You are hereJoe Colannino

Joe Colannino

By admin2019 - Posted on 14 October 2014

Joe is the  CTO for ClearSign Combustion Corporation in Seattle.  He has many years of experience as an CTO, innovator, and KM professional.  He has led  global R&D and NPD efforts for several world-class companies. Today he continues his innovating and problem solving activities through his firm, Colannino Consultants. LLC.

KM in R&D Organizations: Fire’s Last Hurrah?

Organized societies have existed for ~10,000 years, and for as many years, fire has been its constant companion.  Yet only in the last century and a half did men teach fire to empower the industrial revolution.  This quantum leap – second only to the creation and discovery of fire itself – may be characterized by the transition from the buoyancy-dominated flame (e.g., campfires and fireplaces) to the momentum-dominated flame (furnaces and engines).  Why did this innovation take so many millennia to discover?  Steam engines, internal combustion engines, gas turbines, and jet engines all trace their pedigree to that unique time in the mid-nineteenth century.  Since then, fired equipment has undergone continual refinement, but the field has experienced nothing like the quantum leap that occurred during the industrial revolution.  Is this fire’s last great hurrah?

It is now well known that both the creation and the diffusion of innovation follows a characteristic trajectory known as the “S” curve, with a relatively long induction period, a period of lightening-fast creation and dissemination, and a slow period of incremental improvement until the next innovation cycle.  Why should this be so?  How is it that innovations punctuate history rather than permeate it?  Can disruptive rather incremental innovation become the norm?  

Historical case-studies, an appropriate interpretive framework, and practical life’s lessons illuminate how organizations can continue to innovate with a shift in thinking.   And as for a new way to do fire… that is presented too.