David Frederick's | iAIR BLOG

Consulting, Innovation, Strategy, Vision, Education, & Ideation

Archive for April 2009

Programmed Failure

I have been thinking a lot these days about something I call “Programmed Failure”. It seems to permeate business, government, industry, education and innovation. What is Programmed Failure? I have defined it as such: Programmed Failure – a systematic institutional mind set of reactive behavior to perceived and actual demands on the organization. This includes not killing off non-essential projects, engaging and executing projects you know are not productive or core to your organization, OR forcing input into a capacity limited framework thus ensuring failure either in expectations, deliverables, or cost/benefit.

Programmed failure not only costs money, but moral, productivity, through put, and success. Yet, I see it everywhere I look. In the current market it is pervasive because people dont know what to do. Its analogous to the dot com era where solid business principals went out the door. However, today, it was exotic hedge funds, mortgage securities, etc. However, its deeper than that. It goes to the core and fabric of an organization. Even when I discuss with clients or see organizations engaging in so called innovation initiatives, they are still locked in Programmed Failure. They use “innovation” as a thin cover for doing the same dumb things over and over again – Programmed Failure.

To truly break out of the PF mindset, you need to break the rules, think outside the proverbial box, be willing to fail, be willing to invest both time and money knowing you may fail. While big rewards dont always have to come with big risks, risk taking is a foundation of innovation. Dont let PF infect and incapacitate your organization. Use basic exercises like scenario analysis – What it is and How is it done. Simple exercises like these help you ask questions. Questions lead to thinking why and why not. Questions then lead to ideas which ultimately lead to new thinking. But make no mistake. You will need to be intellectually honest in your thinking. If you dont, you are back to PF.

Dont let your organization be trapped by Programmed Failure.



Written by David Frederick

April 29, 2009 at 4:13 PM

Computer Spies Breach Fighter-Jet Project

And yet another incident. When are we going to learn? As usual, when its to late.


Computer Spies Breach Fighter-Jet Project

Tuesday , April 21, 2009

Computer spies have broken into the Pentagon’s $300 billion Joint Strike Fighter project — the Defense Department’s costliest weapons program ever — according to current and former government officials familiar with the attacks.

Similar incidents have also breached the Air Force’s air-traffic-control system in recent months, these people say.

In the case of the fighter-jet program, the intruders were able to copy and siphon off several terabytes of data related to design and electronics systems, officials say, potentially making it easier to defend against the craft.

The latest intrusions provide new evidence that a battle is heating up between the U.S. and potential adversaries over the data networks that tie the world together.

The revelations follow a recent Wall Street Journal report that computers used to control the U.S. electrical-distribution system, as well as other infrastructure, have also been infiltrated by spies abroad.

Attacks like these — or U.S. awareness of them — appear to have escalated in the past six months, said one former official briefed on the matter.

“There’s never been anything like it,” this person said, adding that other military and civilian agencies as well as private companies are affected. “It’s everything that keeps this country going.”

Many details couldn’t be learned, including the specific identity of the attackers, and the scope of the damage to the U.S. defense program, either in financial or security terms.

In addition, while the spies were able to download sizable amounts of data related to the jet-fighter, they weren’t able to access the most sensitive material, which is stored on computers not connected to the Internet.

Former U.S. officials say the attacks appear to have originated in China. However it can be extremely difficult to determine the true origin because it is easy to mask identities online.

Written by David Frederick

April 21, 2009 at 1:23 PM

Posted in AeroSpace, Defence

Chinese spies may have put chips in US planes

This is just another example of the U.S. being targeted by its enemies. With the proliferation of technology to the lowest common denominator comes exposure to the U.S.. While the U.S. sell’s billions/trillions in debt to countries that have at best competing interests like China and at worst nefarious interests, Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, Iran, North Korea, etc. planned for the U.S. we are exposing our defense, infrastructure and industry to potentially crippling and damaging exposure. The level of probing, attack and penetration from nation states like Russia, China, and even so called friends, not to mention amateur hackers, criminal gangs and terrorists is at an unprecedented level.

