UTEK Webinar Synopsis: Tim Jones – Future Catalysts of Innovation

by Braden Kelley

I had the good fortune to attend Tim’s webinar today on “Future Catalysts of Innovation”, and will now share some of the notes, quotes, and key insights I was able to capture.

Please NOTE: Because these are notes, they may be a little rough, but I’ve done my best to clean them up.

Tim Jones, Ph.D., author of Innovating at the Edge, (published by Butterworth Heinemann) and Managing Director of Innovaro, a division of UTEK, will discuss the future catalysts of innovation.

Here are some of Tim Jones’ thoughts:

Where are organizations now starting to place their bets?

  • In this economic environment, people tend to switch back to short-term thinking and focus on making a quick buck

How do we overcome the uncertainty?

  • Many of our clients focus on differentiating between what is possibly going to happen versus what is probably going to happen.
  • It is important for people to not only look from the Market Now to the Market Future, but to take a more holistic look at how the World Now and the World Future will influence the Market Future
  • Catalysts for Innovation (cut across many sectors)
    • Short-term (already in play – carbon, web 2.0, biofuels, wellness, etc.)
      • Should have already been looking at these for the last five years
      • If you haven’t been, then you probably have missed the boat

    • Medium-term (Water, authenticity, embedded energy, tracking)
      • Water is becoming more scarce
      • Wikipedia and amazon reviews versus experts from your company
        • How can you inject authenticity into your approach?

      • Embedded energy
        • How much energy does it take to make our products?


  • It takes 140 litres of water to make a single Starbucks cappuccino
  • It takes 400,000 litres of water to build a car
    • Although it is being investigated how to bring this down to 300,000 litres

  • People are beginning to take notice of the water and embedded energy topic, and companies like SAB Miller are beginning to take efforts

People are being tracked by their mobile phone, even when it is off

  • Japan – Doing away with train tickets
    • You get charged when your mobile phone gets on and off the train

  • Florida – A Healthcare Pilot
    • When diabetics walk into one of twenty restaurant chains they can get text messages about what they should or shouldn’t eat on the menu

It is no longer taken for granted that growth or innovation for companies will come from the first world:

  • Kenya is the biggest growth market for Vodafone

What can we do right now using these catalysts to accelerate innovation?

  • Which ones do we think are going to impact our sector?
  • How do we take advantage of them?
  • Where in the world should we launch them (tech, infrastructure, social impact, etc.)?

I hope these notes have given you a good idea of some of what was discussed in Tim Jones’ presentation of “Future Catalysts of Innovation” and what the key takeaways were. Please also see my blog articles on Gary Hamel’s and Regina Lewis‘ portions of the webinar.

Happy innovating!


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