Innovator Interview: John Jackson, Police Futurists International

5 May 10

As part of our ongoing Innovator Interview series we interviewed John Jackson, President of the Police Futures International (PFI) and a member of the Houston Police Department. PFI is an organization whose mission is to prepare police forces for the long term via planning and foresight tools. (how cool is that?)

In this interview, Jackson discusses some of his effective forecasting techniques, the organizational challenges he faces and his insights on how one can drive innovation. At first, it may not be clear how a government organization relates to those of you who work in the private sector.  And even Jackson differentiates between the private sector and public sector’s focus on innovation – the former is concerned with “profit and efficiency” and the latter with “equality and representation”. Regardless, the insight and foresight tools Jackson provides within can be applied to most organizations looking to become more future focused.

Read on to see an excerpt from his interview or download a full version for free. Read the rest of this entry »


Are They Smarter Across the Pond?

11 January 08

What a laudable achievement. The U.K. government in 2007 set up a “Department of Innovation, Universities, and Skills” and is responsible for adult learning, further and higher education, skills, science and innovation across the country.

The goals of the department are to spur research across the economy, provide those in schools and universities the skills they need to be better creative and innovative thinkers, and have more people involved in basic scientific research like math, and engineering.

Besides setting policy, running workshops, providing advice, and delivering funding to schools, businesses and universities, the department also publishes a wide variety of research publications on the topic of innovation.

Just yesterday, the department and the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, honored the UK team who attended “WorldSkills 2007”, the largest and most prestigious skills competition in the world.

We all know that we need leadership, not lip service, to make innovation truly effective. Here’s a shining example of how the UK government’s top brass is standing by their commitment to make innovation part of the domestic agenda.

Visit the Department’s homepage here. You’ll find some useful research that’s free to download.

I Spy… A New Venture

21 December 07

IQT Tagline

In-Q-Tel is the CIA’s very own venture-capital arm. IQT, as the group is known “identifies, adapts, and delivers innovative technology solutions to support the missions of the Central Intelligence Agency and the broader U.S. intelligence community.” What’s particularly interesting is that IQT has managed to become a profitable business.

From a recent New York Times article, we learn that “In 2005, In-Q-Tel sold for $12 million investments that had cost $1.96 million. Since In-Q-Tel was founded in 1999, the firm has reviewed more than 6,300 business plans for everything from identity-recognition software to nano-sized electronic circuits. Many proposals came in through its Web site. In-Q-Tel has invested about $200 million into more than 100 companies, beating traditional V.C. investors to technologies such as the mapping software that’s becomeIQT Logo Google Earth.”

We love that the U.S. government is using a venturing model to keep intelligence on the cutting-edge. This model has worked well in the private sector – just look at Nokia, Motorola, and Google – so why shouldn’t it work in the public sector? Learn more at IQT.