Creative Modeling for Tech Visionaries


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Introductory presentation from course of the same name. Discusses challenges of creative new product design, importance of qualitative models & little quantitative models.

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Creative Modeling for Tech Visionaries

  1. 1. Creative Modeling for Technology Visionaries Qualitative & Simplified Quantitative Modeling for Product Creation Module 1: Modeling for Postmodern Product Design David E. Goldberg University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Urbana, Illinois 61801 [email_address]
  2. 2. Welcome to CMTV <ul><li>CMTV = Creative modeling for technology visionaries. </li></ul><ul><li>Companion to TEE = The Entrepreneurial Engineer. </li></ul><ul><li>Traditional modeling increasingly inadequate for product design. </li></ul><ul><li>Where do we turn? </li></ul>
  3. 3. My Background <ul><li>BSE & MSE in early 70s at Michigan. </li></ul><ul><li>Worked in small startup in 1976. </li></ul><ul><li>Returned to school for PhD. </li></ul><ul><li>Sidetracked by research/teaching career at Alabama and Illinois. </li></ul><ul><li>Better known work on genetic algorithms and computational innovation. </li></ul><ul><li>Currently Jerry S. Dobrovolny Distinguished Professor in Entrepreneurial Engineering. </li></ul><ul><li>Chief Scientist for Nextumi, . </li></ul><ul><li>Broadly interested in history, philosophy, business & economics. </li></ul>
  4. 4. This Module <ul><li>Three current needs: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The need for technology visionaries. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The need for creativity. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The need for simplified qual-quant modeling. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Review of course topics: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Creativity & technology visionaries </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Postmodern modeling and engineering knowledge. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Qualitative models. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Little quantitative models. </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Need for Technology Visionaries <ul><li>Term TVs comes from UIUC research by Ray Price and Bruce Vojak. </li></ul><ul><li>Finding that a small number of technologists & engineers responsible for large amount of product success. </li></ul><ul><li>Creative in their approach to technology, organizations, and markets. </li></ul><ul><li>This course grew out of GA work & conversations about TV research. </li></ul>Ray Price
  6. 6. Engineering and Science Different <ul><li>Used simplified quantitative modeling to develop scalable genetic algorithms. </li></ul><ul><li>Discussed connection to methodology of invention of the Wright brothers. </li></ul><ul><li>Needs of design places premium on search for alternatives and configuration. </li></ul><ul><li>Also requires design decomposition, a qualitative decomposition of problem </li></ul>
  7. 7. Chief Scientist in a Web Startup <ul><li>Interested in commercial potential of genetic algorithms. </li></ul><ul><li>Asked to evaluate an idea inspired by my book on genetic algorithms. </li></ul><ul><li>Ended up as co-founder and chief scientist. </li></ul><ul><li>Unsettling to design product that has not existed. </li></ul><ul><li>Philosophical reflection most helpful tool. </li></ul><ul><li>This inspired idea for course teaching creative modeling techniques </li></ul>
  8. 8. The Need for Creativity <ul><li>The times they are a changing. </li></ul><ul><li>Reaction to the cold war. </li></ul><ul><li>Technoeconomic forces. </li></ul><ul><li>Pink’s analysis. </li></ul><ul><li>Category creators, not enhancers. </li></ul><ul><li>Extant design methods assume existence of stable product categories. </li></ul>
  9. 9. The Times They Are a Changin’ Bob Dylan, b. 1941 <ul><ul><li>Work in brand new product categories. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Work in well established categories. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Work in organizations of all sizes and ages. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Work in large, well-established companies. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Work at disciplinary boundaries. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Work in well-defined disciplines. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Work as engineers & non-engineers. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Work as engineers. </li></ul></ul>Engineering students today Engineering students used to
