Archive for the ‘VIP’ Category

Data Meets Healthcare

January 14, 2022

FountainBlue’s January 14 VIP Roundtable: Data Meets Healthcare

FountainBlue’s January 14 VIP Roundtable was on the topic of ‘Data Meets Healthcare’, with opening remarks by Change Healthcare. Data is the photon that’s foundational to providing value for all stakeholders, providing energy to solutions which serve all. But the question is how do we optimize the data to provide value, optimize care at minimal costs in an industry with so many stakeholders and so much regulation? 
Although digital transformation has a huge potential to impact the healthcare sector, as it has done for other sectors, the challenges are much more complex in healthcare because of the needs of disparate stakeholders, the regulations around the industry, the slim margins of hospitals and clinics, the disillusionment of patients to the point of not engaging, etc.,
Below are some thought-provoking ideas from an engaged and informed set of executives in attendance.

  • Facilitate interoperability of data between payors, providers, patients, insurers, etc., 
  • Ensure patient ownership and access to their own data, but also provide regulations to ensure the safe, secure, and ubiquitous sharing of data which also protects the privacy of patients.
  • Address the needs of empowered consumers to provide personalized value-added solutions at scale in a way which is collaborative and scalable.
  • Support hospitals and healthcare centers to leverage data for better financial management, more efficient access and improved care metrics.
  • Use data to document and support the end-to-end patient journey from coverage and benefits to payments and insurance.
  • Invite the use of longitudinal care programs to provide ongoing personalized care and also to inform the care of others with similar conditions. 
  • Democratize and expand access to care.
  • Develop and design solutions which build patient engagement, build communities of care, and in general better leverage technology and innovation to optimize care for more people.

The pandemic has accelerated adoption of existing technologies like MRNA to accelerate drug discovery and improve care, and telehealth to expand access to care. 
The Silver Tsunami is coming with a large population reaching 65+ and therefore with the increased likelihood of chronic disease, and the need for constant care, monitoring and interaction. Let’s work together to focus on ensuring a healthy population by providing better clinical, operational and financial outcomes.

Leverage technology solutions to address any friction for providing digital services, leverage data to ensure accuracy and progress of treatments, leverage hospitals and healthcare systems to support patient acquisition and adoption of digital solutions, and work together to ensure that payers own payments, insurers embrace technology and data, and regulations facilitate the adoption of digital transformation in healthcare. 

Smart Cities, Smart Buildings

December 10, 2021
FountainBlue’s Dec 10 VIP Roundtable: Smart Cities, Smart Buildings

FountainBlue’s December 10 VIP Roundtable was on the topic of ‘Smart Cities, Smart Buildings’, with opening remarks by Intel. As usual, our executives in attendance had deep technical expertise and work with a wide range of business models, all designed to support specific and relevant use cases for today, and to create more integrated and robust solutions and opportunities for tomorrow. For decades, an increasingly larger proportion of people are moving from rural to urban and suburban areas, which necessitates companies, leaders, cities and governments to optimize our cities and buildings so that we can better connect, manage, secure and support larger populations of diverse people. Below is a compilation of thoughts and advice for creating smarter cities and smarter buildings.

  • Proactively collaborate to better manage your company’s strategy, plan, processes, and vision.
  • Manage manufacturing, supply chain, operational and distribution processes to optimize the end-to-end envisioning, development, distribution and integration cycles.
  • Create modules which would allow developers and partners to design custom solutions to solve specific problems, while addressing performance, power, cost, and integration challenges.
  • Be curious about the needs of the customer, as well as the trends in the market so you can offer practical solutions for current customers, while creating the infrastructure, products and support needed to serve future needs.
  • Collect the data and create algorithms focusing on the most relevant, actionable data, rather than working on assumption-based models. Look also beyond the immediate implications of the data to the longer-term impact and implications for the data collected.
  • Embrace the technology while looking also at the business models and market trends, and focusing on the longer-term impact of the solutions and choices we’re making today.
  • Empower lower-skill and new workers to collect the data and work with them to understand how that data can make our buildings and cities smarter, and why that matters.
  • Question not just why the technology is cool, but also how we can leverage the technology to serve a real-world need, making our buildings and cities safer, more integrated, more connected, more customized.

