Would you like to have a friend who could finish your sentence? If you do, let’s talk.
I’m Eugene Ivanov, a business and technical writer interested in creativity, innovation, and technology. I have a passion for describing complex topics in a simple and intuitive way. I also have a passion for telling a good story.
Writing has a lot in common with problem-solving. First, you identify the problem your audience is facing. Second, you find a solution to this problem. Finally, you present this solution to your audience in the most appropriate way.
I’ve spent 40+ years of my professional career solving problems, both as a bench scientist and innovation consultant. Writing is the logical next step in my career.
My motto is: "Every time you leave your comfort zone, you make it more spacious."
This book, co-edited by Andrew Binns and me, is a collection of the tools, methodologies, and techniques one needs to build successful, market-ready ventures from within existing organizations. A team of accomplished authors explains how to develop a practical strategy, gather market insights, develop a Jobs-To-Be-Done market canvas, collect customer research, reduce organizational risk, and more.
“We the People of the Crowd…” is a book about crowdsourcing, an open innovation approach to solving complex problems. The book is a collection of stories derived from the author’s personal experience in running crowdsourcing campaigns for corporate and nonprofit clients.
Bioinnovation & Health
The pharmaceutical industry is good at spreading its drug money. It "funds" scientists, it "funds" patient advocacy groups. Even more troubling, it provides almost half of the budget for its regulator, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA).
The United States is losing the race for global leadership in science and technology. We need another Sputnik moment to reverse this dangerous trend.
And yet, surprising as it may be, the very term "patient-centric healthcare" only emerged in the end of 1980s. Two major factors drove the trend. The first was a deep dissatisfaction with the...
On June 7, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new treatment for Alzheimer's Disease (AD), its first in nearly two decades. Manufactured by Biogen and called Aduhelm, the drug was supposed to become a cause of celebration by millions of Americans diagnosed with AD. Instead, the Aduhelm approval may well be remembered as the most controversial, if not scandalous, FDA’s decision in the 115 years of its history.
The Virtues of Diversity
When we argue that women should be better represented on corporate innovation teams, it’s not an attempt at social engineering or affirmative action in disguise. It’s a sensible innovation strategy.
The idea that a group of people with diverse professional experiences would be better at solving complex problems than a homogeneous group is nothing new. However, a growing body of evidence now shows that socially diverse groups are more innovative than socially homogeneous ones.
Why is diversity important? The answer to this question is quite straightforward: diverse and inclusive companies innovate better. The connection between diversity and innovation is proven by a substantial body of research.
Creativity & Serendipity
The choice between engaging experts vs. crowds in problem-solving is pretty straightforward. When solving a problem similar to one that the firm faced in the past, the firm should engage experts. However, if the problem is novel and may require a fresh look at it, engaging crowds would be a better choice.
Social networks are the bloodstream of innovation. They ensure that innovative people connect and exchange creative ideas. Disrupting these networks can cause a profound damage to the innovation process.
It's only a matter of time that we pin down the sections of the brain responsible for creativity — along with safe and efficient ways to stimulate them on demand, as a way to boost human creativity.
Contrary to popular belief, ideas are not plentiful. Available data shows that quite the opposite is true: we are experiencing a growing shortage of ideas. Moreover, these ideas become more and more expensive and their quality is on the decline. This trend may have a profound negative effect on the future of US innovation.
The issue of creativity lies at the very center of the innovation process. Innovation is impossible without new ideas. Can we control the creative process?
We all heard this: Never let a good crisis go to waste. Crises do and will happen, and we must learn how to use them to find more effective ways to do business. But we also must learn to be creative and innovative every single day, without waiting for an extreme event to give us “permission to innovate.”
Innovation & Freedom
Innovation has been the driving force of American growth and prosperity — and, as such, a key component of the nation’s psyche. Unfortunately, the nation’s innovation edge can’t be taken for granted. Losing it will have consequences we Americans don’t even want to contemplate.
Freedom has a profound positive effect on corpofrate innovation. This effect manifests at three major levels: individual, organizational, and national.
One of the most important drivers of innovation is freedom. Yes, freedom. Freedom emerges as a common denominator for the factors that boost innovation. In contrast, restrictions on liberties have a chilling effect on the corporate innovation process.
It’s fascinating to see parallels between Prohibition, an ill-conceived government regulation, and the COVID-19 pandemic, a natural disaster. And yet, both did exactly the same: they disrupted natural human networks, Prohibition by preventing people from socializing after work, and COVID-19 by abrupt shifting to remote work.
External consultants have a certain edge over the insiders: consultants are not exposed to the often-toxic fumes of internal politics. This helps them better deal with competing ideas and opinions, judging them on their merits rather than their authorship.
I call it the “80:20 rule”: in my experience, 80% of unsuccessful crowdsourcing campaigns failed because the problem presented to the crowd was not properly defined; only 20% did so because of a poor match between the problem and the crowd.
Our experience tells us that many things in life are good “in moderation.” At small doses, the rattlesnake venom can be used to treat arthritis and cancer, but it becomes deadly at larger doses. Similarly, we all long for attention from our loved ones, yet we begin protecting our space when this attention gets overwhelming. So, in innovation, business — and life in general — dose is everything. You may remember this wisdom tonight when adding salt to a dish you cook for dinner.
You can hear this time and again: innovation is all about people. Even if you're a great fan of AI, you'd hardly expect robots to replace human innovators any time soon. And if you also love another popular cliché, the one saying that innovation is a team sport, you arrive at a natural conclusion that to pursue a corporate innovation project, you need a dedicated innovation team.
At NASA, professional identity clashed with innovation when its Life Sciences division opened its strategic R&D challenges to an external audience. The move split the organization in two. One group represented NASA scientists and engineers who embraced open methods as an opportunity to enhance their roles and capabilities. The other group flatly rejected open innovation methodology as an existential challenge to their professional identity.
The Basics of Crowdsourcing
The following are twelve thoughts about crowdsourcing taken from my recently published book “We the People of the Crowd…” and summarizing my 20+ years of experience in running internal and external crowdsourcing campaigns.
Crowdsourcing is here to stay. Its future as an effective innovation tool is ensured by its proven ability to deliver value to many organizations that use it. Moreover, crowdsourcing is being organically incorporated into the “gig” economy, providing independent workers with the ability to be paid for a task or a project as opposed to a salary or hourly wage.
Since the 2004 publication of James Surowiecki's highly influential book, The Wisdom of Crowds, the idea that large groups of people can be smarter than a few individuals, no matter how brilliant, has been gradually gaining prominence in academic circles, business communities, and public opinion.