Episode #3 – Ostrich Photography Innovation and Smart Business

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In the third episode of the InnovaBuzz podcast, Innovabiz Founder, Jürgen Strauss relates one of his life experiences during his career, and describes how it has shaped his philosophy and drive around innovation, being a leader and continuing to learn and develop new and better ways of doing things.  Listen to the podcast to learn more about the story of the Ostrich Photography Innovation and Smart Business.

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I’m giving away a 45 minute Skype session with me, to review your website and identify 3 things that you can do straight away, to improve its effectiveness at delivering you new business. Just list 3 of the most innovative, disruptive technologies you’ve seen in the last 5 years, that have the potential to change the way we do business. Explain what the technologies are and why you think they will have an impact. In few weeks I’ll check the comments and award the prize.

Show Highlights

Some of the highlights of this episode include:

  • Disruptive innovations can quickly transform an entire industry
  • The pace of change and adoption of technology is increasing exponentially
  • Innovation is NOT OPTIONAL – it is CRITICAL to a business’ survival

Links

Full Transcript

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Hi I’m Jürgen Strauss from Innovabiz. Welcome to episode number 3 of the InnovaBuzz Podcast – designed to help smart businesses who value innovation and the internet of things become even more innovative.

Today’s episode will be a little different – there is no guest. Instead I’m going to tell you a story – one that involves an ostrich, photography, innovation and smart business. Does that sound intriguing? I certainly hope so!

This story is one of my life experiences during my career, and it has shaped my philosophy and drive around innovation, being a leader and continuing to learn and develop new and better ways of doing things.

So today’s innovation tip is; no matter what industry you are in, being innovative is NOT an option – it is compulsory for your survival. Innovation can be finding better, more efficient ways to do day to day tasks; it can be finding new and better products or services that help your customers even more than you do now and make you stand out from your competition; it can be developing business processes that transform how you do business, how you deliver value to your customers.

Before we get to the story, let me introduce the competition. I’m giving away a 45 minute Skype session with me, to review your website and identify 3 things that you can do straight away, to improve its effectiveness at delivering you new business. Stay tuned later in the interview where you can find out how to enter the draw to win that competition.

So without further ado, let’s go to the Innovation Hive and hear the Buzz about the ostrich, photography, innovation and smart business:

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Hello I’m Jürgen Strauss from Innovabiz. You are probably aksing yourself, what is the connection between an ostrich, photography, innovation and smart business.

Let me begin by telling you a few things, that you may not know about me.

I was born in Germany and my surname, in German, means, among other things ostrich! So there is the first touch point.

Photography is one of my hobbies and passions, in fact I’ve been taking photographs since I was three years old. If you’d like to see some of my recent photos, please visit jurgenstrauss.com.

The third thing you may not know about me, is that my background is in chemistry. I graduated from Monash University in Australia with a PhD in organic and organo-metallic chemistry and then spent two years at the University of Würzbug in Germany on a post-doctoral scholarship funded by the Justus Liebig Foundation of the German Chemical Industry. After I completed that stint at Würzburg University, my first job in the “real world” was with one of the four major photographic film manufacturing companies of the day.

And that is where the story of the ostrich, photography, innovation and smart business really begins. Imagine a young man who is a mad keen hobby photographer, getting his first real job in industry with a major photographic film manufacturer. I was working in the research division, designing new products for instant photographic enlargement and copy material. It was the dream job – I was learning about photography on a much deeper level than what I knew before. I had access to state of the art dark room and photographic development facilities that would be beyond the reach of most, even professional photographers. I was given a limitless supply of film to test. Essentially, I was “living a dream”.

Then along came Sony to spoil the dream!

At the 1981 Photokina, the largest photographic industry exhibition in the world, Sony introduced the Mavica, the first commercial digital camera, that used removable magnetic disks as the recording medium, instead of film. It was not strictly a digital camera as we know it today, as the sensor produced an analog video signal which was recorded to the magnetic disc and the pictures needed to be viewed on a television screen. The first model only recorded black and white images. However, it is widely considered as the pioneer of the digital photography era.

After the 1981 Photokina, things were quite frantic back at the company I worked for. Quite rightly, the decision makers there were concerned about the threat this new technology posed to film photography and our company. A study group was setup and tasked with purchasing a Mavica camera, putting it through its paces and seeing what it was capable of and how it did what it did.