Today’s solutions will be complex – from a technology perspective with hardware, software, cloud and integration issues, from a business perspective with adoption, partnership, development and people issues, from an execution perspective with integration, infrastructure, implementation, operational and distribution issues, from a governance perspective with regulatory, compliance, alliance and other issues. And solutions will require individual leaders, teams, organizations, industries and countries to work together. But if we work together, we can leverage technologies such as AI and ML and edge computing and beyond, to better support the economic, environmental, social, and community needs of people in the buildings they occupy, in the cities where they live.

Data is the New Black

November 12, 2021

FountainBlue’s November 12 VIP Roundtable was on the topic of ‘Data Is the New Black’, with opening remarks by Coupa Software. As usual, our group of executives in attendance were seasoned with their experience, varied with their background, and thought-provoking with their comments. Our lively discussion was peppered with rich insights, varying responses, and diverse approaches toward the mining, management, adaptation and usage of data. Below is a compilation of thoughts and best practices.The amount of available data is overwhelming, and gathering more data is not the key challenge. The challenge instead is to ensure that the data is:

  • vetted to be correct, complete and consistent
  • collected and managed in a way which serves the product/project/corporate/customer objectives
  • filtered efficiently, especially when there’s an urgent need to have real-time data
  • leveraged to gain insights and actions which are relevant and useful
  • managed in a way which is ethical and sustainable

But with challenges come opportunities. Some of the questions raised in the conversation are listed below.

  • How do you efficiently integrate data sets to best inform and drive decisions and outcomes?
  • How do you ensure the integrity of the data, and the causality of the data?
  • How do you measure input and impact real-time?
  • How do you ensure that the connections/correlations between data are both intelligent and important?
  • How do you integrate historical data to plan for today and project for tomorrow?
  • How can you make decisions with minimal data?
  • How can you extend findings from one scenario/industry/product/customer to others?
  • How do you protect the privacy and security of customers while providing layered access to various stakeholders?

Specific examples of use cases around data include the below:

  • databases of bloodwork to document rare diseases
  • data on image insights
  • algorithms to modify facial features so we can track people while respecting privacy
  • supply chain predictions based on algorithms of past and anticipated future demand
  • leverage data to make the invisible visible so that you can gain insights and better manage health and disease

The conversation was eye-opening as well as inspirational. Clearly data is at the heart of how we as leaders, as organizations, as human beings will grow and thrive. The challenge is WHO will do WHAT to better serve us ALL with data?

Automation Use Cases

October 8, 2021

FountainBlue’s October 8 VIP Roundtable was on the topic of ‘Automation Use Cases’, with opening remarks by Automation Anywhere. We had a diverse entrepreneurial group of executives who had a wide range of perspectives and experience around automation use cases.

We agreed that automation makes it possible to deliver exceptional, high-quality technical hardware and software solutions more efficiently. It will become as pervasive and prominent as spell-checkers, something that will be ever-present and understood. The question just becomes ‘who will implement which automation use case in what way(s) which drive what results around efficiency and excellence’.

Automation Process Improvement (API) continues to provide prominent use cases as it makes sense to automate the repetitive, redundant, tasks to software bots (‘software elves’) and robots who can more efficiently and accurately perform these tasks. 

  • Although this doesn’t mean that humans will no longer be needed, it does mean that humans should get trained and experienced in tasks which aren’t as easily automated.
  • Some tasks are attended, and some unattended. Each task is managed by humans, providing reports on their work to humans. 
  • It also means that there’s a huge opportunity to delegate tasks which are redundant, hazardous or impractical to robots and software. 

Below are some thoughts on how to manage automation use cases:

  • If the bot or robot does the ‘wrong’, the program must be fixed so that the processes, the actions, the rules, must be changed so that they do the ‘right’ thing. 
  • Managers should learn about what the best workers are doing right, so that others can learn how to do work as efficiently and accurately. If it’s repetitive and redundant enough, the work might even be delegated to a bot or a robot.
  • Automation can be used to quickly identify and even filter out anomalies – products or solutions which do not fit the defined requirements. 

