Challenging the Unquestionable: The Future of Innovation

Hi, welcome! I’m Anas Alfarra, Intellectual Property Manager at Ossia, where I harvest inventions, write, file and track patents and trade secrets. I also manage outside patent council and integrate with the CTO office.  This means educating legislators such as the USPTO (United States Patent Office) as to the evolving nature of wireless power, the best practices of writing enabling patents in the competitive field of wireless power, and the industry at large.

Ossia is one of the few companies that seeks true innovation by challenging the unquestionable. I know, big statement. But I’m talking about world-changing, life-altering innovation that defines a new market, solves a critical problem and does it by forging a brand- new technology. This is why I joined Ossia—to truly disrupt the world through technology.

Disrupt how? Let’s start with a definition: Innovation is the process of creating something new that makes life better.

Historically, “something new that makes life better” was more of a fundamental discovery and less of an innovation because, simply, there weren’t very many discoveries. These discoveries are core to human existence.  You don’t have over-think it—discoveries like fire, the wheel, electricity, the automobile, or the Internet.

By contrast, in 2017, in contrast, innovation is mostly based on the integration of current and previous discoveries.  I’m talking about the evolution of an industry that started with black and white televisions and is now  soaring into augmented reality TV with live text interaction and  virtual reality headsets. In this era, we depend on previous solutions while still discovering new things that enable current innovations to rapidly progress.

You find your way to an exponentially powerful idea when it’s interconnected through multiple solutions and/or industries. Uber, for example, is a great solution currently valued at $80B and as one of the tech giants in the field. However, Uber would not exist today without the Internet, smartphones, integrated payments, social media connectivity, and GPS. And, looking forward, Uber was part of the innovation of a current market that will lead to the future of autonomous cars. (We all know of Uber’s investments in the autonomous car space!) You get the idea.

At the same time, lots of companies are iterating repeatedly on the same issue, or even manufacturing a problem through marketing to create a demand for new products. In other words, beware bogus innovation.

In 2017, the future of innovation is limited regarding new discovery and  depends on the integration of these very advanced discoveries. Current inventions around machine or deep learning, big data, and cloud computing are technologies built on the evolution of existing technology, even though they are growing exponentially. I love this article on the History of Innovation. It pinpoints the first-generation discoveries and inventions that drove multiple new innovations through the creation of an industry.

But we still seek and the world still needs original discoveries.  You won’t stumble on them on your average walk in the park, but these game-changers solve problems people didn’t realize existed because they accepted the status quo. No one dared to imagine and take action. That is what Hatem Zeine,  Founder and CTO of Ossia, did when he discovered how to send power wirelessly by using Radio Frequency. Ossia has developed the wireless power solution, Cota, to solve for the real-life hassle of having to frequently charge your small devices, and, further, to explore the possibilities around what can be invented if power, both wiring and storage, is no longer a constraint. The idea of Cota is possible because of a discovery in fundamental physics. Hatem wrote a great post on Why Wireless Power is the Killer App of the Future. Read and fall in love with the technology, like I did.

I’ll unpack this more in following posts. Look forward to discussing the future with you