Want to make money with your data?

Please join xLab 
for a free breakfast discussion

Stephan Liozu, agent of disruption and author of the book, Data Monetization,
will share insight on how companies first need to design a value model and then create the technology around it.
Friday, February 22, 2019
8:00-9:30 am

Room 02, Peter B. Lewis Building
11119 Bellflower Road,
Cleveland, OH 44106

RSVP Today

If you cannot be there in person, you can also sign up here for a live stream video.


Stephan Liozu will discuss how companies scramble to invest in IoT, AI, other digital investments because the digital revolution promises trillions of dollars in created value by 2030. Yet most companies struggle to monetize the data from those investments.

Proving the point, Cisco reported that 60% of IoT Initiatives stall in the Proof of Concept phase and that only 26% of companies have had an IoT initiative that they consider a success. In 2017, Siemens also revealed that less than a fifth (18%) of surveyed companies analyze more than 60% of production data they collect.

Finally, Simon-Kucher & Partners (SKP) reports that 3 out of 4 firms that invested in digitalization in the past 3 years fail in their efforts due to the lack of monetization strategies, a focus on the wrong priorities, lack of customer intimacy, and neglect of digital pricing best practices. In fact, only 18% of these firms are true digital heroes.

Launching xLab

The primary reason I returned to Cleveland 2.5 years ago was a simple conviction that one of the biggest crises and opportunities of our time is the digital transformation of the old economy. What we have seen so far is just the end of the beginning. What we will see will likely come from the transformation of the old economy. And, we have plenty of them here in Cleveland! When it comes to digital transformation, it is one target rich area. That’s why I came back to Cleveland and why I remain excited about being here.

This year, I am officially launching xLab@Case. It is a hub of an ecosystem of established firms, entrepreneurs, inventors, students, and scholars to foster digital transformation of the old economy. In the coming weeks and months, I will write more about what we do at xLab. So stay tuned.

xLab logo final

How might we add an audio layer in everyday life?

We are surrounded by all sorts of sounds all the times. Some we choose; some we don’t. We set an alarm clock. We set up music playlist for our exercise. We choose podcasts for our commute. We play music for dinner parties. In between those moments, we have down time. We are surrounded by sound (or noise) that we did not design. Some are oblivious; others are obnoxious. Also in between those moments, we switch devices. From an alarm clock, to smart phone, to our car audio system, and to smart speakers in our dining room. We juggle multiple accounts, multiple playlists, and multiple apps. Can we design and edit the sound around us all the time, across different contexts and different devices? This was one of the ideas that my students today…

A Tale of Two Stores

Store One: Office Max

I went to Office Max to pick up chairs that I ordered earlier. The store was almost empty. I was happy to see my chairs stacked up in the cash register area. I thought it would a quick stop at the cash register to pay for the chairs and leave. Perhaps 5 minutes total. 

There were two employees at the cash register. One was dealing with a customer who tried to get a refund. The other was trying to find a product that a customer wants to buy (if you buy a big item there, you bring a card from the floor to the cash register and they will bring to you). I was the first one behind these two customers. Lucky me, I thought! Well, not quite. The one customer at the cash register #1 did not seem to have receipts, and also got some type of discounts because she was a member of the "club". It seemed like a complicated return case and the cashier finally asked for a manager. When the manager came, three of them were going through the customers iPhone to find an email from the store. In the meantime, the line was getting longer, but the manager did not seem to be bothered by the growing line.  At the same time, at the cash register #2, the other cashier did not seem to be able to locate the product the second customer wanted to purchase. He was running around the store, while the customer was waiting. The line was getting longer and longer, some of the customers starting to complain loudly that the store should have more people manning the cash registers. (I wasn't one of them!) The customer at the register #1 noticed that she was causing a long delay behind her, and suggested that she might come back later. To my surprise, the cashier told her that the customer could walk over to the customer service counter where a couple of employees were just standing. I was asking myself, "why on earth didn't the cashier tell the customer to go to the customer service desk, in the first place? and why didn't manager act as a manager, but as a super cashier?" Finally, my turn came. The cash register #1 crashed; cashier asked me to come to the register #3. I left the store with the chairs. Total time wasted: 40 minutes.

Store Two: Apple Store

Then, I went to an Apple Store. The store was packed with people checking out the latest iPhone X. I wanted to pick up new iPhone cases for myself and my son. I went straight to the shelf to pick up two cases. All employees were busy talking to customers. So, I whipped out my iPhone, started Apple Store app, scanned the barcodes on the back of the cases, and used Apple pay to pay. I walked out with two cases in my hand. Total time experienced: 5 minutes. 


