Tuesday, December 7, 2010

What Grows an Economy? …. PIE? ….. X-Factor?

The “What Grows an Economy?”  article in the November 22, 2010 Forbes issue  by Rich Karlgaard has some very interesting information which I find gives validity to the concept of planting PIE Teams.

He points out that “Since World War II the U.S. economy has averaged 3.3% GDP growth year. …. Right now the U.S. is in a “growth recession,” which we can define as statistical growth but at a subpar rate.”

It further points out “Carl Schramm, who heads America’s top entrepreneurial think tank, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, has a stunningly good insight into what causes an economy to grow. Growth, he says, correlates directly with startups that get big. …. He is quoted in an interview with Rich Karlgaard “The single most important contributor to a nation’s economic growth is the number of startups that grow to a billion dollars in revenue within 20 years.” He indicates the U.S. needs to spawn 75-125 billion-dollar babies every year in order to feed the country’s post WWII rate of growth.

This triggered in my mind the importance of planting Entrepreneur Productive Innovative Engines (PIE) Teams in our schools and jobless networks. In my previous blogs I discuss the concept of PIE Teams in:

     • Create Job Opportunities with PIE
     • Wanted Economy With Motor

     • Quality White Glove

Mr. Schramm states the “X factor” is startups that get big.

I suggest if we want to solve the problem of Jobs and a slow economy, we need policies that encourage PIE Teams to experiment with creating new products and services that have the potential for growing into big companies i.e., X factor effect.

The concept of Entrepreneur Productive Innovative Engine (PIE) Teams is that they are planted in Schools. Jobless Networks and within Industry as potential spin offs that will get those participating into a frame of mind of creating products and services that will result in new jobs.  In Industry these Teams may be called "Skunk Works."

A Team consists of the following Hats:
  - Business (Entrepreneur)
  - Customer (Marketplace
  - Technologist (Production/Service)
  - Engineer (Design & Development)
  - Scientist (Research)
  - Logistics (Global Supply Chain

These are discussed in detail in blogs at http://www.bcswonline.com/blog/index.html.

Hopefully these thoughts will be useful in getting the pipe-line primed for the X-factor companies that will be needed in the next 20 years.  Other thoughts regarding this concept are welcomed.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Design Funnel ... Fish-Hook-Fry Metaphors ....

In my research and study using the latest versions of Microsoft Expression Studio and Visual Studio, I have been impressed with how they have treated the design and development area. In the book “Dynamic Prototyping with Sketch Flow in Expression Blend” by Chris Bernard & Sara Summers QUE c 2010 there is a nice chart shown here that does a good job of presenting the gap between design and development. It fits well with other thinking as discussed in blogs at http://www.bcswonline.com/blog/index.html.

In the http://bcswonline.blogspot.com/2008/03/innovation-customer.html blog the ISCORPIO Metaphor was introduced with emphasis on Innovation and Customer. Also in that blog a diagram of “Thinking Phase Views” ( shown below) was described that shows degrees of freedom of innovation beginning wide with outward thinking, then progressing to critical and then inward as the solution options become narrowly defined. This metaphor of the “Fish-Hook-Fry” was an early metaphor thinking that illustrates this narrowing of the degrees of freedom in the innovation development process.

A PDF file showing the two charts with notes is available at http://bcswonline.com/blog/DesignFunnelFishHookFryNotes.pdf. Comparing the two charts in the mid area where “Miracles Occur Here!!!” and “Critical – Understand” relate to similar areas in the Design Funnel. To the left of Critical “Outward” would correspond to “Ideation (Sketching)” and to the right of “Inward” would correspond to “Usability (Prototyping)”. Beneficial insights can be gleamed from reflection on both charts.

In the http://bcswonline.blogspot.com/2009/10/i-stem.html  blog, I proposed we should add Imagination and Innovation to STEM and call it “I-STEM”. This was expanded on in http://bcswonline.blogspot.com/2009/12/cte-i-stem-cookie.html and blog http://bcswonline.blogspot.com/2010/06/i-in-i-stem.html  references

Triad Design Leadershop website which documents the concept of Create – Change as conducted by five heavy hitters in the Creative Design area.

