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Archive for the ‘Innovations’ Category

Programming cells may soon become as easy as programming a computer. Just as computer software designers create programming for computers, scientists have created a programming language that allows them to design DNA-encoded circuits that can give new function to living cells.

Using this language, anyone can write a program for the function they want, such as detecting and responding to certain environmental conditions. They can then generate a DNA sequence that will achieve it.

“It is literally a programming language for bacteria,” says Christopher Voigt, an MIT professor of biological engineering. “You use a text-based language, just like you’re programming a computer. Then you take that text and you compile it and it turns it into a DNA sequence that you put into the cell, and the circuit runs inside the cell.”

In the new software — called Cello — a user first specifies the kind of cell they are using and what they want it to do: for example, sense metabolic conditions in the gut and produce a drug in response. They type in commands to explain how these inputs and outputs should be logically connected, using a computing language called Verilog that electrical engineers have long relied on to design silicon circuits. Finally, Cello translates this information to design a DNA sequence that, when put into a cell, will execute the demands.


The good thing about it is that it’s very simple, without many of the intricacies often encountered in programming.

“You could be completely naive as to how any of it works. That’s what’s really different about this,” Voigt says. “You could be a student in high school and go onto the Web-based server and type out the program you want, and it spits back the DNA sequence.”

For now, all these features have been customized for the E. coli bacteria, one of the most common in studies, but researchers are working on expanding the language to other strands of bacteria.

Using this language, they’ve already programmed 60 circuits with different functions, and 45 of them worked correctly the first time they were tested – which is a remarkable achievement. The circuits were also strikingly fast, and the whole process promises to revolutionize DNA engineering. Before, it could take months or years to design such a circuit. Now, it can be done in less than a day.

Dr. Voigt’s team plans to work on several different applications using this approach — bacteria that can be swallowed to aid in digestion of lactose; bacteria that can live on plant roots and produce insecticide if they sense the plant is under attack; and yeast that can be engineered to shut off when they are producing too many toxic byproducts in a fermentation reactor.

What do you think about this rapidly developing revolutionary computer industry? Can it replace drugs and medicine in future? Can it help to cure cancer and AIDS? Will it make a living cell immortal?

Please feel free to share with us your opinion and thoughts here below.


Katerina Kviatkovskaya

Katerina Kviatkovskaya
Skype ID: kate.kviatkovskaya
Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

Over the last half century, managers have faced one wave of information technology innovation after another, each promising to change the way companies do business. Sometimes this even happened:)
The need for IT innovation leads to an obvious question: How can we encourage IT to be more pro-active in being originators of innovation? After all, for years IT has understood itself as strictly a support function that only responds to the explicit and implicit demands of the business. But there is just too much brain power in our IT organizations for us to ignore its potential larger impact on the business. As IT managers, we have to take steps to make sure we use it for something other than just optimizing database performance and storage capacity planning.

Here are three simple suggestions for stimulating IT people to think more about how they can help your business innovate:

1. Ask for it. Few IT people have any sense that the business is interested in their ideas, despite the fact that they know more about Smartphone apps, social networking, and big data than anyone else at the company. A good first step is to let them know that their ideas would actually be welcome.
2. Recognize it. The first few suggestions you get from your IT staff may not be game-changers. But, it makes sense to encourage more and better thinking about business innovation by recognizing the effort people are making to contribute to the success of the business. Post suggestions to give them visibility and let others add their own comments and criticisms.
3. Reward it. Innovation can have a powerful positive impact on company performance and it makes sense to offer powerful positive incentives for coming up with such innovation. Yes, this can include cash.

Of course, IT people should also be encouraged to be excellent at their primary responsibilities as well. Are you doing anything to stimulate creative thinking about the business in your IT organization?

Best Regards,
Kristina Kozlova
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

Now that the initial iPad furor has died down a bit, it’s time to speculate about what comes next from Apple. Here is a round-up of the latest rumors and educated guesses about upcoming Apple tech products. No matter how many splashy product announcements Apple makes, there’s always the promise of something new and game-changing around the corner. Below there are a few of the latest whispers and speculation about pending versions of products and even brand new products.

