Innovative Thinking & Problem Solving Workshop

CEL was invited to provide a Innovative Thinking & Problem Solving Workshop on 27 April 2017. I was one of participants and would like to summarize some insights from the workshop.  Mr. Raymond Ng (Consultant, Communications Engineering Limited) was our trainer.  Firstly, he led us to do exercise like catwalk and then explained that every people had different style.

Mr. Ng introduced the four steps for problem solving included “Assess a Situation”, “Identify Causes”, “Generate Solution Options” and “Decide Best Course of Action”.  In this workshop, we focused on Lateral thinking in the step “Generate Solution Options”.  

Then we played the Trojan House game and each participant has different role in their team.  After the game, we understood why we did not think out of box because of “Assumption”, “History”, “Supposed to be”, etc.  Mr. Ng taught us to formulate a problem statement included “Ideal”, “Reality” and “Consequences”; but it should not have “Causes” and “Solutions”.

My trial problem statement was done as follows:
ISO 9001 certification value is not obvious to top management (Reality), so the certificate may be stopped (implying QS team may be disbanded) (Consequence/Impact).  We need to find a way to let top management understand the value (Ideal).

After the break, we discussed the mind mapping with the following rules:
-          Put central idea or question at centre
-          Radiate related ideas outwards
-          Connect ideas and show their relationship using arrows, lines, curves, etc.
-          Do not pause
-          Leave plenty of space between information

Trainer gave us a question “What are the roadblocks/barriers in your job?” Then we tried to build the mind map through different possibility items.  

One interested learning skill was “Reverse Brainstorming”.  Once we identified the problem, we need the reversed the problem to be Bad Idea, wrote down its Impact and then Reversed Impact to generate the Good Idea.
 Then he also briefed another tools named “SCAMPER” which was a checklist to generate changes to an existing product that were “Substitute”, “Combine”, “Adapt”, “Modify”, “Put to another use”, “Eliminate” and “Reverse”.

Another very interested tool named “Simple Random Word”.  Mr. Ng asked us to select any object in the room randomly and identify their features.  And then linked features into our problem to create new ideas.  

Our team selected a coffee cup and drawn the diagram.  Then we generated different ideas based on identified features and using Post-it note to stick on the diagram. 

I consolidated our ideas into the following table.

After that we used Quadrant Diagram to select the best option.

Finally, I presented our results based on “Simple Random Word” method.

The last two methods were “Starbursting” and “Selling an idea Upwards”.  For Starbursting, brainstorm questions about the idea on “Who?”, “What?”, “Why?”, “Where?”, “When?” and “How?”.  Don’t try to answer the questions as you go along!

For “Selling an idea Upwards”, you needed to research before presenting the idea to your boss and some hints were pointed out in the following diagram. 

At the end, Mr. Ng briefed the 6 Thinking Hats which was a system designed by Edward de Bono in 1985. Edward de Bono suggested the first two Hats should be Blue Hat and then Red Hat, after that the no specific sequence until the last two used Red Hat and the last one was Blue Hat.  Mr. Ng emphasized that team of people should take the same color hat at the same time for discussion.

The explanation was shown as follows:
1.      Blue Hat (Agenda Setting) (Character: Process Control, Mechanism)
2.      Red Hat (Character: Feeling, Intuition & Emotion)
3.      White Hat (Character: Data, Fact or Information)
4.      Black Hat (Character: Negatives, Pitfalls, Disadvantage)
5.      Yellow Hat (Character: Positive side, Advantage)
6.      Green Hat (Character: Creative, Opportunity, Possibility)
7.      Red Hat
8.      Blue Hat (Character: Decision & Action Planning)

20150203: Innovative Thinking Workshop – Thinkertoys - http://qualityalchemist.blogspot.hk/2015/02/hkstp-innovative-thinking-workshop.html
20150714: Team Synergy and Creative Problem Solving Workshop - https://qualityalchemist.blogspot.hk/2015/07/team-synergy-and-creative-problem.html


AUTM ASIA Conference 2017

The Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) is a nonprofit organization based in the U.S. dedicated to supporting and advancing academic technology transfer globally through education, professional development, partnering and advocacy.  AUTM Asia 2017 is a gateway to learn and explore IP opportunities in Asia and Greater China.  The conference was held at Science Park in Hong Kong from 23 to 26 April 2017.

