Innovation is a much overused word in the electronics industry and innovation is closely associated with disruption. Both phenomena are always linked to a vision. Some come to pass, such as Arthur C. Clarke’s 1945 vision of geostationary satellites, and others such as Alex Lewyt’s 1955 revelation of a nuclear-powered vacuum cleaner may never come to fruition.
Great visions are often counter-intuitive, scary or just plain annoying.
However, many of us seek such ideas (and invest significant amounts of money) to help drive businesses, re-elect governments and improve people’s lives. Whatever we seek, we have to react to disruption when it happens, as too many good ideas have simply withered on the vine due to the risk associated with being different. We have to believe in people like Alan Turing and back them in their time, not wait for periods when the appetite for risk is driven by less savory catalysts, such as war.
Technology has the opportunity to help people, and that is enough. The question is, which disruptive technologies should we back and how should we do it?
What excites me at the moment?
Click on image to enlarge.
Simply put, it is the building blocks of the future – things that can really improve people’s lives. For example, a contact lens that includes an integrated circuit developed by the University of Washington and a flexible, organic transistor from the Japanese Science and Technology Agency that can withstand sterilization and be implanted into the body are both initiatives that have great potential to improve peoples’ lives.
Similarly, a biocompatible material from Scandia National Laboratories that allows nerve fibers to grow and act as a junction with prosthetic limbs is an exciting prospect.
The next generation of energy-efficient technology must also be encouraged, such as a the joint initiative between Georgia Institute of Technology and Xiamen University to develop TiO2 nanorods on carbon fibers, allowing solar cells to be woven into clothing.
Developments like these will drive the Internet of Things and transform what we view as a product or a service and enable a new wave of growth.
I am also excited about the prospect of augmented reality, as I believe it has the ability to change the way we interact with the world and this enables new products, form factors and the services to support them. People are interested in an improved, evolving user experience and the success of Microsoft’s Kinect has illustrated this appetite.
The commonality in all these things is partnership. Disruption is not exclusive to technology. The business model introduced by ARM two decades ago, based on partnership, was viewed by many as disruptive.
However, today I am proud to work with the leading organizations in the world to back and invest in disruptive technologies that will make a real difference, driving the kind of sustained innovation that has become indicative of the ARM ecosystem.Mike Muller was one of the founders of ARM. Before joining the Group, he was responsible for hardware strategy and the development of portable products at Acorn Computers. He was previously at Orbis Computers. At ARM he was Vice President, Marketing from 1992 to 1996 and Executive Vice President, Business Development until October 2000 when he was appointed Chief Technology Officer. In October 2001, he was appointed to the Board.