No wonder why the traditional retailers are dying. It is not technology. It is bad management. Apple is just good at using the technology to create good user experiences. 

Re-imagining our cities with digital innovation [Beyond]

This is my latest contribution to Beyond by the Weatherhead School.

Re-imagining Our Cities With Digital Innovation

Herbert A. Simon, the late management scientist and Nobel Laureate, argued that we are living in an “artificial” world, one that is shaped by man-made artifacts. Throughout human history, we have mobilized our collective power with increasingly powerful tools to transform the natural world to advance our civilization.


About electronic patient record systems

Existing solutions for electronic patient record systems fail because they begin with a wrong assumption. As I understand it, the original patient record system was invented by Mayo clinic in 1907. The idea is that for each patent, the hospital would create and maintain a central dossier folder for all medical records for an individual patient. Contemporary electronic patient record system is not much different from this ancient way of managing documents. We create an electronic repository for all patients in electronic form. Such records are however currently owned and managed by hospitals who created them. When patients do not move and keep their relationship with the same hospital for a long time, it may work just fine. However, as the patients mobility grows and they have to interact with so many different specialists, the old hospital centric patient record system must be replaced with a patient centric system. 

So, it looks like this. After each visit, the doctor will generate some type of record. Patients will collect that information (either via in paper or in digital) and store them in a cloud service in digital form. Hospitals and doctorals must request access to the patient data. Patients can also grant access to whomever they am willing to grant access to the data. It is maintained by a trusted third-party company who is primarily working for patients, not doctoral or hospitals. Patients’ subscription to the service can be covered by the insurance and more accurate information sharing can reduce the overall cost of healthcare service. Right now, if a patient want to move her doctor or hospital, the patient have pay a fee to get “her own data”. If she am in an emergency room in a remote country, there is very little chance that the doctors and hospitals there can access her medical information. Just like many other data from my life, medical data should be mine and primarily serve my interests. 

What is needed is not mere electronic replica of century old paper-based system, but rather new type of digital vault of personal data. The ownership of the data should be exclusively to the patients and their immediate family members. In old days, storing and maintaining large-volume of medical records at home was not safe or practical. With today’s digital technology, it is time to rethink about patient records and design a new system. 

digitalization of products and the changing landscape of design

Ever since the introduction of iPhone featuring a flat multi-touch screen that replaced physical keyboards, the scope of traditional industrial design on new product developments has been shrinking. Instead of providing physical interface, many companies opted to offer software-defined functions that make the product flexible and reprogrammable. For a typical smart phone, the work of industrial design is largely limited to the design of the frame, few buttons, back cover and some accessories like battery chargers and earphones. Compared to feature phones where industrial design defined the look and feel of the product, software now mainly define how smart phones look and feel. This led to the massive expansion of the role of UX design over the last 10 years.  

However, with the emergence of “smart” devices, wearables and Internet of Things, we are likely to see the return of industrial design as one of the key differentiators of products. In fact, we are likely to see a massive convergence of different design domains including product, fashion, and UX together with different domains of engineering including mechanical, material, electrical, and software to form a new foundation of new product development. In the past, a successful product development meant a tight collaboration between industrial design and mechanical engineering. Recently, this has been replaced with a collaboration between UX design and software engineering. In the emerging field of wearables and smart devices, however, companies will need tight collaborations among these six domains. So, from a design standpoint, it is not just whether design will lead the innovation process,  but which design domain will lead the process. Some companies will be led by physical domain team (industrial design + mechanical engineering + material engineering), whiles others will be led by digital domain team (UX design + software engineering + electrical engineering). Eventually, some companies might find more harmonious relationship between the two domains. Subtle differences among these options are likely to produce fairly substantive differences in the way firms approach to emerging market of smart products and their ultimate fate in the market. 

Apple’s recent hire of Marc Newson or its invitation of fashion editors, together with the fact that Jon Ives is an industrial designer (and the departure of Scott Forstall), all seem to indicate that Apple lets the physical domain design lead the digital domain. This is a stark contrast to companies like Google and Samsung where physical domain seems to take a back seat. It is likely that, however, these other companies will be forced to take industrial design seriously once again.

Another interesting case is the recent announcement by LG about the circular plastic slim OLED panel. This clearly is an engineering innovation led by the demand created by physical design, which will provide an opportunity implement clever UX options. As digital technology continues to penetrate deeply into the physical world, the crash between these two domains of design will only continue to rise. We will see this type of convergent design-engieering collaboration that encompasses both physical and digital domains as companies continue struggle to figure out exactly how to design these “smart” and wearable devices and what the hell they actually are. 

Photo2 lg displays circular p oled