MacBook Air
Rumors are flying about Apple finally releasing a 15″ MacBook Air (currently, 11.6″ and 13.3″ models are available). If true, then it might change the plans of those planning to buy a new 15″ MacBook Pro. There have also been rumors, off and on, about an even larger 17” model. Most of this speculation is fueled by “anonymous sources” that are affiliated with companies making Apple components. It’s pretty likely that we will see a 15″ Air as early as April.

MacBook Pro
Most of the speculation surrounding the Pro line is the probable plan to merge with Air at some point in the future. Maybe it’s just a matter of semantics whether the anticipated 15″ MacBook Air is, in fact, just a “slimmed down” Pro that loses its optical drive, but technically retains the “Pro” label. The picture is pretty blurry right now, and we may not know until the official announcement from Apple actually occurs this spring, but both lines are due for refreshes.

iPhone 5
The latest thing here is the speculation that the new iPhone will have a 4.6″ Retina Display (up from 3.5″) that will allow more room to update chips.

The iWallet is pretty interesting — an e-commerce solution that would provide real-time authorization of transactions by the cardholder. There are also figures illustrating an iTunes MobilePay interface. Here is the description: Apple’s invention covers an electronic device that will be able to deliver real-time authorization of cardholder-not-present transactions. The electronic device may be a handheld device, such as an iPhone or iPod touch, or it may be a computer such as an iMac or MacBook Pro. Regardless of the form the electronic device takes, the device may run an application enabling a cardholder to approve or decline cardholder-not-present transactions in real time, near real-time, or after the transaction is initially authorized or settled. That is, in addition to a card transaction being sent to an issuing bank for approval, details of the transaction may be sent to the cardholder for approval before the transaction is authorized. If the cardholder doesn’t recognize the transaction, it may be declined immediately, thereby preventing the cardholder and the merchant from becoming victims of identity theft.

Have your heard something about Apple’s plans? Please, share below.

Kind Regards,
Lina Deveikyte
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

No surprise that ideas change with the time. The same is happening to Lean Startup concept in IT.

In the times of first Agile Manifesto we have valued:

–         Individuals and interactions OVER processes and tools,

–          Working software OVER comprehensive documentation,

–          Customer collaboration OVER contract negotiation,

–          Responding to change OVER following a plan.

Now that’s not enough. Look, this is a new concept for operating in today’s environment:

–          Team vision and discipline OVER individuals and interactions,

–          Validated learning OVER working software,

–          Customer discovery OVER customer collaboration,

–          Initiating change OVER responding to change.

Do you already adhere to these new principles?

Will be interesting to hear your experience here.

Helen Boyarchuk
Altabel Group – professional software development

Lots of people say they are eager to do a startup, but few people really do. You’re giving up security for a chance to lose a lot of money, your own or borrowed, and that can be humbling and scary.

However hard you think launching a startup is, it can be way tougher than that – times 10.

The managing director of Altabel Group, a company which mainly works with startups, is running his own Linkedin group “IT start ups – innovate together” and definitely has some thoughts to share on this topic:

1. When you leave a position in a big and stable company to create your own startup, many people including former coworkers and family, will think you’re slightly unhinged. But if you never tried to do a startup company than most likely you have never tried to realize potential in full.

2. Hiring the right people is critical and sometimes the people you most need to convince aren’t the ones you’re actually going to hire. Startup is all about people on the team, and overall idea behind it.

3. The most valuable hires can come up from anywhere and their CVs at first may even raise doubts. Generally start ups do not have HR department, which too often screens out people without the “right” background. You should be anxious for getting best from each member of startup and seek for candidates you could get the most from.

4. You’ll need to be flexible however and whenever possible. You should be flexible while brushing up your idea for startup, and be ready to adjust your idea according to the circumstances.