• David Rose – Designer of Tactile and Environmentally Aware Devices

• Bill Grant – Designer of Business and brand Experiences "Design is more than Decorating"

• Claudia Kotchka – Change Agent and Design Evangelist

• Jason Manley – Interactive Media and Game Designer

• David Adjaye & Phil Freelon – Innovative Architects of Public Sector Spaces

It appears these illustrations speak quite well to the concept of “I” in my blogs on “I-STEM” and “CTE-I-STEM Cookie”.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Quality - White Glove ...

Quality – White Glove ….

This blog is a companion to http://bcswonline.blogspot.com/2010/08/create-job-opportunities-with-pie.html. It introduced the idea of Productive Innovative Engine (PIE) Team Players as represented by fingers, each of the fingers and arm is focused on the creation of a product or service.

This blog brings the concept of Quality to bear on the PIE Team.

The following definition of Quality came to me in the 1990s when I was teaching at NCA&T.

“Quality comes from Ownership with Integrity and appropriate Resources in a healthy Paradigm – lhb”

Note, that an “O” and an “I” make a “Q”. At first I started with Ownership, Integrity and appropriate Resources, but after thinking about it, realized that you could have Ownership, Integrity and appropriate Resources, but not necessarily have Quality. When you have an environment that is at cross purposes and discourage things working compatible together, that is not a healthy paradigm and Quality suffers.

This concept of Quality has been robust and has been accepted by many as the essential ingredients of Quality. It does not supersede other Quality concepts but complements them.

While reading “Skunk Works” by Ben Rich & Leo Janos, and thinking about the recent BP Oil Spill Disaster and the Space Shuttle Disaster, it triggered me to include Quality as an integral part of the PIE Team. Quality has always been a part of PIE Team thinking but is not quite as evident as needed.

I propose in this blog to add a second hand with a white glove that brings to bear quality described above. In Military Inspections the white glove inspection was a way of determining if the barracks was clean.

When you think of the white glove, which also has five fingers they stress the importance of various types of quality that is normal in industry. It also places emphasis on having appropriate resources such as financial, skills, tools, processes, facilities, best practices, etc. Creating a culture for a healthy paradigm is a primary function of the Quality hand. The Quality Hand must be vested with competence and authority to over ride poor decisions made by the PIE Team. In other words Safety and Quality must not be pre-empted by schedule or profit drivers.

ISO 9000 standards are responsibility of PIE Team and White Glove Team.

Maybe the concept of PIE Team Finger metaphor and white glove working together will result in a Creative/Innovative Quality Product/Service. It is worth thinking about.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Wanted: Economy with a motor ...

In today's News & Record there is a headline "Wanted: Economy with a motor".  In the graphic below it shows this headline along with two views of PIE Team and the workforce by skill level.

As was discussed in the previous blog "Create-Job-Opportunities-with-PIE" the concept of planting Productive Innovative Engines (PIE) in the schools and jobless networks was presented.  It also discusses the Hats vs Fingers Metaphor.

In the report "Tough Choices or Tough Times" power point slide 8 shows a graphic "Profile of Successful U. S. Firms in the Future."  A modified version is shown at the left with relative salaries for various levels of the workforce; it also has the creative work emphasized.  It depicts a diamond area of creative work which is very similar to the PIE Team as discussed in several of my blogs

A modified version shows the profile of work types also with relative salaries.  In addition Creative Work, this chart shows Operations Work, Outsourced Work and routine work that has been Automated.
In the Worker Displacement Chart, it depicts various types of worker displacement by:
  • Automation
  • Outsourcing
  • Inadequate Resources
  • Failed Company

In addition it shows that there are worker jobs that were created by Automation.