The study group concluded a three key things:

  1. The image quality produced by the Mavica was rubbish (I’m sorry Sony – I’ll say good things about you later, but I’m sure you’d agree with that finding!)
  2. The Mavica was a proof of concept that set a new direction for photography
  3. Recommended that our company setup a feasability study around digital image capture technology to determine how we could get involved with that emerging technology.

Now unfortunately, our senior management didn’t read the report past point 1 and concluded that no action was necessary – the future of film was not in danger, as our film technology was highly advanced and far superior in the image quality that could be produced to anything we saw with the Mavica, in fact anything that was on a TV screen.

(are you getting the Ostrich bit here!)

I was one of very few voices in the company that pointed out that when Daguerre launched his daguerreotype invention in 1839, which would forever change the nature of visual representation: this was in fact the birth of photography, that the quality of the images at that time could also have been considered “rubbish” in relation to a good painter or sketch artist.

However, despite that, in the course of the next 145 years, photography had advanced to what it was in 1981. Given modern technology in those days (it was before the internet and yes I’m showing my age, I know), with telexes and phones and indeed video conferencing, the pace of development would be much faster now than in the days of Daguerre. I predicted that digital photography would be mainstream within 20 years.

Of course, I was wrong! By the early 1990s, so less than 10 years later, digital photography was dominating the point-and-shoot market and in another 5 years, the higher quality amateur and professional cameras moved rapidly to digital as well. Today only the absolute film enthusiasts and some special applications use film photography, but the vast bulk of photography is done with digital cameras.

Now, we all know what happened to the big film manufacturers of the 20th century – Kodak, Agfa, Konishiroku and Fuji. Their film divisions collapsed and the companies took a massive hit – Kodak filed for bankruptcy in 2012 and is only now starting to emerge from that phase to re-invent itself. The photographic division of Agfa collapsed in 2005. Konishiroku (Konica) focused on business machines (photocopiers and so on). Fuji, managed to survive best of the big 4, by investing heavily in the development of digital consumer cameras.

In contrast, Sony along with the big camera manufacturers like Nikon, Canon, and Olympus, have flourished, through adapting early to the innovative, disruptive technology and developing a wide range of digital camera equipment.

Sony, who with the Mavica, initiated the digital photography revolution, continue to be leaders in innovation. Their Alpha 7R is the first mirrorless, full frame 35mm digital camera on the market and is an awesome camera. (I said I would say good things about Sony!). They were innovators in the 1980’s in photography and they continue to be innovators.

So now you know the connection between the ostrich, photography, innovation and smart business. This is one of my life experiences, that has taught me, that you must always be innovating to survive in business. You can’t be the ostrich, put your head in the sand and hope that the competitors will go away!

There are many other examples of industries where disruptive technologies were introduced, that have wiped out companies that were slow to respond and participate in the new innovations. Many companies have vanished as a result of the advent of the internet.

I hope that, by bringing you the Innovabuzz podcast, featuring innovation leaders in their field, will add to your knowledge of all things innovation and the Internet of Things.

The show notes and resources for today’s episode will be at innovabiz.com.au/ostrichphotography.

You can also subscribe to the InnovaBuzz podcast over on iTunes or Stitcher so that you will never miss a future episode.

Now to the competition today – the prize is a 45 minute Skype session with me, to review your website and identify 3 things that you can do straight away, to improve its effectiveness at delivering you new business. To be in the running to win that competition, leave a comment below the video and list 3 of the most innovative, disruptive technologies you’ve seen in the last 5 years, that have the potential to change the way we do business. Explain what the technologies are and why you think they will have an impact. Leave a comment under the video and in few weeks I’ll award the prize.

Finally I’ll sign off with my usual reminder and that is: if you don’t innovate, you will stagnate. So think big, be adventurous and innovate on!

Listen to the Podcast

Jürgen

Jürgen is the chief innovator and founder of Innovabiz who partner with innovative, exceptional business coaches to enable you to acquire more leads and more business by reaching your ideal target prospects with your message, so that you will achieve growth and be able to make a difference to more ideal clients. You can find Jürgen on LinkedIn, as well as on Innovabiz' Twitter, Facebook and Google+ Pages.

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