  10. 10. A Reaction to the Cold War <ul><li>We are in final days of the Vannevar Bush era. </li></ul><ul><li>Headed wartime Office of Scientific Research and Development. </li></ul><ul><li>Report, The Endless Frontier, set stage for NSF and ongoing funding of scientific research. </li></ul><ul><li>Curriculum, funding, P&T, and institution adapted to this change. </li></ul>Vannevar Bush (1890-1974)
  11. 11. The Missed Revolutions <ul><li>The paradigm was OK for WW2 & Cold War. </li></ul><ul><li>Engineering education slow to adapt to external changes thereafter. </li></ul><ul><li>Missed revolutions since WW2: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Quality revolution. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Entrepreneurial revolution. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>IT revolution. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Conceptual revolution. </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. A Technoeconomic Framework <ul><li>The missed revolutions have been enabled by a number of technoeconomic effects: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Transport and communication improvements. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Transaction costs. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Network effects. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Understand these: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Puts past in perspective. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Helps project future trends. </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Transportation & Communications <ul><li>History of 20 th century history of faster, cheaper communication & transport. </li></ul><ul><li>Communications: mail  telegraph  telephone  fax  internet. </li></ul><ul><li>Transport: horse  train  auto  airplane  jet plane. </li></ul><ul><li>Affects commerce directly: Example, Japanese onslaught of 70s facilitated by jet travel & faxes. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Ronald Coase & X-Costs <ul><li>Why has change been so relentless over past 50 years? </li></ul><ul><li>In institutional economics, a major determinant of organization size & structure are transaction costs. </li></ul><ul><li>Get up in morning and sell services to highest bidder? No, join organizations. </li></ul><ul><li>Using the free market is not free. </li></ul><ul><li>Relentless reduction in communication and transportation costs has reduced transaction costs over all of this century. </li></ul>Ronald H. Coase (b. 1910)
  15. 15. Arthur & Network Returns <ul><li>Reduced X-costs -> small is good: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Outsourcing. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sticking to core competence as mantra. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Countervailing force: network returns: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Telecommunications. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Operating systems. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Interoperable search/advertising networks. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Big is better. </li></ul></ul>W. Brian Arthur
  16. 16. Future: A Conceptual Age? <ul><li>Daniel Pink outlines four ages: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Agricultural age </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Industrial age </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Information age </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Conceptual age </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Each age rewards different skill sets. </li></ul><ul><li>New conceptual age rewards right brain—creative thought—in place of analytical thought valued in information age. </li></ul><ul><li>Quibble: Creativity + analytical not Creativity replacing analytical. </li></ul>
  17. 17. The Three As <ul><li>Abundance : Widespread material wealth has devalued merely functional stuff. </li></ul><ul><li>Automation : Widespread automation has routinized many jobs & trend is spreading to accounting, law, & other knowledge work. </li></ul><ul><li>Asia : Low cost, highly skilled workers in India & China can do more for less than knowledge workers in US. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Left Brain, Right Brain Distinction <ul><li>Roger Sperry’s experiments on split brain patients (removed corpus callosum). </li></ul><ul><li>LB, RB  right side, left side. </li></ul><ul><li>LB, RB  sequential, simultaneous. </li></ul><ul><li>LB, RB  text, context. </li></ul><ul><li>LB, RB  detail, big picture. </li></ul><ul><li>Premium on right brain function. </li></ul>Roger W. Sperry (1913-1994)