PIE Teams are a potential answer to the headline "Wanted: Economy with a motor."  In other words PIE Teams and other concepts are discussed in my blogs which present new ways of thinking inside and outside of the box.

By planting PIE Teams in Schools and Jobless Networks they:
  • Perform Creative Work
  • Create Products/Services
  • Create Operations Jobs
  • Automate Bad Jobs
  • Outsource non-competitive Jobs
  • Provide a Competitive Edge.
I welcome feedback to the concepts and suggestions discussed in this blog and other blogs.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Create Job Opportunities with PIE ...

We hear Jobs, Jobs, Jobs; we need jobs. This blog brings to the table a view that we must have a proactive approach to creation of jobs.

Drawing on Metaphors from M21C thinking, the concept of planting PIE Teams is a proactive way to get people thinking about the primary functions that create Things and therefore Jobs. The graphic expresses this with emphasis on hands and fingers. A new metaphor for the six hat team is presented using the fingers of a hand and the arm.
Earlier thinking had been to plant PIE in Schools but later thinking focuses on also planting PIE in the Jobless Networking groups. Rather than calling it Pre-college Innovative Engines (PIE), maybe we should call it Productive Innovative Engines (PIE) which would apply to Schools as well as Jobless Networking groups. Both would benefit from PIE Team thinking.

In the previous metaphor of a PIE Team, a room was used with the Entrepreneur (Business Hat) in the center and four corners representing the Marketplace (Customer Hat), Production/Service (Technologist Hat), Design/Development (Engineer Hat) and Research (Scientist Hat). The hall represents Global Supply Chain (Logistics Hat) which connects rooms together with channel for flow of supplies and goods between rooms. The Entrepreneur (Business Hat) manages the resources of all hats toward a productive, efficient and profitable enterprise.

Recent thinking has evolved another metaphor which uses the fingers of the hand and arm to denote another view of the PIE Team. In the hand graphic the PIE Team is represented by the fingers as follows:

• Thumb – Business (Entrepreneur)

• Index – Customer (Marketplace)

• Middle – Technologist (Production/Service)

• Ring – Engineer (Design & Development)

• Little – Scientist (Research)

• Arm – Logistics (Global Supply Chain) – Moves Stuff

Bringing all five fingers together is the PIE Team. This metaphor gives flexibility to show the Business – Entrepreneur (Thumb) interacting with the other fingers either individually as shown by the thumb and index holding a product that is of interest to the Marketplace. In other cases it may be focusing on the Production/Service, Design & Development and Research. In this metaphor the arm is the Logistics which moves stuff in the global supply chain. One thing to note, the focus shifts dependent on the product development cycle.

In one of the videos of Partners for the 21st century education there is a young person that says "I am learning my fingers are the gateway to my future."  She is probably thinking of a musical instrument but the words also apply to the PIE Team Fingers Metaphor.

Recently when I was sharing this PIE Team concept with Dr. Margaret Arbuckle - Guilford Education Alliance and Mr. George Clopton - Polo Ralph Lauren, George said it sounds like the “Skunk Works”. I had not thought about it like that but it does fit. I suspect they had PIE Teams in the Skunk works”.

Wikipedia cites “Skunk Works is an official alias for Lockheed Martin’s Advanced Development Programs (ADP), formerly called Lockheed Advanced Development Projects. Skunk Works is responsible for a number of famous aircraft designs, including the U-2, the SR-71 Blackbird, the F-117 Nighthawk, and the F-22 Raptor. Its largest current project is the F-35 Lightning II, which will be used in the air forces of several countries around the world. Production is expected to last for up to four decades.

The designation "skunk works", or "skunkworks", is widely used in business, engineering, and technical fields to describe a group within an organization given a high degree of autonomy and unhampered by bureaucracy, tasked with working on advanced or secret projects”

More information is available at “Skunk works”.

In the graphic of all hands out represents PIE Teams working together to create Jobs in an enterprise environment.