Wake up! We are under constant malicious attack, just ask any major business IT institution, government and defense agency, power company, research firm. Its time for stronger U.S. counter-technology defense as well as an offensive technology attack capability. Its time to strike back at those who probe, steal, insert, hide and attack the U.S from a technology stand point. If we dont, there will be a time in the not to distant future when we wish we had and congress will ask who knew about this and when did they know it! The global economy does many good things for many people, but this is an INTENDED consiquence by those who wish to do harm to the U.S., of the global economy


Chinese spies may have put chips in US planes
17 Apr 2009, 0041 hrs IST, PTI

WASHINGTON: The Chinese cyber spies have penetrated so deep into the US system — ranging from its secure defence network, banking system,electricity grid to putting spy chips into its defense planes — that it can cause serious damage to the US any time, a top US official on counter-intelligence has said.

“Chinese penetrations of unclassified DoD networks have also been widely reported. Those are more sophisticated, though hardly state of the art,” said National Counterintelligence Executive, Joel Brenner, at the Austin University Texas last week, according to a transcript made available on Wednesday.

Listing out some of the examples of Chinese cyber spy penetration, he said: “We’re also seeing counterfeit routers and chips, and some of those chips have made their way into US military fighter aircraft.. You don’t sneak counterfeit chips into another nation’s aircraft to steal data. When it’s done intentionally, it’s done to degrade systems, or to have the ability to do so at a time of one’s choosing.”

Referring to the Chinese networks penetrating the cyber grids, he said: “Do I worry about those grids, and about air traffic control systems, water supply systems, and so on? You bet I do. America’s networks are being mapped. There has also been experience of both Chinese and criminal network operations in the networks of some of the banks”.

Written by David Frederick

April 17, 2009 at 4:13 PM

Posted in Defence, Technology

MIT Sloan Management Review’s Down Turn Tool Kit

A great resource and must read.




A manager’s guide to surviving—and thriving—in recessionary times
Smart Ideas for Tough Times

These are not easy times to be a business leader—not when both the World Bank and the IMF are forecasting that the global economy may shrink in 2009, for the first time since World War II. But not all the news is bleak. The paradox of recession is that both dangers and bargains abound for businesses; savvy companies can emerge from a downturn stronger. Our panel of leading experts shows you how—with smart strategies and fresh ideas. Read their thoughts, and then share your own, as a comment.

Written by David Frederick

April 17, 2009 at 3:00 PM

Interview With Andrew Keen At The Next Web 2009: “Web 2.0 Is F*Cked”

TechCrunch Europe’s Mike Butcher just finished conducting a short video interview with entrepreneur and author Andrew Keen about the end of Web 2.0 and the dawn of a new age of individualism, driven primarily by Twitter.

Check it out and click on the article. Some really good stuff in here. Particularly Keen’s comment – “in fact he called Twitter the “nail in the coffin of Web 2.0″. He said it’s “the future of individual media in the age of the individual… a future when individuals become brands. People with skills are able to sell their skills on the network. I call this real time social media.”

Very insightful stuff.



Written by David Frederick

April 16, 2009 at 8:59 PM

New Members to iAIR

I am thrilled to announce that 2 of my favorite professors and colleagues have joined the iAIR board of advisors. I am confident in their ability to bring even more competence, experience and insight to the team. They may even contribute to the iAIR blog site. So stay tuned!! Below is their brief bios.


Dr. Ralph Katz, PhD. – MIT Sloan & Northeaster U.

Dr. Ralph Katz is Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship Management at Northeastern University’s College of Business and Senior Lecturer at MIT Sloan School of Management. For more than 35 years, Katz has been carrying out extensive management research, education, and consulting on how to build, lead, and sustain the innovation process, with a particular interest in the management and motivation of technical professionals and high-performing groups and project teams.
During these years, Katz has conducted numerous workshops and seminars on innovation and R&D management in many organizations, working with them to improve their management and leadership of innovation incl. their practices, processes, and cultures. Among his more recent clients are major industrial corporations, including Procter & Gamble; Lockheed Martin; Goodrich; EMC; Nokia; Novartis; Medtronic, Tetra Pak; Master Foods, Inc.; Ciba Specialty Chemicals; and the Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos National Laboratories.

