How Millennials are Making me a MUCH Smarter Innovator

As a System Driven Innovator I am on a relentless personal quest for ways to get smarter.    This past week I have had two experiences where Millennials made me smarter - and in the process shifted my mindset on how to amplify by customer insight mining effectiveness. Experience 1:  Baby Boomer InterAct Session:   InterAct is an Innovation Engineering system of gaining feedback from possible customers/consumers.  It's like focus groups on steroids with four simultaneous groups - in the same room - fed with tons of stimulus.  The goal is to create a deep discussion of positives and negatives so to help the team think smarter about new ideas.   The process helps avoid the issues of confirmation bias, yea sayer, etc. that are known to occur in focus groups. Over the past few months I have done nearly a dozen InterAct sessions with Millennials with 4 different clients.  Last week was my first session with Baby Boomers in quite a while.  The differences between Boomers and Millennials was  immense.   Boomers gave prudent answers.  Practical, reliable and surface deep.  In contrast, Millennials were thinking, bold, brave, articulate and deep thinking.   With Boomers you could feel peer pressure influencing comments.  In contrast, Millennials had no problems being in conflict with the [...]

By |February 15th, 2016|1 Comment

LEAP Innovations are what ignite most CORE innovations

  In the innovation academic discipline ideas are often separated into two kinds.   They go by different names.  In Innovation Engineering we use descriptive terms calling the disruptive ideas "leap innovations" and the incremental ideas "core innovations." Research finds that for a balanced portfolio 85% of projects should be core innovations and 15% leap.  However, it also notes that 50% of profit growth comes from leap innovations. Recently I've been reading Thomas Kuhn's classic book  The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.  In the book he makes the point (my words not his) - that most "core" innovations are driven by the step changes caused by "leap" innovations.  From the book... Few people whoa re not actually practitioners of mature science realize how much mop-up work of this sort a paradigm (leap) leaves to be done....Mopping-up operations (core) are what engage most scientists throughout their careers.  They constitute what I am here calling normal science.    No part of the aim of normal science is to call forth new sorts of phenomena; indeed those that will not fit the box are often not seen at all.  Nor do scientists normally aim to invent new theories, and they are often intolerant of those invented by others.  Instead, [...]

By |February 9th, 2016|0 Comments

ACCELERATE – Ideas to Market Faster & With Less Risk – Free Webinar

Free Webinar - ACCELERATE - Ideas to Market Faster & With Less Risk This month's Brain Brew University webinar will teach the latest learning on how to organize your innovation work so to increase speed to market and decrease risk. This is based on the latest version of Innovation Engineering skills 25 and 26 as taught at Universities and at Innovation College Executive Programs. It is grounded in best practices based on analysis of over $11 billion in innovations. The webinar is this THURSDAY - January 14 at 11:00 AM EST. It is open to the public. To register for the webinar ACCELERATE - Ideas to Market Faster & With Less Risk on Go to https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2523493906643445249 After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. See you then   doug

By |January 11th, 2016|0 Comments

The reason I am hopeful about the future.

Friends, In a world of war, chaos, political theater, summer temperatures in December.... I am hopeful for the future. I'm hopeful because over the past year as I've taught Innovation Engineering on campus and off  around the world I've observed that   a spirit... a spirit of good, of discovery, of innovation. This spirit is driven by a curiosity to define, discover, develop and deliver innovations that make a meaningful difference to our organizations, ourselves and our world. The curiosity is enabled through the wonders of science. In April 2015, the astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson accepted the National Academy of Science's most prestigious award. His brilliant acceptance speech makes the argument for ensuring that science plays a big role in policymaking. Inspired by the short and eloquent Gettysburg Address, Dr. Tyson makes his case in just 272 words.   It's just  over three minutes... enjoy! You can see by clicking here.  Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Years to All Doug  

By |December 23rd, 2015|9 Comments

The Real Reason America Is Losing Competitiveness

The presidential election in the USA is a time where much debating goes on about the state of the nation. There is evidence that much of American industry is facing unprecedented pressure on profitability.  People believe that things are just not as good as they used to be.   Facts support this conclusion... "Invented in America" is indeed declining as today more USA patents go to people who live outside or were born outside of the USA. A possible root cause is a shift from a culture of people who innovate to one that manages. In working on my next book I found the graph below.  It's from the National Center for Education Statistics.  It indicates that since 1970 the percentage of bachelor degrees in the USA doubled for business and declined by 50% for engineering. Business management doesn't create profitability.  Innovations that are Meaningfully Unique creates profitability.   Proprietary breakthroughs - that the competition can't offer creates profitability. If you're not Meaningfully Unique you Better Be Cheap. Interestingly - despite declining by 50% Engineers are still more likely to achieve the CEO position in companies.  According to Spencer Stuart 33% of S&P 500 CEO's undergraduate degree was in engineering and only 11% in business administration.  The Harvard Business [...]

