Posts filed under ‘Innovation’

SaaS and the Dictator

Hot on the heels of our post yesterday dealing with audio services “in the cloud”, we happened across this interesting development in the big end of town for enterprise dictation solutions.

WinScribe recently announced the availability of their award-winning system in a software as a service (SaaS) version. Of course, what this means is that practitioners in smaller organisations can avail themselves of an enterprise application without the requisite outlay for servers, related infrastructure and experts to run it all!

It will be interesting to hear how they solved the security issues as practitioners seek to use the system in a internet cafe… that will make for some interesting Help Desk calls.

We feel this is also a low-friction method of trialing their system without the onerous project planning requirements necessitated by an “installed” solution.

Over to the smaller practices to give it a try and the alternative vendors to follow suit!

August 5, 2008 at 12:09 pm 1 comment

Ears are better than microphones, so…

One of the questions we are frequently asked is how to mic up a room appropriately in order to record a meeting.

Well, obviously the ear is a much more complex construct than a microphone, so it is important to follow a few rules in order to get the best possible audio recording for later transcription or reference.

Placement and Directionality

The ear has the great advantage of being connected in real time to the best processing machine in the world – the human brain. As such, the ear can discriminate between the source of the sound and a reflection of it, e.g. off a wall. In fact, the brain can “focus” the ears on the source and largely exclude the reflections… amazing. So, we must be mindful of microphone placement (get it as close to the source as possible) and directionality (employ a cardioid or hypercardioid microphone).

Interference

The music industry generally follows the “Rule of Threes” which means placing the microphones so that the distance from each microphone to the source to be recorded is three times less than the distance to another source of sound. Obviously this will work best when the sources are approximately equal in intensity, but is a good rule to give you the best chance of a decent result.

Stereo vs Mono

Stereo provides a richness of sound that mono cannot provide. However, for an application like Acappella ( http://www.acappella.com.au ) stereo mics detract from the accuracy of speaker identification. So, we sacrifice a little audio “warmth” for the significant business benefit of helping the typist understand who is speaking.

External Factors

Wind, fluorescent light hum, and electrical interference can all significantly impact on the quality of an audio recording. If recording is being conducted outside, then muffs will be required. Luckily, Acappella makes allowances for hum and constant drone etc, but always be mindful of eliminating these extraneous factors if possible.

Acappella Playback Assistant

February 21, 2008 at 4:01 am 2 comments

Google creates economic value out of dreaming

Did you know that Google expects its people to spend 20% of their time focused on innovation?
 
If you work in a company of 100 employees, that means 20 of them work exclusively on coming up with innovative ideas.
 
How much time is spent on innovation at your company?

September 13, 2007 at 12:14 pm Leave a comment

Hello World!

Welcome to our first blog post. We hope you find our musings interesting enough to pass on, share and otherwise ruminate over to your heart’s content. Primarily, we will be writing about innovation, but not in a general sense. Rather, we will be discussing innovation from the point of view of creating competitive advantage within the corporate environment, especially professional services firms.

Paradoxically, those corporations you would think have the greatest financial capacity to innovate, the large ones, seem to be the least innovative. They are frequently weighed down by beurocracy, with the majority of their employees encumbered by administrative processes, barely leaving them time to breathe and wonder.

How often do you get home and realise that the day was end-to-end admin – no time for creating anything of value to either your employer or indeed yourself.

In The Age newspaper today, Joshua Frydenberg makes comment that there needs to be “three bold shifts”, one of which was “a revolution in business’ approach to innovation. Companies need to exercise the apparent paradox of less caution but more discipline in the creation and development of next-generation business models.”

And therein lies the difficulty.

Larger companies seem determined to categorise us (both functionally and via un-usurpable pay grades), pop us into cubicles like battery chickens and numb our creative sides with tedious repetition and then wonder why smaller companies “steal their cheese”. Of course, their common response is to buy smaller innovative companies, and mergers/acquisitions have been shown to fail most of the time.

Would it not make more sense to free up the minds of existing employees who know the clients intimately (or at least should) and set them along a structured path of innovation?

We are not talking about letting people run wild, but rather give them the freedom to soar within a well-articulated space. Even Chinese authorities, in a nation run from the top down “are pouring money and political will into becoming an innovation economy” says Peter Ford of The Christian Science Monitor. Apparently, they are finding it tough to make the transition from agrarian to innovative society. But when they do, there will be 1.2 billion people devoted to finding new ways to compete and win.

Even Accenture, an acomplished consultancy firm recently bought another firm devoted to innovation. To win, we must beat an opponent and to do so requires both skills and a plan to deploy those skills.

In a mature economy especially, where services and products are increasingly commoditised, those skills had better be inclusive of an innovative mindset and practice.

September 6, 2007 at 1:27 pm Leave a comment


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