A. CONTACT INFORMATION
Contact me by phone or email listed. On 2013Jan08 I had time available to take on additional work. The best time to reach me is from 1pm-10pm PST weekdays and 8am-10pm weekends. Also see my profile on LinkedIn.
B. WHAT I DO
Assist organizations to create valuable improvements and innovations through interdisciplinary expertise.
C. TOP TECHNICAL INNOVATION CONSULTANT ON GOOGLE
There simply aren’t many other independent technical innovation consultants with my range of expertise. Type “innovation consultant” plus energy or mechanical engineering or industrial design etc. into Google and my website will generally come up #1.
D. WINNER OF 2010 EUROPEAN INVENTOR AWARD
The European Inventor Awards are like the Oscars, but for inventors around the world. In early 2010, myself and Danny Epp, who I had worked with at Ballard Power, were nominated for this award. There are winners in four categories. In 2010Apr we flew to Madrid Spain and tied for the award for the top invention in non European countries. The 15 second acceptance speech I gave related to my #1 belief that the best innovations often come from multidisciplinary James Bond type inventors who work shielded from organization bureaucracy.
E. SYNERGY IS THE ROUTE TO GREATER INNOVATIONS
One of the primary reasons some innovations are more successful is because they are based on a greater amount of interdisciplinary expertise. The best seller book “Blue Ocean Strategy” supports this thinking. My knowledge of innovation and experience in many different specialized fields allows me to assist companies to create higher value innovations.
F. MAJOR 12 FIELDS OF EXPERTISE
▪Investigation: Asking the right questions is a skill I’ve acquired by being involved with a variety of projects and not being afraid to ask questions.
▪Imagination: Helping people brainstorm and evaluating alternate ideas more quickly is a talent I’ve developed by seeing both lot’s of failures as well as successes.
▪Realization: Developing complex ideas into real products can often be formidable but my knowledge of theory and practice has shown to be a valuable combination.
▪Analysis: Intuition can only go so far. My skills in various methods of logical analysis and recirculatory thinking techniques have been proven on many projects.
▪Mechanical Engineering: I have an extensive background in manufacturing, mechanical design, research, design studies, testing, prototype construction, drawing.
▪Energy Science: I’ve worked on projects that required knowledge in physics, chemistry, and biology but my specialty area is energy theory and technologies.
▪Industrial Design: Some companies do industrial design and engineering separately but I do them in parallel. This results in more valuable integrated products.
▪Management: I’ve been in management positions and understand what leadership, strategy, planning, government, and financing are all about.
▪Marketing: While I’m very familiar with concepts like test marketing, focus groups, and marketing slogans, my main focus is developing highly valuable ideas.
▪Economics: I’ve developed many products working backwards from the price point. Every nut, bolt, and decal needs to be accounted for.
▪Intellectual Property: My specialty is patent analysis but also work with patent drafts, design patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, licensing agreements.
▪Innovation Methods: Synergy and innovation do not just happen because of a desire, it is the result of various innovation methods, knowledge, experience, and talent.
G. SOME SUCCESSFUL PROJECTS AND PREDICTIONS
▪On one project I was able to obtain approximately 50 times more patent coverage than the patent attorney thought possible.
▪A diaphragm pump, which previously could only pump thin paint, could pump thick roofing emulsions and abrasive road paint after my redesign.
▪Several years ago I suggested to a client that ethanol would become a major fuel in the future. Ethanol has become a major fuel and this company is now in the process of building a pilot plant using a thermo catalytic process.
▪While working for a city bus manufacturer, I designed and illustrated a new style of low floor bus in my spare time. Co-workers considered it somewhat radical at the time but now this is the standard.
▪A snap together plastic construction system I developed was considered too complex to injection mold or even work according to most injection mold designers. The design worked above everyone’s expectations and could be manufactured with a simple mold.
▪A new fuel cell design I was responsible for had a 600% increased power density potential and was used on the first Ballard bus. The design I chose was a carefully calculated gamble which paid off. It was developed and put into production over the course of only a few months.
H. A SAMPLING OF INNOVATIONITIS ISSUES I HELP SOLVE
▪Investigatoritis: Columbo is a TV series, starring Peter Falk as Lieutenant Columbo, a homicide detective who wins most of his cases by having the murderers answer strange questions. One of the reasons why many innovations fail is due to people being too afraid to ask enough questions, thinking that asking questions will make themselves sound stupid, negative, or not wanting to get on with “real work”.
▪Designeritis: Real flying saucers have actually been in development for almost 80 years in Nazi German, Canada, and elsewhere. But all designs proved to be impractical and inefficient. Engineers had limited themselves to working on only two favorite designs. Recently an old forgotten idea was revived and this is showing great promise. One of the biggest problems in developing new ideas is that people think that their present inspirations are so special.
▪Intuitionitis: Early Newcomen steam engines were only 0.5% efficient. These early designs were based mostly on people’s intuition. Sadi Carnot believed in conservation through analysis and discovered the theory of heat engine efficiency. The diesel engine was likely the first engine invented on the basis of these theoretical concepts and even the first working prototype was 26% efficient. Many innovations fail to be truly valuable because people focus too much on intuition.
▪Marketingitis: The Ford Edsel has been called one of the biggest mistakes in automotive history but interestingly it was introduced with the kind of fanfare that has seldom been seen in the auto industry before or since. Focusing sales efforts on marketing and spending too little on developing valuable innovations often backfires.