In the beginning, Ms. Mary Albertson (President, AUTM) gave a welcome speech.  She introduced that AUTM is an organization of more than 3,200 members from 57 countries.  Their mission is to support and advance academic technology transfer globally.  She also mentioned that ZTE and Huawei Technologies with the top number of Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) application published in 2016 based on World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) statistics.  Such rapid growth of intellectual property (IP) cases highlights choosing location for the conference, here in Hong Kong, a strategically significant one.

Then a group photo was taken included guest Mr. Nicholas W. Yang (Secretary for Innovation and Technology, HKSAR).

The first session was “Presidents Forum”.  Ms. Katharine Ku (Stanford University) was moderator.  The panel participants included Prof. Jian Lu (CityU), Prof. Rick Wong (HKBU), Prof. Joseph Sung (CUHK), Prof. Philip Chan (PolyU), Prof. Enboa Wu (HKUST), Prof. Paul Tam (HKU) and Prof. Rui Paulo do Silva (University of Macau). 

During the tea break, I met Dr. Victor Lau (Technology Transfer Officer, KTO, CityU) and took a photo for memory.

The first keynote speaker was Judge Randell R. Rader (Former Chief Judge of US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit) and he discussed what US going to do and how important of IP.

The second speaker was Prof. Yesha Y. Sivan (Executive Director, The Coller Institute of Venture, Tel Aviv University) and his presentation entitled “The Role of Universities in the Future of Global Innovations”.  Firstly, he demonstrated a video for graduate startup sharing.  Then he said his research strands on venture included Policy, History of venture, Deep Innovation and University Venture.  

Prof. Yesha Y. Sivan introduced his university classical roles followed the ratio among Research, Education and Impact were 40%, 40% & 20%, respectively.  He explained Research creating new knowledge, Education transferring of knowledge and Impact using of knowledge.  He asked a question about the relationship between university and venture.  He then advised that “STOP: Don’t be Harvard”, “CAUTION: You are not in Silicon Valley” and “GO: Seek new models for research teaching, and service”.  

He raised some green points as follows:
-          Connect with Policy of Venture
-          Learn from History of Venture
-          Deep Innovation (Looking at “other” domains of venture that NOT digital/cyber things.) (E.g. BioMedX Model)
-          Connect with the regional agenda
And he introduced a new venture models (e.g. XINOVA model, Google X)

Finally, he concluded his five concrete insights included investing your energy to think and do; considering right mix of venture; how maturity of your region; gamble/focus on relevant large scale regional comparative and competitive edge; and align the venture force with university strategy.

Prof. Dan Shechtman (Nobel Laureate in Chemistry (2011); Professor of Materials Science, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa) was the third speaker and his topic named “Why should we teach Technological Entrepreneurship in University”.  He pointed out some problems the world faced today included struggling economies, population growth, internal wars and refugees.

Then he compared Hong Kong and Israel.  Hong Kong was older than Israel!  Moreover, demographics data showed that Israel number of children per woman was 3.1 but Hong Kong was 1.2 in 2014.  Hong Kong had not enough young people and became aging population!  He proposed two solutions that one is to encourage larger families through government policy and the other is to encourage technological entrepreneurship.

Prof. Dan Shechtman said technological entrepreneurship was a solution to Low GDP per Capita (poverty), High Unemployment and Disenchanted People.  He added human ingenuity is the most important natural resource of any country.  The following diagram showed that the most important was good Teachers!

Then all guest speakers discussed in the plenary session named “How the Global Changes in Innovation and Venture Environment would Impact the University System”.  

In afternoon, I joined the session named “Entrepreneurship & Technology Transfer in China, Singapore, United states and United Kingdom”.  The first speaker was Prof. Ikhlaq Sidhu (Chief Scientist and Founding Director, Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology, Industrial Engineering & Operations Research, UC Berkeley) and he introduced their Berkeley Method that emphasized mindset & behaviors.

Then he introduced the innovation collider to develop people through “Campus Life and Research Activity”, “Education for Mindset”, “Acceleration” and “Cross-cutting”.  Finally, he mentioned their perspective on technology transfer through IP management strategies.  

The second speaker was Mr. Peter Mok (Head, Incubation Programmes, HKSTP) and he presented the topic “Hong Kong’s Innovation and Technology Ecosystem”.  In the beginning, Peter introduced Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation included Science Park, InnoCentre and Industrial Estates.  Then he briefed our new projects SPX that two new building to be built and would be completed in 2020.  