Below are some thoughts on some huge opportunities ahead:

  • From senior care to end-of-life care, automation in the healthcare space can ensure that regular procedures are performed to ensure a good patient experience.
  • Separately, there’s an opportunity for patients to more regularly and deeply connected with loved ones, even if it’s through online means.
  • Automation of robots and bots are currently successfully making 3D-printed robots to do specific things cheaper, faster, leaner.
  • Manufacturing centers may become smaller as the bulk of the product might be produced through automation, leaving the personalization/customization options for more specialized workers to do higher-end tasks.
  • AI is helping companies to more quickly understand the needs of the customer, and more quickly connecting customers to the support they need. 
  • Software and hardware product testing will continue to be largely automated. 

Then the conversation turned more serious. What are the ethical standards around automation? Will humans be replaced by robots? No is the resounding response. 

  • However, workers who have traditionally done the labor-intensive, low-skill, redundant work need to be skilled and trained enough to do work which can’t as easily be automated.

Humans will always be needed to 1) come up with original solutions, 2) represent multiple groups and individuals, 3) connect the dots in creative, original ways which aren’t necessarily based on logic and 4) be the ‘fall guy’, the responsible party should things go south.! See FountainBlue blog ‘Being Human in an Age That’s Digital’ https://fountainblue.blog/2016/07/12/being-human-in-an-age-thats-digital/

The bottom line is that automation will become ever more prominent, for it helps us all to more efficiently and effectively manage people, processes and products.

Power Optimization

September 10, 2021

FountainBlue’s September 10 VIP Roundtable was on the topic of ‘Power Optimization’, with opening remarks by PG&E.

We were fortunate to have a wide range of executives speaking on the challenges and opportunities around power optimization. It’s clear that our appetite for energy will continue to rise, and it’s clear that the infrastructure needs to be updated and upgraded in order to ensure access to reliable quantities of energy, preferably through sources which are renewable and less impactful for the environment.

Whether you’re looking at the energy challenge from the consumer or from the enterprise lens, there are technology, policy, and adoption challenges and opportunities around decarbonization, digitization and decentralization. There were many more questions than answers in this month’s conversation. Below are some of these key questions.


Decarbonization Challenges and Opportunities

  • What can we as consumers and as business leaders do day to day to manage our consumption, diversify our energy generation strategies, store and distribute energy, and keep energy levels reliable, safe and cost-effective, all while adopting sustainability-based business practices which decelerate climate change and support the earth?
  • What are the policy, technology, and infrastructure choices we need to make renewables options more attractive, more reliable, more efficient?
  • How can we better ‘educate’ decision-makers on the impact and ripple effect of their ongoing energy choices?

Digitization Challenges and Opportunities

  • How can we better optimize energy usage so it impacts our bottom line as well as our sustainability goals?
  • What can we do to facilitate adoption of the digital solutions which would help automate software and/or motivate adoption?
  • How can we progress from leveraging Artificial Intelligence models and its ability to understand historical patterns of energy usage to Machine Learning models which might factor in circumstances which have not occurred historically?
  • How would access to the wholesale energy costs impact the day-to-day energy decisions of energy consumers?

Decentralization Challenges and Opportunities

  • What policy, technology, and process changes need to happen to grow and maintain the core centralized network, which is essential even as we decentralize?
  • How can we better manage the growing base of energy-generators so that we can optimally store and fairly and efficiently distribute that energy?
  • How can we proactively predict and manage downtime and failures given the distributed nature of the energy generation system, and the structure and requirements of the grid? 
  • How can we better design and architect hardware solutions for chips and devices which optimize energy usage? 

The bottom line is that there will be more people, and there will be more people using more technology needing more energy. The choices we make around how we generate and use energy will impact our future and our earth. Nobody has all the answers. And nobody can do it alone. But if we focus on the real data and the real challenges, perhaps together we can make progress on this increasingly important challenge and make it into an opportunity to better support ourselves and our earth.