By |December 4th, 2015|6 Comments

Innovation Metrics – A State of the Art Advancement

A week from today on December 10 at 11:00 AM I will be presenting a webinar on a state of the art advancement in innovation metrics. Metrics can be invaluable in helping us improve our innovation system.  They can also destructive to employee motivation and project success rates if used improperly. The Eureka! Ranch and Innovation Engineering Institute teams have just completed an intensive research project on what drives innovation success as well as innovation culture change. The result is singular metrics for measuring and improving your Innovation System and Innovation Culture change efforts. The system has been researched, back tested and shared with members of the Innovation Engineering Community. On Thursday December 10 as part of the monthly Brain Brew University broadcasts - that provide Continuing Education to Innovation Engineering Black and Blue Belts we will review the thinking behind it as well as how to implement these advanced metrics. Normally Brain Brew University webinars are private.  We are opening this one to anyone given the high level of interest in the subject of Innovation Metrics.   AND, because frankly, we'd love to have your feedback to help us make it smarter. FAIR WARNING - I will be contradicting [...]

By |December 3rd, 2015|4 Comments

The secret to success is system leadership by the LEADERSHIP

The Innovation Engineering movement defines a system as Dr. Deming did, “two or more independent parts with a common aim.”  In the case of an organization this means two or more departments that are working together towards the common aim of the organization as a whole. Sadly, the average organization realizes “less than the sum of their parts” - together they realize less than what each department delivers independently.  This is because the departments first priority is on delivering their departmental metrics no matter what the consequences are to other departments or the organization as a whole. Good organizations are the “sum of their parts” - they realize an additive impact from the interactions of their departments.   There is cooperation and collaboration between departments.  The management of each department reacts to issues rapidly.  They are willing to sacrifice short term department results for the accomplishment of the overall aim of the organization. Great organizations are the “product of their parts” - they realize a multiplicative impact from the interactions of their departments.  This is because they have a proactive innovation culture.   Employees anticipate customer needs and the needs of other departments.   Good organizations innovate to problem solve [...]

By |November 24th, 2015|9 Comments

Life is short – do something that matters today!

Late last night I read this quote “These days I think you’ve got to talk about your value proposition - why are you so proud of your product?  And you’ve got to communicate that pride in ways that add up to a young generation that’s very well informed and very idealistic.  The young care about where products come from. They care about what the company that makes the product actually odes in the world - or not. But you an’t fake it.  You have to say, screw business as usual and just do it.” This from Richard Branson founder and CEO of Virgin What this means is..... ....we need to trust the value of the truth. ... we need to trust the value of doing cool SH#t that matters! We need to stop the marketing, the hype, the games and focus on making a meaningful difference in the world. So what are you waiting for? Get up, get out, do something that matters today!

By |November 10th, 2015|0 Comments

Jeff Bezos – on being bold

“One of my jobs is to encourage people to be bold.  It’s incredibly hard.  Experiments are, by their very nature, prone to failure. A few big successes compensate for dozens and dozens of things that didn’t work.  Bold Bets - Amazon Web Services, Kindle, Amazon Prime, our third-party seller business - all of those things are examples of bold bets that did work, and they pay for a lot of experiments.   I’ve made billions of dollars of failures.  You might remember pets.com or kosmo.com.  It was like getting a root canal with no anesthesia.  None of this things are fun.  But they also don’t matter.   What really matters is, companies that don’t continue to experiment, companies that don’t embrace failure, they eventually get in a desperate position where the only thing they can do is a Hail Mary bet at the end of their corporate existence.  Whereas companies that are making bets all along, even big bets, but not bet-the-company bets, prevail. ” Jeff Bezos - Founder/CEO Amazon.com from an interview for the web site Business Insider

By |November 9th, 2015|0 Comments

INNOVATION – Whose Job is It?

When you start in a new job you quickly learn the boundaries.  You learn them from fellow employees and your boss. The boundaries are set based on the beliefs of the functional department you work in.   In most cases the foundation for these boundaries were first established when you were studying at college - finance - engineering - management departments. In most cases the "Aim" of the boundaries is to reduce chaos and mistakes.  "Smart Management" means no drama.   This can create challenges when it comes to innovations that are Meaningfully Unique. I do believe that 99% of managers understand that the company needs to innovate.  However,  also believe they feel it's not their job - it's not within their boundaries.  It is the job of specialists. The consequence of this view is that when the innovation team comes to a department with a NEW IDEA that requires the department to change, adapt or adjust - the innovation is rejected as it conflicts with the boundaries that the department has grown to accept. The net result is innovation stagnation - rework, redo and the slow death of innovations from bold innovations into incremental nothingness. To vaporize this stagnation the leadership must redefine the [...]

By |September 24th, 2015|0 Comments