The future direction of the knowledge and technology corridor was stated that included LMC Loop (HK-Shenzhen Joint Innovation and Technology Park).  

Finally, he introduced our incubation program “Incu-App, Incu-Tech and Incu-Bio” as well as different supporting schemes for entrepreneurship.  

Dr. Steve Cleverley (Head of Oxentia, Oxford University) was the third speaker and he presented the Entrepreneurship in the UK University sector – Changes, Challenges & Opportunities.

Dr. Cleverley introduced the entrepreneurship was the marriage of Innovation and Enterprise.  It included four areas in the University Sector and they were “Traditional ‘STEM’ Research”, “Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences”, “Business Schools & Alumni” and “Students”.  

Prof. Den Huan Hooi (Director, Nanyang Technopreneurship Center, Nanyang Technological University) was the fourth speaker and he introduced the Entrepreneurship & Technology Transfer in Singapore Inc.  He said Singapore as an entrepreneur.  A resource-poor Startup when the country became independent in 1965.  

Then Prof. Hooi mentioned the Value Gap diagram and how Singapore created values.  They focused some of the mainstream economic sectors included Chemicals, Electronic and Precision Engineering, Manufacturing including Pharmaceuticals, Logistics and Transport Services, InfoComms and Media, Financial Services, and Tourism.

Other key areas included Biomedical Sciences, Environmental and Water Technologies, Interactive and Digital Media.  Those areas developed to become a sustainable enterprise through the Sustainable Loop.  Based on Committee on the Future Economy report, further development of Singapore would be a vibrant city of opportunity, a quality home that can spur innovation and attract talent.  There are three themes (1) Stay Open and Connected; (2) Innovate and Scale-up; and (3) Adapt and Transform. 

Mr. Dongfang Liu (Partner, Patent & Trademark Attorney, Technology Broker, Beijing Longan Law Firm) was the last speaker and his topic entitled “Legal & Regulatory Requirement for Technology Transfer and Patent Protection of Innovation in China”.  He mentioned some relevant laws and regulations as follows:
-          Law of the PRC on Promoting the Transformation of scientific and Technology Achievements
-          Law of the PRC on Science and Technology Progress
-          Regulations on Technology Import and Export Administration of PRC

Finally, the discussion forum was performed and many different ideas exchanging during the Q&A session.






在品質世界中大家都需要創意來解決不同類型的問題。當大家用傳統的全面品質管理(TQM)中品管圈的工具如魚骨圖(Fishbone Diagram)時,從人、機、物、法中入手找尋原因及方法來做改善。而背後產生創意的方法是用腦力激盪法/頭腦風暴(Brainstorming)其實成要看品管圈組員的組合及其自身蘊藏的知識。在腦力激盪法/頭腦風暴的隨機性比較高不是系統性的創意生成方法。我認識的系統性創新只有前蘇聯的「萃智方法(TRIZ)及我可拓學。但「萃智方法」範圍於技者要對科學有一定認。而可拓學則有系統地引用者思考,來解決問題及創。當我接觸可拓學中的可拓創新四步法我意識到任何人都可以學會運用。第一步是建模(Model)即把事物問題以基元(Basic-element)表達如物元、事元及關係元。第二步是拓展(Extension)用基元的拓展性作可拓分析(Extensible Analysis)及共軛分析(Conjugate Analysis)。第三步是變換(Transformation)包括基本變換及運算變換。最後第四步是選擇(Selection)包含可行性及優度評價(Superiority Evaluation)。這創新四步法的詳細內容希望日後有機會一一介紹。



Seminar on Service Quality & QFD for Corporate Service Responsibility

The seminar on "Service Quality & QFD for Corporate Service Responsibility (CSR)" was hosted by Hong Kong Quality Fuction Deployment Association (HKQFDA) and co-organized by Spanish Association for Quality (AEC), SEEM Dept., CityU and Hong Kong Society for Quality (HKSQ) on 19th April 2017. QFD is a product development methodology originated in Japan since 1960.  All speakers and supporting organizations representatives took a group photo for memory.