  19. 19. 6 Senses (Skills) for WNM <ul><li>Design : Beyond function to meaning. </li></ul><ul><li>Story : Beyond data to narrative. </li></ul><ul><li>Symphony : Beyond specialization to integration. </li></ul><ul><li>Empathy : Beyond logic to empathy. </li></ul><ul><li>Play : Beyond seriousness to lightheartedness, games, & humor. </li></ul><ul><li>Meaning : Beyond material plenty to transcendence & meaning. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Category Creators v. Enhancers <ul><li>Premium is on category creators —those who creates new categories of product and service. </li></ul><ul><li>This requires different skill set. </li></ul><ul><li>Right-brained thinking: integrative, creative, intuitive. </li></ul><ul><li>MFA + Engineer vs. MBA + Engineer. </li></ul>
  21. 21. Need for Creative Modeling <ul><li>Normal enhancement of existing categories. </li></ul><ul><li>Creation of new products requires return to basics. </li></ul><ul><li>New product creation demands </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Asking and answering the right questions. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Language to discuss features. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dimensionalization of product space. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rough quantification. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Little quantitative models of essential product functions. </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. Engineers Taught to Enhance <ul><li>Key problem with engineering education today. </li></ul><ul><li>Taught to enhance. </li></ul><ul><li>Use fancy mathematics and science to refine existing product categories. </li></ul><ul><li>Age of opportunity  Opportunities at the frontiers. </li></ul><ul><li>More radical innovation is necessary for success. </li></ul>
  23. 23. The Problem w/ Tabula Rasa <ul><li>Tabula rasa = blank slate. </li></ul><ul><li>Tough to get started from TR. </li></ul><ul><li>Can talk about SUVs easily. </li></ul><ul><li>Features known. </li></ul><ul><li>Have language to talk about things. </li></ul><ul><li>Enhancement is about taking existing product category with known features, and making improvements within. </li></ul><ul><li>SUV recent category, but built on century of automotive progress. </li></ul><ul><li>This course is about modeling at the beginning, not at the end. </li></ul>
  24. 24. Course Topics <ul><li>Models of creativity </li></ul><ul><li>Brainstorming </li></ul><ul><li>What is a model? Modeling for TVs </li></ul><ul><li>Epistemology for postmodern engineering design </li></ul><ul><li>2 techniques from Athens </li></ul><ul><li>Visualization and napkintalk </li></ul><ul><li>Canonical dimensionalization: Porter’s models </li></ul><ul><li>Creative dimensionalization: Facebook </li></ul><ul><li>Advice from the trenches </li></ul><ul><li>Aristotle revisited & the qual-quant shift </li></ul><ul><li>Little models </li></ul><ul><li>Golden-mean models </li></ul><ul><li>Patchquilt integration of little models </li></ul>
  25. 25. Models of Creativity <ul><li>Survey theories of creativitity. </li></ul><ul><li>Read Ray & Myers, Creativity in Business. </li></ul><ul><li>Extract key principles. </li></ul><ul><li>Course not general course on creativity, however. </li></ul><ul><li>Interested in models. </li></ul>
  26. 26. What is a Model? <ul><li>Engineers are inveterate modelers. </li></ul><ul><li>Rarely question what we mean by a model. </li></ul><ul><li>Will do so, and will look at the economics of models. </li></ul><ul><li>Will probe further into current questions of knowledge & existence (epistemology and ontology). </li></ul>John R. Searle (b. 1932)
  27. 27. Techniques Borrowed from Athens <ul><li>Qualitative modeling as we wish is basically a form of philosophical reflection. </li></ul><ul><li>Will borrow techniques from the masters of Greek philosophy: Socrates, Plato, Aristotle. </li></ul>Aristotle (384-322 BCE)
  28. 28. Application to New Product Design
  29. 29. The Qual-Quant Divide <ul><li>Much knowledge about our species is not theoretically quantitative: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Philosophical. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Historical. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Spiritual. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mythical. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Statistical. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The schism of 1920: B-schools went one way, engineering another (Wharton, 1881, Harvard MBA, 1921). </li></ul>
  30. 30. First Quantitative Moves <ul><li>Quantification of a dimension. </li></ul><ul><li>Little models. </li></ul><ul><li>Simple economic analyses. </li></ul><ul><li>Dimensional analysis: Lift & drag coefficients, scaling laws. </li></ul><ul><li>Simplified equations of motions. </li></ul>Moody diagram a patchquilt
  31. 31. Bottom Line <ul><li>Times demand more creative approach to engineering design. </li></ul><ul><li>Curriculum assumes existing categories and well known analyses. </li></ul><ul><li>Must break out of habits of mature technology. </li></ul><ul><li>Develop reflection and first analytical methods in systematic way for product success. </li></ul>