5. When running a start up you are likely to have both moments of triumph and moments of despair. And they come and go so fast, and only your team mates may understand the feeling appearing at that. You should be ready to survive hard times and keep your operational expenses as low as possible even during good times – just to be ready and have reserves for hard times.

6. You’ll need to gain respect at all times and finally some of the toughest critics will become your own peers. You should build up self-confidence and confidence around you so that you and your team could think freely and be creative in all aspects of startup development.

7. Just when you think you’re on the rocket ride up, it can all come crashing down, and you’ve to work hard and fast and think on your feet to force it back up again.
You should not be over-confident when working toward certain goals. You should always be ready to adjust your ways.

8. You’ll meet familiar faces in new and surprising roles. You should discover new potential capabilities in your team and your idea and let them grow and develop continuously.

9. The need to work hard and prove your ideas never stops because the race is never ending. I hardly know anybody in the startup world who gets relaxed while still in the race. You should work not only hard but smart, and be ready to be as smart as possible while working hard😉

10. If you are making progress, you owe it to everyone you worked with to support the team and the company you built. Be grateful to your team and your clients 

You’re welcome to share your experience and your thoughts on this topic 

Best Regards,
Kristina Kozlova

Follow the trend or create a new one? How company should act in order to be called innovative and pioneering?

Below you may find research-based action tips for improvement of innovation performance in your very company.

1: Conceive of innovation as a business discipline, and then manage and execute it systematically. Please make it an end-to-end uniform process, from insight development and idea generation to development and marketplace launch.

2: Craft a precise definition of innovation’s role in the overall corporate strategy based on the company’s industry, market, and competitive environment. Define specific goals. What innovations do you need to build a sustainable competitive position and what value are the innovations expected to generate? Make innovation definition broad enough to no one be let off the hook. It is perfect to end up in the situation when [innovation is about continuously finding new sources of value and therefore executives are looking at the processes they currently have in place for identifying new sources of value, setting up teams to explore and execute around those sources, managing the teams, and measuring results.]

3: Focus much more time and resources on breakthrough, long-term, game-changing innovation. Play for high stake delivering breakthrough innovations based on “big bet” initiatives and spend less time on incremental innovation that yields only short-term benefits.

4: Take more risks, reward failure, and encourage continuous improvement. Thinking big and acting big will lead you to breakthrough innovations. Cultivate such skills and make them a corporate culture. It’s vital.

5: Measure innovation performance and results as you do other business functions, such as marketing, strategy, and operations. Keep your eyes open all the time: track detailed, disciplined, and consistent metrics about innovation performance, measure past success and estimate the future market impact of new products.

6: Focus on the customer experience and less on technology. Zero in on a problem looking for a technology solution rather than a technology solution looking for a problem. Listen and hear the very voice of the customer. For this use ethnographic, best-practice observational customer understanding techniques. You can’t develop something just because a room full of engineers think it’s cool.

7: Embrace open innovation and open innovation tools. Use external sources as far as keeping all innovation activities within your company is a recipe for failure.

8: Encourage idea generation from everywhere, both inside and outside your company. Include everyone from the highest levels of the company to the lowest. Often the most innovative ideas are submitted by junior employees.

9: Consider appointing a chief innovation officer and setting up a uniformity of command for corporate innovation accountability. As per research [there is a direct correlation between the level of successful innovation within companies and the presence of a chief innovation officer or any responsible.] Designating an executive to be accountable and leading innovation execution report results in [dramatically higher satisfaction levels across all aspects of their innovation performance.]

10: Have a dedicated budget for innovation. You will need an adequate level of resources to fund the innovation infrastructure. Just appointing a chief innovation officer isn’t enough.

To sum up the above stated try to combine innovative sole and brains, thoughts and actions and you will be able to achieve growth through innovation. What do you think of this? Would you use these tips or just consider them to be high-flown words?

Welcome with your opinions!

Best Regards,

Helen Boyarchuk

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