(Left: HKQFDA member, Prof. Sam Ho (Founder, HK5SA), Dr. Palmira Lopez-Fresno (AEC), Ms. Yolanda Chow (HKSQ), Ms. Gaylie SK So (Marketing, Exco, ISSC), Dr. Aaron Tong (HKSQ) and I (HKSQ & SEEM, CityU))

In the beginning, Dr. Catherine Chan (President, HKQFDA) gave an introduction of QFD.  QFD had been developed since 1960.  She quoted Karou Ishikawa that “Practice quality control is to develop, design, produce and service a quality product which is most economical, most useful, and always satisfactory to the consumer”.  So products should satisfy consumers’ needs.

Then She introduced a concept of consumer orientation that was changed from “Product-Out” concept to “Market-In” Concept.  

After that Catherine explained the interpretation of quality from narrowly to Bradly Interpretation.  She added many Japanese Enterprises use “Customer Satisfaction” as a Strategy to run their business.  

Catherine also mentioned the different between customer needs and wants.  We need to “Satisfy Needs, Not Wants”.  It was an expectation management otherwise a negative effect would come out.  

Customers’ needs included three parts that were Product, People and Environment. Catherine introduced different stakeholders and stated from “Product-Out” to “Market-In” through implementation of TQM and practicing QFD.  Focus on the principle of customer first and explained how QFD enhancing Innovation.

At the end, Dr. Catherine Chan discussed to make life better for the world as a whole through QFD to achieve minimizing the resource and maximizing the effects.  QFD was able to stimulating innovation and to become more competitive and also taking care of the stakeholders of the society for sustaining the Earth through product design & development.  

Dr. Palmira Lopez-Fresno (Vice President of AEC and President, Service Quality Committee of AEC) was the second speaker and her presentation topic was "Service Quality & Corporate Service Responsibility – Strategic Binomial for Today’s Business”.  She quoted Peter F. Drucker statement that “…what the customer buys and considers valuable is never just a product. …”  Then she added “Good Service Quality is not an option.  It is key to the success or failure of an organization.”

Dr. Palmira introduced recently notorious case – United Airlines beat their customers as example to show a company missing service quality.  She quoted Theodore Levitt (Management Expert in Germany) that “The mission of a company is to create and keep customers.  To get it, you need to do things that result in people wanting to do business with you.”  Therefore, reliability, loyalty, reputation and sustainability are long term values.

Then Dr. Palmira briefed the definition of perceived value that was Benefits plus Emotions and then over the price, inconvenience and uncertainty.  She also briefed different meaning of Service Quality.  “The achievement of positive impacts in the customers in each and every contact the organization has with them throughout time.” “Moments of Truth (Customer Experience)”. “Successful organizations are those continuously able to provided added value to their customers, in a cost-effective and sustained way.”  Then she mentioned company should be able to surprise customers (e.g. Apple).  

Dr. Palmira mentioned the two dimensions in service quality from organization and customer that one was objective / produced quality and the other was expected quality.  Customers satisfied only if through each contact the organization was able to exceed their “changeable” needs and expectations. (e.g. Kano model)  She added “It is not sustainable to take actions to “surprise” the customers, if the basic attributes and expected attributes are not guaranteed.” So that she interpreted corporate service quality that we cannot speak of excellence without assuring the quality of the processes in terms of quality management.

Service Quality is the result of comprehensive management of the tangible and intangible aspects it is made up from.  Those attributes to be considered:
-          Respect the customer’s time
-          Fulfill promises made
-          Personalize the service
-          Pay attention to detail
-          Always be respectful and friendly
-          Be accessible
-          React to mistakes

Back to the United Airline case, the following questions were arisen.
Can I trust you?
Are you committed with service quality?
Do I matter as a person?
Your personnel know and assume their functions and responsibilities?
Will you respect my time?
Are you accessible and approachable?
Is easy the relation with you?

Finally, she concluded that customer satisfaction and loyalty are related to the ability of an organization to meet/exceed customer needs and expectations in a consistent, sustainable and trusting way.  

Q&A Session.
We discussed how to surprise customer continuously.  Catherine proposed using storytelling to collect Voice of Customer (VoC).  Dr. Palmira asked us “what kind of your company want to be?” that affected the strategy you use. 

At the end, we took a group photo with all participants. 

Hong Kong Quality Function Deployment Association (HKQFDA) - http://www.qfdhk.org/
Spanish Association for Quality (AEC) - http://www.aec.es/web/guest/aec/quienes-somos
Hong Kong Society for Quality (HKSQ) - http://www.hksq.org/


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