▪Positivitis: The principle of the fuel cell was developed by William Grove in 1839. Now, almost 170 years later, fuel cells are still barely penetrating the market. Are fuel cells unworkable? Probably not. The fuel cell industry however has been plagued with too much hype and has made the task seem too easy even within their own ranks. The book “Good to Great” suggests that all successful companies also need to “face the brutal facts”.
I. GENERAL TECHNICAL EXPERTISE AREAS
▪Energy sources: Geothermal, solar, hydro, wind, biomass, fossil, nuclear, tidal, wave
▪Power technologies: Fuel cells, semi fuel cells, bat-teries, gas turbines, steam turbines, Otto, Diesel, Stirling, Brayton engines, thermoelectric, cogeneration, MHD, transmissions, hybrid drives, wind turbines, pumps, so-lar PV, solar thermal, tidal, wave, geothermal, and hy-dro powerplants, nuclear fusion, fission
▪Fuels: fuel synthesis, gasification, garbage, biomass
▪Consumer products: furniture, clothing, medical, er-gonomics, toys, electronic devices, household goods
▪Transportation: Bicycle, car, truck, train, bus, rapid transit, airplane, submarine, ship, boat, roadways
▪Buildings: Design, construction methods, green build-ings, heat pumps, air conditioning, refrigeration, ventila-tion, heat recovery, furnaces, boilers, lighting
▪Industrial products: sawmill, mining, oil, industrial, farm, manufacturing, water distillation, desalination
J. LEADERSHIP, PUBLICATIONS, PRESENTATIONS, PATENTS, AWARDS
▪Leadership: held several leadership positions
▪Presentations: training, speaking, workshops (some)
▪Magazine articles: (4) published
▪Patents: (4) granted
▪Internet: have extensive innovation website
▪Awards: Winner of 2010 European invention award for non European country category.
K. TECHNICAL SKILLS SUMMARY
▪CAD programs: 2D AutoCAD, 3D Mechanical Desk-top/Inventor, 3D Studio for rendering and animation
▪Scientific programs: MathCAD
▪Writing: letters, reports, books, manuals
▪Photography: still, video cameras, copying
▪Computers: Windows, Windows Mobile
▪Office programs: Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint
▪Desktop publishing: Indesign, Illustrator, Photoshop
▪Scientific lab: Skilled in laboratory testing work
▪Building construction: Skilled in a variety of trades
▪Mechanical: skilled prototype machinist, welder, fabricator, model maker, painter
L. SAMPLE INNOVATION SERVICES, EXPERIENCE, TRAINING
▪12 step innovation process: Develop highly valuable products, services, or organizations through use of all expertise fields.
▪Energy analysis: Developed novel 1st and 2nd law analysis techniques which are easy to understand. Applied these extensively on projects involving gas turbines, gasifiers, synthetic fuel production, and can apply principles to many other energy processes.
▪Energy conservation: My knowledge of energy theory, power technologies, and products allows me to easily see how to reduce energy consumption.
▪Powerplants: Have an extensive knowledge of a variety of powerplant technologies with the most experience in fuel cells and gas turbines.
▪Energy based products: Have extensive experience.
▪Patent weaving: A process of customizing an innovation with a mind to creating the most valuable patent and then weaving claims through known patents. Have some specialized training in this field.
▪Patent searching: Search prior patents for ideas or to determine if new idea is patentable or infringes.
▪Patent analysis: Analyze patents that are being written by patent attornies to determine how optimal they are.
▪Machine design: My experience is varied and should be useful especially where the work requires some research and a new approach.
▪Organizations: Make improvements, lower costs, reduce waste. Trained in operations management.
▪Manufacturing: Am familiar with many types of manufacturing equipment. Trained in manufacturing engineering.
▪Modeling: 3D product modeling, rendering, animation
▪Clothing: Design of innovative new clothing based on mass, heat retention, novel fasteners, dryabililty, looks.
▪Ideation phase: Lead brainstorming sessions.
▪Research: much of my experience is in this field.
▪Training: Innovation, intellectual property, energy workshops, training, tutoring, teaching, and speaking.
1974-present Completion of college, additional courses, self study, and experience.
My education is a collection of long term formal training, individual courses, seminars, workshops, correspondance courses, and considerable self study composed of mechanical engineering, production engineering, thermodynamics, energy science, energy technologies, classic physics, quantum physics, relativity, calculus, chemistry, biology, operations management, manual drafting, 2D & 3D computer aided design, animation, rendering, industrial design, photography, computers, office programs, desktop publishing, art, technical illustration, periodical writing, movie production, video script writing, machining, welding, electronics, woodwork, construction, green building design, transportation design, intellectual property, license agreements, marketing, finance, communications, management, government policy, thinking techniques, and innovation methods.
1988-present Ben Wiens Consulting Inc.
Some of my clients have been: Ballard Power (fuel cells), C&C Technologies (long range submarine drives), Alidan H2 (high efficiency power plants), Silvatech (hybrid drives), Tekion (formic acid fuel cells), Essential Innovations (semi fuel cells), Linkers (snapfit building system), Mogas Fuel Systems (natural gas vehicles), Syntec Biofuels (biomass to liquid fuel), Storkcraft (furniture design), Universal Toolcraft (innovative tools), PowRTools (detonation powered tools), Webtech (heat pipe dryers).
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Ben Wiens Consulting Inc. Metro Vancouver BC Canada