Next Generation Wireless

August 13, 2021

Next Generation Wireless

FountainBlue’s August 13 VIP Roundtable was on the topic of ‘Next Generation Wireless’, with our hosts at Samsung. Although our executives in attendance represented a wide range of roles, organizations and industries, they all agreed that impressive developments in wireless technology and in infrastructure have helped the digital-philic consumers and businesses connect with each other and provide contact-free services. Indeed, without meeting tools like Zoom and delivery options for staples and meals, the pandemic would have made day-to-day life much more difficult.


Below is advice on growing the wireless market.

  • Focus on the problems affecting niche industries including education, healthcare, transportation, automotive.
  • Create the stable technologies and infrastructures and solutions that are foundational to successful implementation, and partner with trusted others to collaboratively address industry challenges.

Below are thoughts on upcoming wireless innovations.

  • Immersive experiences will be the next generation of wireless. These experiences will leverage technology so that the experience is more three-dimensional, simulating real-life. 
  • Sensors will become smaller, less power-consuming, more powerful, and more versatile at the same time. The challenge becomes how to integrate this plethora of sophisticated devices to manage/optimize functionality while protecting privacy, security and access.
  • Hardware innovations around consumer electronics will continue to ensure that users get access to more sophisticated solutions on their phones. 
  • Power innovation and optimization will be a key to drive wireless innovation.

But challenges remain.

  • How do we help ensure that we can all benefit from technology, bridging the divide between the haves and have-nots?
  • How do we increase compute and communication across private and public sectors, delivering a breadth of customized, scalable services when it’s difficult to envision the evolving needs of the customer?
  • How do we securely connect and fuel the devices on the edge and connect them with other devices and solutions so that people and things can respond real-time, especially when lives (and revenues) are at stake?

The bottom line is that convergence is happening – across technologies, across industries, across companies, across markets. The pandemic has amplified the speed of these convergences. Successful companies and leaders are providing the technology, connectivity, infrastructure and platform so that we can create customized programmable solutions which will enable and empower the way we live and work.

What’s Next in Hardware

July 16, 2021

What’s Next in Hardware

FountainBlue’s July 16 VIP Roundtable was on the topic of ‘What’s Next in Hardware’, with our hosts at Renesas. Although our executives in attendance represented a wide range of roles, organizations and industries, they all agreed on the following:

  • Hardware innovation has been accelerating as the pendulum swings back to the need for hardware to support the rampant innovations on the software side.
  • Use cases abound for both enterprises and for consumers. The trick is to drill down on a particular use case and address a problem which the market would fund.
  • The form factor must be smaller, while the functionality must be broader and more versatile. 
  • Digital, analog and power solutions will be integrated and optimized as we continue to innovate.

A key to effective hardware innovation is balancing privacy, security and access. Just as it’s impractical to design a house without windows or doors, we can’t design solutions which are absolutely secure with the utmost protections of our privacy while providing optimized access only to the approved parties all the time, every time.
Another key is the need to focus on real problems which need to be addressed, particularly when decisions need to be made quickly, when lives are at stake. Whether we quickly get more hardware at the edge, integrating with more distributed cloud solutions, or whether we leverage hardware to be more efficient and effective at work, more immersed and involved in life, the truth is that hardware innovations in the next few years will continue to be revolutionary and transformational.
Below are some highlighted opportunities for hardware innovation mentioned by our executives in attendance.
Edge Computing

  • Optimizing hardware solutions on the edge so that processing is more efficient and effective;
  • Designing wireless solutions which provide faster end points;
  • Providing drones to collect data such as gas leaks; 

Energy Management

  • Proactively managing energy efficiency and renewables at data centers and complex end points;
  • Providing low-power, hardware-driven connectivity for enterprise and consumer usage;

Sensing

  • Leveraging hardware to sense everything from light to heat to sound;
  • Designing augmented reality solutions for enterprise and consumer usage;
  • Replicating human senses such as smell and taste;

Integration Challenges and Opportunities

  • Reducing the weight and size of hardware, so that it can be more easily integrated into solutions;
  • Utilizing AI and ML to optimize custom hardware design so we can optimize durability, usefulness and manage risk and wear and tear; 
  • Replacing human functions with hardware and prosthetics;
  • Supporting the growth of the equipment-to-equipment, equipment-to-cell-tower 5G network; 
  • Stretching the capacity in memory so that we can process more information more efficiently; 
  • Offering Confidential computing solutions, embracing hardware as part of the security strategy.