I summit this to the table which is thinking about how to best create jobs. It may not create the jobs immediately but would provide a strong position for future product development that requires people with appropriate skills and entrepreneurial thinking from being part of a PIE Team.

Post Script 12/7/2010
Continued thinking of the PIE Team hand metaphor today expands the palm to include the following:
  • Products, Processes and Service   (Triggered by "What Grows an Economy" blog)
  • Appropriate Resources
  • Skill Sets & I-STEM
Appropriate Resources and Skill Sets & I-STEM are mashed together to get the appropriate Products, Processes or Service solutions.

Adding the palm strengthens the PIE Team Metaphor.  Feedback is welcome.

Monday, June 21, 2010

People ...

On June 21, 2010 I attended the Marion County Economic Outlook Luncheon in Marion SC.

Quotes from the program:

“The Beneteau USA Marion workforce has accomplished a truly exceptional feat in the past six months; a complete plant transformation to result in the only facility in the world with everything under one roof, from a CNC driven woodshop linked to a single-line, continuous flow, lean manufacturing machine. This major achievement proves that our team of creators of floating dreams is truly world class.”

Wayne Burdick, President, Beneteau USA

“I believe that success begins and ends with the people on your team. Some people believe that the quality of the processes you put in place in your business determines whether or not you will be successful. I agree that effective processes are very important; but, it takes great people to establish great processes. Great people put great processes in place; then, they execute and continuously improve those processes every day. I believe our workforce at ArvinMeritor Mullins – our team – wants to succeed. I am grateful for them every day.”

Steve Mount, Site Manager, ArvinMeritor

“Marion County has a State-wide reputation for having a skilled workforce. This reputation is earned. In less than six months, the skill, commitment, and learning curve of our workforce in Mullins has allowed us to go from installing our first machine to producing 10 million diapers monthly.”

Colin Brown, III, President, Supremes, LLC

The emphasis on people - workforce by the speakers gives me a chance to share one of the Metaphors for 21st Century (M21C). In the ISCORPIO diagram the southwest petal identifies people as one of the facets that are essential to a healthy paradigm. The various facets are identified at http://www.bcswonline.com/new/m21c_rotatingbanner_described/4C.htm.  Note People align with the Northeast Spirit facet. People and Spirit combine to raise everything to its highest potential. These along with the concept of “Quality” as defined below are the intangibles that create a healthy paradigm.

“Quality comes from Ownership and Integrity with appropriate Resources in a healthy Paradigm – lhb”

The emphasis on great People aligns with the concept of Ownership and Integrity. Mr. Mount discussed the findings of Ford Motor Company research which found it was not the processes but the commitment of the people to execute the processes that set them apart from others. This research strengthens the concept of Quality above. He went on to point out that “winning team” is Dedicated, Resourceful and Effective.

I was impressed with the positive vibes from this Marion County Progress session and the new companies emphasizing the quality of the Marion County Workforce. Even though Marion County is the leader in un-employment in SC, there is a Quality Workforce available; potential companies take note!
I hope this blog confirms the importance of people and other concepts discussed in my blogs and website.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Industry Mentor Teams …

In my previous blog Connecting Students to the Future Economy the idea of planting Pre-college Innovative Engines (PIE) in our schools was discussed. In this entry I present an approach which complements that and the Engineering Connections program that has been successfully conducted in Guilford County Schools (GCS).

The graphic A on the left is a chart defining Engineering Connections as partnerships of Guilford Education Alliance and IEEE Central NC Section.

Graphic B below shows the GCS Regions with colored dots showing schools where the Engineering Connections were conducted.

In this blog I propose that Industry Mentor Teams be formed to function in Regional Areas of GCS. What is an Industry Mentor Team? Thinking based on my blogs and the BCSW website would form the basis for Teams. As in the PIE Team, it would consist of experts from Industry, Community Colleges and Universities which have strong knowledge and experience in the following areas:

• Entrepreneurship (Business Hat)

• Marketplace (Customer Hat)

• Manufacturing/Service (Technologist Hat)

• Design/Development (Engineer Hat)

• Research (Scientist Hat)

• Logistics & Distribution (Logistics Hat)

• Financial (Resources Hat)

• Human Relations (People Hat)

These and other Hats are defined in bestChoices.