He teaches in two MIT Sloan executive programs and leads the Management of Technology and Innovation executive program at Cal Tech. For more than 10 years, he led the Management of Technology and Technical Professionals courses at IBM’s Corporate Technical Institute. Katz has taught in the executive programs of many other universities and was a visiting scholar at INSEAD in Paris during the 2003-04 academic year. His most recent book is The Human Side of Managing Technological Innovation, second edition (Oxford University Press, 2004).

In 1981, Katz was awarded the New Concept Award by the National Academy of Management for “Most Outstanding Contribution to the Field of Organizational Behavior.” He was also the 1986 recipient of R&D Management Journal’s “Best Paper Award” and the 1990 and 1991 recipient of the Academy of Management TIM Division’s “Best Paper Award.” In 2004, his paper in the IRI-sponsored journal, Research-Technology Management, was selected as the Holland Award

Dr. Jay Paap, PhD. – MIT and CalTech

Dr. Jay Paap is President of Paap Associates , a management consulting firm assisting major corporations in a broad range of business and technology development efforts, serves on the faculty of the Industrial Relations Center at Cal Tech, is a Fellow of the Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals and a PDMA Certified New Product Develop-ment Professional.

Jay provides clients an integrated approach to creating the innovative environment in which to grow their businesses and position themselves for the future. He focuses his services in seven areas: business development strategy, new product development, organization of the technical and business development functions, corporate venturing (aka Open Innova-tion), technology planning, competitive intelligence, and executive education.

Dr. Paap has been active in the management of technology for 40 years, and has consulted with industrial and govern-mental organizations for over 35 years. He is a sought after speaker at public and in-company programs globally and he co-authored the award winning article Anticipating Disruptive Innovation.

Written by David Frederick

April 11, 2009 at 2:00 PM

The Economic Crisis Unleashes Managerial Innovation

Very interesting article from the Trends Magazine.


The Economic Crisis Unleashes Managerial Innovation

At the World Economic Forum in January 2009, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered this advice to the assembled CEOs: “Never waste a good crisis.”

In other words, a crisis is an opportunity to rethink your business, your products and services, and the ways in which you deliver value to your customers. It is much harder to make changes when the economy is strong and a company’s position is solid, because leaders become complacent and even the most innovative thinkers are discouraged from tinkering with a formula that is working.

However, in a major downturn, everyone in the organization feels a sense of urgency to generate new revenue streams.

As Bill George, the former CEO of Medtronic and now a Harvard Business School professor, suggests in The Wall Street Journal, “[A] crisis offers the best opportunity to change the game in your favor, with new products or services to gain market share. Many people look at a crisis as something to get through, until they can go back to business as usual. But ‘business as usual’ never returns because markets are irrevocably changed. Why not create the changes that move the market in your favor, instead of waiting and reacting to the changes as they take place?”

As you rethink your business, keep in mind that you will need to take a new approach to segmenting your customers. It isn’t enough to divide them according to demographic groups, or by geographic location. Instead, consider the psychological and emotional impact of the recession on their buying behavior. In general, as John Quelch and Katherine Jocz of Harvard Business School reveal in the Financial Times,2 the current crisis has exacerbated the fault lines separating six broad psychographic categories of customers:

The first group, the naysayers, have either lost their jobs, fear that they are about to be laid off, or know people who have been downsized. Naysayers are so frightened by all of the bad news about the economy that they’ve stopped spending except to purchase essentials, and even then, they are buying “store brands” rather than nationally advertised products. They are also cutting back in many small ways, like sharing a single tube of toothpaste with family members and “trading down” by buying frozen vegetables rather than fresh vegetables.

The second group of consumers, the short-termers, are young consumers who live and work in cities and have minimal savings. Because they had little to lose in the stock market, they haven’t been affected much by the recession and will continue to spend as they have in the past. However, if they are laid off, they will have to stop spending abruptly because they have no savings to fall back on.

The third group, the long-termers, are optimistic. As the name of this group implies, they are taking a “long view,” and banking on the likelihood that the economy will rebound eventually. They are worried that their retirement accounts have shriveled in the short term, but they are not paralyzed by any sense of fear that they will be destitute. They are riding out the recession by looking for bargains, skipping some of the luxuries that they would normally indulge in, and buying simpler, more practical versions of products.

Written by David Frederick

April 9, 2009 at 7:50 PM

Posted in Business, Innovation