners will use existing space within their own facilities to house international companies as they enter the market. The Greensboro Chamber will be managing partner for the Center.

The Center will ultimately provide assistance with business organization, intellectual property protection, regulatory counseling, market channel development, and connections to capital for international bioscience companies seeking to enter the Piedmont Triad. The center will be a turn-key location for doing business when visiting the region and will be a central point of contact to establish connections between companies and governments, research universities and parks, business incubators, and licensing venues.

This blog gives me an opportunity to discuss some additional facets of Metaphors for the 21st Century (M21C) introduced in previous blogs. In the March 29, 2008 blog, Innovation …. Customer I introduced the ISCORPIO Metaphor; at that time emphasis was on the Innovation and Customer Facets of the Metaphor.

Thinking about the Piedmont Triad International Bioscience Business Center (PTIBBC) in light of the ISCORPIO concept I would like to focus on the "Organization", "Resources" and "Outer CORE" petals. The concept of a virtual organization without "Brick and Mortar" resources is innovative and best utilizes the resources from various partners. I would say that this is an excellent example of "Thinking outside the Box". It will allow the clients that are exploring the Piedmont Triad Area to get first hand feels of the variety of resources available to them. One that I mention is the North Carolina "Wet Lab" Facilities. It is my understanding that the web lab located at the Piedmont Research Park has now graduated their first class.

The "Outer CORE" petal addresses the Common Operational Resource Environment (CORE). This relates to the environment within which a Business operates and includes government, education, economic development groups, language, financial, culture, communication and transportation infrastructure. The FedEx International Hub that is opening soon is a prime example of the Transportation Infrastructure.

North Carolina is doing good things by beefing up the Outer CORE with the NC Research Network discussed in NC Research Parks .... New Backbone blog and such things as the Piedmont Triad International Bioscience Business Center discussed in this blog and NC Biotechnology Network.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Entrepreneur Hats ...

Critical functional areas of a successful business are depicted in the diagram. In the context of
Metaphors for the 21st Century (M21C) these are Marketplace, Production/Service, Development, Research and Business. This was introduced in the blog Seeing the Invisible.

Taking this chart and redrawing it to emphasize the critical hats for the Innovative Engine we have five critical team hats as shown in second diagram.
Five of these hats are defined at M21C Described.

The Innovation Engine is depicted here with the Team Hats focused as follows:
  • The Customer Hat is focused on the needs of the Marketplace.
  • The Technologist Hat is responsible for producing wares & services of highest quality, lowest cost, timely delivery and customer attractiveness.
  • The Engineer Hat designs and develops prototype wares & services that meet the next wave of marketplace needs.
  • The Scientist Hat explores and provides proof of principles, works out the physics and mathematics of devices that can provide options to Engineers in designing or enhancing the products for production and marketplace.
  • The Business Hat looks at the big picture and coordinates the system to make a profit. This hat is also the core Entrepreneur thrust of the team, other hats are expected to be Entrepreneurial in thinking.

These were introduced in the January 12, 2009 blog “NC Research Parks .... New Backbone”.
For several years, I have felt we need some way to introduce the concept of Pre-college Innovative Engine (PIE) to students of the next generation workforce. It seems to me if they started thinking in the context of M21C, some would get a head start on making use of thinking that will help to give our country a competitive edge in the 21st century economy.

Over the years, I have been looking at how the schools and various groups are approaching this important task. From my vantage point none of them effectively give the insights that are built into M21C thinking of the five team innovative engine hats.

In my volunteer work as the IEEE Central NC Section Education Activities Champion, I have attempted to plant the seeds of the importance of thinking of the various functions of the five team hat. Since we are promoting Engineering as a career option in the outreach into our K-12 schools, I have found using the diagrams shown above have been helpful in discussing the difference of Engineering and Engineering Technology Majors as described in In fact I have been using these diagrams since the early 1990s when I was teaching at NCA&T to help the students get an understanding of the different career options; it has been a robust model for discussing this with them.

In the April 18, 2008 blog a diagram of creative work from “Tough Choices or Tough Times” report was introduced. I have found the Creative Work Diamond in diagram parallels the concepts of Research, Development/Design, Marketing and Sales of the M21C innovative team. The Global Supply Chain Management is not depicted in the above M21C diagrams but is discussed in “Focus on bestChoices Functions”.

The following diagram includes a Logistics hat to connect Innovative Engines and represent the Global Supply Chain. This effectively gives a way of thinking about the complete product flow from materials to end product.

The next visual is an attempt to introduce the

concepts discussed above with an activity for students that create hats representing the various team functions. The idea is to form teams of Innovative Engines and Logistics for simulating the Global Supply Chain and then provide challenges for the students to create their own business and industries.

Hopefully this will get students to thinking outside their normal boxes toward an innovative economy, which it seems we are in need. The diagrams introduced in this blog do not cover all important functional areas; these are expanded on in other metaphors in

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Repurposing continued ...Earth Stone Products

3/26/2011 Post script updated: has nice video on "Made In The Triad: Earth Stone Products"

In my February 11 Blog, I discussed Re-purposing Buildings, at the end I mentioned Earth Stone Products. I had an opportunity to visit their facility and get a first hand view of how they were taking waste land field materials and re-purposing them to elegant materials for use inside and outside.

This facility gives me an opportunity to discuss one of the M21C metaphors that views the 3 dimensional concept of producing products.

This cartoon illustrates the concept of a three dimensional product example. In the "Y" dimension there are several different components that can be modified or combined in the "X" dimension into various products for the "Z" dimension. For Earth Stone Products the "Y" is waste land field materials, specifically discarded granite counter tops. The "Z" is the products that are produced at their facility in Greensboro, NC. Within the Earth Stone facility there are equipment that process the discarded materials into a wide variety of pattern shapes as shown on their website.

The photo essay shows their facility and equipment which is performing the functions of "X" by using presses and dies that take the various shapes from discarded materials and producing various pattern shapes depending on the die used.

Looking at the photo essay the top row shows the entrance sign, shipping and receiving area and interior staging area. Row 2 shows the operator placing a material discard onto the press and the resulting stamped curved product. On the third row is the conveyer belt sending the cut products into a machine that uses steel shot to perform the abrasive processing, the last image shows the metal shot that the machine uses. From this photo essay you have a real live example of the "X" that was illustrated above in the cartoon.

It was interesting to also see how they were re-purposing liquid containers as containers for shipment of the processed products; the top of the container and structural members were removed to allow open access to the container. It is my understanding that this is a safer way to ship the heavy products instead of shrink wrap.

Another aspect of the "X" processing is the Intelligent Property where the process has world wide patent protection (pending).

Hopefully this will add insight into the concepts of Metaphors for 21st Century, new ways of thinking inside and outside the box.

Thanks to Rosemarie Williams, Owner Earth Stone Products and John Tesh for the excellent tour and agreement to use their company as an example of how M21C "X,Y,Z" metaphor applies.