The idea is that these Hats would make up the Industry Mentor Team.  A primary Mentor would reside on the GCS School Campus full time and draw upon the Mentor Resource Team Hats as defined above. The primary Mentor would partner with the GCS Career Technical Education (CTE) Coordinator Team and would be a Resource and means for “Connecting Students to the Future Economy”,  by bringing “Real Life” understanding to the school campus. They also would be a means to plant and mentor PIE Teams discussed in previous blog Connecting Students to the Future Economy. They would also provide the coordination of Industry Resources for the Engineering Connections and Other Connections programs. In addition they would be an on campus Resource for Teachers. This Industry Mentor Team could be the vehicle for Teacher Exchange Programs and Student Job Shadowing and Intern Programs.

When I was working with the Bell System on Military Projects, there was an exchange program where the military personnel were integrated into the workforce of Western Electric. Military personnel were working alongside Western Electric employees; you didn’t see any difference in civilians and military since they were all working on the same systems. This became an excellent way to handover the operations of the systems that were being designed and developed by Western Electric for Military operations.

When I was teaching at NCA&T during the 1990s, I reflected on that and concluded there needs to be more Industry and Academic Exchange programs.

There are a number of excellent Learning Opportunities that various organizations have developed for giving students experience and in fields that are of interest to them and the organization. http://www.tryengineering.org/  has a section on Pre University Student Opportunities http://www.tryengineering.org/listings.php?&type=preuniversity&showall=1  which includes FIRST Robotics.  Links to FIRST Robotics from http://www.tryengineering.org/ is available here.

Other programs which I have familiarity with that assist in getting students connected to the future economy are:

Future City

o http://www.futurecity.org/

o http://www.srs.gov/general/outreach/edoutrch/handbook.pdf

Construction Challenge

o http://www.constructionchallenge.org/

o http://greatsolutions.blogspot.com/2007/11/international-construction-challenge.html

o http://www.aem.org/Foundation/ConstructionChallenge/SponsorshipOpportunities/

Destination Imagination

o http://idodi.org/

Reality Store
o http://www.myfox8.com/news/whatsrightwithourschools/wghp-wrwos-reality-store-100107,0,2001958.story

o http://www.southeastguilford.org/misc/tempPDF/091222_RealityStoreBooklet.pdf


o http://www.opeat.org/

The Industry Mentor Team could act as a focal point for selection of specific Learning Opportunities also.

At this juncture it appears that this would be an excellent way to Connect Students and Teachers to the Future Economy as well as connect Industry with the Education System. This close on campus integration would be a means to decrease the gap that exists between Education and the Real World.

I welcome dialog on this concept for contributing to Excellence in our Public Schools.
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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Connecting Students to the Future Economy …

Action Greensboro, Guilford Education Alliance and Guilford County Schools convened the Excelling in Public Education Task Force Teams on June 10, 2010.
The Task Force Study group’s objective is to help identify specific program initiatives in coordination with Guilford County Schools and the larger community in five identified areas. These areas are:

• Literacy and School Readiness
• Connecting Students to the Future Economy
• Parent University
• School and Leadership Development
• Character and Education

The graphic above shows the Task Force Study Group members actively involved during the first meeting at Weaver Foundation in Greensboro, NC.

The Study Teams and Focus Chart identifies the various Study Groups and associated Team members and Focus.

This blog will address thoughts of the author for the “Connecting Students to the Future Economy” with emphasis on Pre-college Innovative Engines (PIE) in our Schools based on concepts presented in my various blogs www.bcswonline.com/blog.

