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Innovative Solutions __________June 2006
In this issue
-- Feature Article: Innovation is the Key!
-- On a Personal Note:
-- On the Lighter Side:
-- Article Policy

Welcome to the June 2006 edition of Innovative Solutions, the monthly newsletter from Innovative Thermal Solutions. If you find this information interesting or useful, please share it with your friends and colleagues.

Word count approx. 1101
Reading time approx. 4-5 minutes.

Feature Article: Innovation is the Key!
I think I’ve had an epiphany (epiphany – a moment of sudden understanding or revelation). For quite a while, like everyone else I know in business, I’ve been watching the outsourcing and offshoring of American jobs. At first it was mainly low wage manual labor, but lately we see more and more “knowledge worker” jobs leaving the country. Most economists say that outsourcing and offshoring is good for the global economy and in the long run will be good for the American economy. How it is going to be good for the American economy isn’t obvious to everyone, especially people seeing their jobs move overseas. The benefit of reducing the cost of goods purchased by importing goods from countries with low labor rates is obvious. We all get to buy goods at lower prices. But are income levels going to be such that we can take advantage of the lower prices? I’ve always felt that education, knowledge and innovation were the keys to prosperity of the American economy. Epiphany - now I’m certain those items are the fundamental keys to the survival of individuals, American business and the American economy. Over the next few newsletter articles I’ll discuss the new flat world global economy we live in and its impact on your business and what it takes to not only survive in the new global economy but how to prosper and grow.

I’ve been reading the book “The World is Flat” by Thomas L. Friedman. Are you at all concerned about outsourcing, offshoring, and foreign competition? Are you concerned about how these things are or will impact your job or business? Then you should definitely read this book. The world has changed. Regardless of the size of your company or the type of business you have you should be taking advantage of the new global opportunities that exist. These global opportunities not only include the availability of lower cost goods and services but huge new markets for your goods and services.

Here is a excerpt from “The World is Flat”:

Romer (Stanford economist Paul Romer) explains that “there is a difference between idea-based goods and physical goods.” If you are a knowledge worker making and selling some kind of idea-based product – consulting or financial services or music or software or marketing or design or new drugs – the bigger the market is, the more people there are out there to whom you can sell your product. And the bigger the market, the more new specialties and niches it will create. If you come up with the next Windows or Viagra, you can potentially sell one to everyone in the world. So idea-based workers do well in globalization, and fortunately America as a whole has more idea-driven workers than any country in the world.

But if you are selling manual labor – or a piece of lumber or a slab of steel – the value of what you have to sell does not necessarily increase when the market expands, and it may decrease, argues Romer. There are only so many factories that will buy your manual labor, and there are many more people selling it. What the manual laborer has to sell can be bought by only one factory or one consumer at a time, explains Romer, while what the software writer or drug inventor has to sell – idea-based products – can also be sold to everyone in the global market at once.

That is why America, as a whole, will do fine in a flat world with free trade – provided it continues to churn out knowledge workers who are able to produce idea- based goods that can be sold globally and who are able to fill the knowledge jobs that will be created as we not only expand the global economy but connect all the knowledge pools in the world. There may be a limit to the number of good factory jobs in the world, but there is no limit to the number of idea-generated jobs in the world.

Innovation is the key not just to survival, but to a healthy, prosperous, growing company. There is a lot happening relative to creating and managing innovation. Next time I’ll discuss some of what’s happening in the world of innovation. Until then, you can read more about the flat world and innovation at my blog.

Yes, Innovative Thermal Solutions now has a blog. My intention is to comment on product development and engineering management in more detail than this newsletter format allows. And even more importantly give you the opportunity to comment also. Please visit The Engineering Curmudgeon and post a comment, even if you just say Hi!

On a Personal Note:
The GTO sold on ebay and is already at its new home in Massachusetts. A very nice man bought it as a gift for his wife. Yea right. That reminds me of when Homer Simpson bought Marge a bowling ball for her birthday with the name Homer stamped on it.

This spring’s planting in the vineyard went well. The whole family was home to help. We planted another 312 vines and cuttings. That brings the total vineyard to 546 vines occupying just under an acre. In a couple more years that should produce enough grapes to make over 300 cases of wine. You can see the photos here

On the Lighter Side:
You might be an engineer if -
  • You have no life and can prove it mathematically.
  • You know vector calculus but you can’t remember how to do long division.
  • You chuckle whenever anyone says “centrifugal force.”
  • You are frustrated whenever anyone says “cement” when they mean “concrete.”
  • You’ve actually ever used every single function on your graphing calculator.
  • It is sunny and 70 degrees outside, and you are working on a computer.
  • You think in “math.”
  • You hesitate to look at something because you don’t want to break down its wave function.
  • You have a pet named after a scientist.
  • You laugh at jokes about mathematicians.
  • The Humane Society has had you arrested because you actually performed the Schrödinger’s Cat Experiment.
  • You avoid doing anything because you don’t want to contribute to the eventual heat-death of the universe.
  • When your professor asks you where your homework is, you claim to have accidentally determined its momentum so precisely, that according to Heisenberg it could be anywhere in the universe.
  • You know the glass is neither half full nor half empty; it's simply twice as big as it needs to be
  • You understood more than five of these indicators.

Article Policy
© 2006 Innovative Thermal Solutions. All Rights Reserved. You are free to use material from the Innovative Solutions newsletter in whole or in part, as long as you include complete attribution, including live web site link. Please also notify me where the material will appear.

The attribution should read: "By Bob Utter of Innovative Thermal Solutions. Please visit Bob's web site at for additional articles and resources on engineering services and new product development." (Make sure the link is live if placed in an eZine or in a web site.)

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