The bottom line is that hardware innovation is a work in progress, with much at stake, as hardware continues to make software smarter. And it’s not just about the technology, just the hardware and software. It’s also about collaborations across organizations and policies and compliance requirements.Although the conversation this morning was eerily futuristic, it was also at the same time utterly real, and absolutely practical and prophetic, exciting and daunting at the same time. 

The Future of Work

June 11, 2021

FountainBlue’s June 11 VIP Roundtable was on the topic of ‘The Future of Work’, with our hosts at CITRIX. As usual, our participating executives represented a wide breadth of backgrounds and perspectives. We are all in agreement on the following:

The future of work was very much impacted by the pandemic for all participating executives, and everyone is scrambling to plan-fully and proactively address the current, projected and future needs of our workers, partners and customers. We don’t know what the future will hold, but we do know that leadership and communication will help us collaboratively design solutions which benefit all, and that iterating on the adopted strategies and plans will help us more progressively serve everyone.


Companies large and small of all ilks and industries have adopted the technologies, processes, support and resources to ensure that most of us are able to work harder and more productively now than ever – even though we are restricted from interactions and travel.We don’t know what the future will hold, but we do know that the productivity levels are not sustainable in the long term, as it will lead to burn-out and attrition.

  • We are all at various levels of returning to a hybrid form of work, and are all plan-fully considering who returns to the office and how the return will most productively benefit everyone.
    • We don’t know when and where this return will happen, but we do know that we need to proactively address, manage, and communicate the logistical, policy, infrastructure, safety, and other issues introduced by the return-to-work, and get buy-in and support for any return-to-work plan.
  • We all agreed that technology has been progressively and aggressively adopted to help us all work through the pandemic. But we also agree that no technology will ever replace the need for workers.
    • We know that we will always have both workers and technologies, but we aren’t sure how to best optimize each as we return to work. The plan will morph and flow over time as the technologies and the workers both become more integrated and more sophisticated.
  • We all agreed that this year-plus of working from home helped us all better connect with ourselves, our family, with nature, with our purpose. We all know that this will forever change the way we look at our work, and the choices and sacrifices we make for our work.
    • As leaders, we need to understand the motivations of our people, and ensure that we can speak to the purpose of why we do what we do, and how we add value to our team, our company, our customers, our future, our customers. 
  • We all experienced how the pandemic made us feel both so isolated and yet so commonly human. As we return to work, we are all strategizing on how we can feel more deeply connected with each other so that we can better serve each other. 
    • Work leaders need to facilitate that communication to drive that connection between team members and company leaders at all levels.
  • The topic of privacy, security and access was prominent prior to the pandemic, and will become even more as we return to that next normal. 
    • Proactively managing that balance as we enter the next normal will remain an ongoing challenge.


Below is advice on how we can better do any of the above.

  • Take advantage of opportunities to have serendipitous discussions with your team, your partners and your customers. Building deeper relationships beyond work will not only help you with your work, it will also help you be more happy, more human.
  • Look for opportunities to manage beyond the silos of groups, apps or organizations. There will be many bleed-overs of each as everything becomes more integrated, more complex.
  • Choose and adopt best practices for the good work you do. Celebrate victories and successes and learn from each.
  • Be proactively protective of your mental health, your personal time, and encourage your others to do the same.
  • Build ecosystems and relationships which will support you personally as you grow and develop.
  • Be flexible about what you expect and how you and others respond to what they experience.

The bottom line is that we can all see the opportunities in the challenges, be more confident despite the fear, when we look at the future of work, if we continue to focus on leadership and innovation goals.

AgTech and FoodTech Innovations

May 14, 2021

FountainBlue’s May 14 VIP Roundtable was on the topic of ‘AgTech and FoodTech Innovations’, with our hosts at Honda. As usual, our participating executives represented a wide breadth of backgrounds and perspectives. The biggest takeaways are around the range of innovations for agtech and foodtech. Technology is weaving its way into this slow-adopting industry.

