Case Study: Innovation by Observation: NanoTouch Technology

Case Study: Innovation by Observation: NanoTouch Technology

BUS 365

Creativity & Innovation

Innovation by Observation: NanoTouch Technology


Self-awareness is the perceived understanding of one’s own feelings, character, desires, and motives. Nanotech is a manipulation of matter on an atomic, molecular, and supramolecular scale. NanoTech Technology has a NanoSeptic self-cleaning screen that may just look like a thin sticker on a door handle or surface. However, those stickers employ a self-cleaning technology that can last up to a year.

Knowledge plays an important role in producing creative breakthroughs. What knowledge contributed to the aha moment? The two found themselves engaging in a discussion about the latest research being done in the fields of materials science and nanotechnology when the pair noticed a man approaching the front door of the restaurant and catching a sneeze in his hands. Instinctively, the inbound patron outstretched those germ-laced hands, clutched the door handle, and entered the building.

What skills prompted Sisson and Hackemeyer to extend their scan? The ideas that sowed nanotechnology were first presented in 1959 by renowned physicist Richard Feynman in his talk “There is Plenty of Room at the Bottom,” in which he described the possibility of synthesis via direct manipulation of atoms. The company also leveraged its observation skills to explore opportunities to apply its new technology in the world.

Application Questions: Doing

Spradley identifies nine dimensions ethnographers use to structure their observation. Applying these dimensions, what other observations could Sisson and Hackemeyer have made? August 21, 2008, there are over 800 nanotech products publicly available, with new ones hitting the market every 3–4 per weeks. Most utilization is limited to the use of “first generation” passive nanomaterials.

In a conversation, when completing a research survey, you might find yourself presented with a series of questions both open-ended and closed-ended. Open-ended questions are those who require more thought and more than a simple one-word answer. Closed-ended questions are those which can be answered by a simple “yes” or “no.” Sisson and Hackemeyer could have asked several open-ended questions like;

What are the most important areas to keep clean?

How exactly do you confirm what areas need to be cleaned?

How do you decide which cleaning products are best for the job?

Thinking Ahead: Being

Using what you learned from the Sisson and Hackemeyer case study, what might be some products, services, or processes in your work or educational context that could be improved? I have always thought that electronically signing documents for Real Estate would be useful. A typical Loan document for a home is over 70 plus pages that require a series of initials and signatures. Having these documents signed electronically will eliminate the need for printing and storing these large documents. Allowing the borrower to sign on the screen will force them to view more closely, by requiring them to scroll through the documents at a reading pace.


Kroeke, K. L. (2010). Alternate Interface Technologies Emerge. Communications of the ACM, 53(2), 13. Retrieved from

Puccio, G. J., Cabra, J. F., & Schwagler, N. (n.d.). Organizational creativity : a practical guide for innovators & entrepreneurs. Retrieved from

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