For this discussion I will concentrate on the “six hat team” based on the diagram to the right. The five Innovative Engine hats are as follows:

• Business (Entrepreneur) Hat
• Customer (Marketplace) Hat
• Technology (Manufacturing/Service) Hat
• Engineer (Development) Hat
• Scientist (Research) Hat

These Innovative Engines are connected by the sixth Logistics (Supply Chain) Hat. This six hat team should be planted in our schools to start the thinking and product development that is needed to connect to the future economy. This would bring application to the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) academic subjects by giving the student team challenges to think like a business enterprise in creating products and solutions to real life problems. Our future economy desperately needs this type of thinking and capability to build a workforce that is ready for “anything” for the 21st century.

When the IEEE Central NC Section conducted an “Engineers in the Class Room” session in one of the local fifth grade AIG classes, the concept of six hat teams was introduced to give the students a feel of how a product was created and marketed. It gave relevance to the product research, development, production, distribution and marketing process. These fifth graders really got it! The Entrepreneur Hats blog discusses this.

More information on this concept is discussed in various entries of my blog and at http://www.bcswonline.com/.

A very successful initative to bring real life Engineering understanding has been conducted in the Guilford County Schools Middle Colleges and some High Schools. The Lunch & Learn and Classroom Connections format have been well received.  Although the content was primarily Engineering, some of the Middle Colleges are thinking about expanding it for other career topics.
This program is documented at:

A number of resources are available at http://ec.guilfordeducationalliance.org/resources.htm.  A couple related to the 20th century's greatest Achievements and the 21st century's greatest Challenges are applicable to thinking about connecting students to the future economy.  A regional 2010 summit was held in Raleigh; more information is available at http://summit-grand-challenges.pratt.duke.edu/raleigh-summit.

Hopefully the above experience and thinking will be helpful to the Task Force Study Group "Connecting Students to Future Economy."

I welcome suggestions on ways we can implement ideas presented in this blog.

Friday, June 4, 2010

The “I” in “I-STEM” …

Today, I attended the Piedmont Triad Partnership/WIRED Capstone Event in Greensboro, NC. During the “New Design Focus in Triad: Design Consortium and Architectural Design Hub” presentation I was struck by what is happening in this area and how it applied to the “I” in “I-STEM” concepts of a previous blog October 2009 blog I-STEM, which suggested we should expand the concept of STEM to I-STEM, to include Imagination/Innovation.

Margaret Collins, Director – Creative Enterprises and the Arts, Piedmont Triad Partnership has been leading an initiative that focuses on “Creative Enterprises and the Arts” under the Department of Labor Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development (WIRED) Program. Today’s Capstone Event was a report of that work which has occurred over the past three years.

Emily Stover DeRocco, President, The Manufacturing Institute made a statement in the Opening Plenary Session that we should “Have a Workforce ready for almost everything.” My thoughts were this is just what I-STEM is all about. Having a Workforce that has competence in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) with the Imagination/Innovation good stuff as described in my November 2009 blog “CTE-I-STEM Cookie” will go a long way in satisfying that statement.

Triad Design Leadershop website documents the concept of Create – Change as conducted by five heavy hitters in the Creative Design area.

• David Rose – Designer of Tactile and Environmentally Aware Devices

• Bill Grant – Designer of Business and brand Experiences
      "Design is more than Decorating"

• Claudia Kotchka – Change Agent and Design Evangelist

• Jason Manley – Interactive Media and Game Designer

• David Adjaye & Phil Freelon – Innovative Architects of Public Sector Spaces

It appears these illustrations speak quite well to the concept of “I” in my blogs on “I-STEM” and “CTE-I-STEM Cookie”.

I am of the opinion that you can have the STEM skill sets and not necessarily get a product, but if you have I-STEM skill sets; there is a higher probability of getting a product. Does this make sense?

Postscript 7/21/2011
I recently discovered this website http://steam-notstem.com/ which adds "Arts" to STEM. I feel it addresses somewhat the idea which I had written about in this blog. I now promote I-STEAM to include "Arts"; it emphasizes the importance of creativity which may not be oblivious in STEM.