  • Mobility and robotics solutions are doing everything from improving our supply chain to processing more efficiently, to managing the integrity of our production and manufacturing.
  • Planes and drones are collecting the images and other data we need to proactively manage the way we plant, produce, harvest, and distribute better quality crops and higher yields of crops.
  • AI and ML solutions are helping us optimize seeds, plants, crops as well as livestock.
  • Food science and agtech is helping develop quality protein from plants and even from microorganisms.
  • SaaS and digitalization solutions are helping manage things like crop health and food wastage – connecting a wide range of siloed stakeholders. 
  • End-to-end crop optimization solutions coupled with strategic partnerships in densely populated regions will help get quality food into the hands of hungry people in population-dense areas.
  • Food science solutions will help fortify the crops we produce, optimize seeds so that are more productive and nutritious, and help feed more people with fewer resources.
  • Proactively managing food production based on projected needs will help everyone across the ecosystem optimize distribution and minimize waste.
  • Understanding the taste and quality of a seed and a plant before it is reaped helps farmers plan their planting and pricing while helping markets influence availability based on preferences.

We have come a long way, but there are still innovation opportunities ahead. It’s clear that our executives in attendance will continue to excel at leveraging their diverse experience to transform industries, provide value, while collaborating to amplify impact.

Leading Industry 4.0

April 9, 2021

FountainBlue’s April 9 VIP Roundtable was on the topic of ‘Leading Industry 4.0’. As usual, our participating executives represented a wide breadth of backgrounds and perspectives. The conversation focused not just on the supply chain, process improvement, automation and robotics which are typical for Industry 4.0 discussion, but also focused on the data management and strategy around it.The first comments are of course about the increasingly larger volumes of data and the increased pressure to respond more quickly and more strategically based on that data. Below are some best practices on how to successfully manage that data.

  • Collect data for strategic reasons, focused around corporate goals, around customer current and anticipated needs, market trends.
  • Create and reinforce a culture where data share and best practice sharing is the norm, where everyone helps everyone else solve problems and make decisions.
  • Share your data and your learnings with other products, other divisions, other organizations, etc., but use your best judgment to ensure that you maintain a competitive advantage and are engaged in win-win collaborations.
  • Analyze the data anomalies as they may point to opportunities or current or pending challenges.
  • Move from Reactive to Proactive mode, going beyond generating and reporting on data, but looking beyond and beneath that to address questions such as
    • what are the data trends
    • what are the implications based on data
    • what are the underlying causes for the data
    • what kinds of decisions should we make based on data

Below are additional best practices for managing Industry 4.0.

  • Add value across the value chain within and across companies, products, roles and geographies. The more of the right partners and leaders participate, the more value for all. 
  • Focus on both the performance of the hardware/software/solution while also ensure that the user interface is intuitive and meets the preferences and needs of the targeted profile audience.
  • The more energy and power you can channel the better, within reason, but make sure that you’re focused on solving the problem and creating the solution which fits your corporate goals and your customers’ needs.
  • Think ahead at all the things which might impact how you can custom-design, create, distribute, manage, support, etc., your solutions to manage the ripple effect. We all learned the lesson about the well during the pandemic 
  • Look not just at the data generated real-time today, but also at the decades of data we’ve amassed to help us better manage the needs of others.
  • With that said, the need for privacy, security and access is of primary concern. No solution is complete and effective without folding in these elements.
  • Look not just at how products are manufactured, but look also at how the innovations around Industry 4.0 will help leaders from all industries better deliver exceptional value to their very demanding customers. 
  • Leverage the latest technologies to keep current, realizing the impact of Industry 4.0 advantages, including Digital Twin and 3D Printing, data analytics, robotic automation, etc.,

Industry 4.0 is in its infancy, as we work to be more efficient while being more excellent, leveraging technology and collaboration. The challenge has been how to vacillate between looking at the strategy and big picture while also focusing on the weeds of the data, the details of the process, the needs of the individual customers and each individual person involved in delivering customized solutions for these customers. 

Resource: https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/americas/building-a-more-competitive-us-manufacturing-sector