Innovation Engineering Institute
Training, Tools and LMS eLearning content for
Colleges – Companies – Consultants & Individuals

Igniting Everyone’s Ability to
Work Smarter & More Innovatively

We believe, and our experience confirms, that within every person exists the ability to think, create and problem solve ideas for working smarter and more innovatively.

When a person believe “they can” impact their personal and professional life a chain reaction of positives occur: They are more engaged, more committed and quite simply happier with their life.

Nothing matches the excitement when employees individually or with their team problem solve a work frustration or create a fresh idea that makes a meaningful difference.

THE BARRIER: The barrier to working smarter is NOT desire. The desire to make a difference is fundamental to the human condition. The true barrier is a mindset that “I can’t create change”. This is caused by not knowing “how to.”

Until recently schools never taught students how to create – communicate and make real their ideas. Instead, students are taught the static content of math, writing, history, science, etc. What they need to know is a system, a validated process for creating ideas, problem solving, communicating their ideas to others, doing the math on the potential impact (savings, efficiency, growth, social impact) of their ideas and MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL – a system of project change management that increases speed while decreasing risk.

The Innovation Engineering Institute was founded based on the frustrations that teams at the Eureka! Ranch and University of Maine observed among employees, managers and leadership of organizations. It was clear that there was near universal agreement across levels of management for the need to change. It was equally clear that everyone was frustrated by the lack of action.

Formally the Innovation Engineering Mission was defined as:

To Change the World through Systems that Enable Innovation by Everyone
resulting in Increased innovation speed (up to 6x)
with decreased risk (up to 80%)

This is accomplished through

Training, Tools and LMS eLearning content for Colleges – Companies – Consultants & Individuals

What Makes IE Unique

3 Things Make Innovation Engineering Meaningfully Unique Versus Other Innovation Programs:

  • VALIDATED by COLLEGES & UNIVERSITIES: Unlike other innovation training programs that are based on opinions – Innovation Engineering is grounded in hard data on over 26,000 innovations, 100,000 innovators and a review of over 2,000 academic articles. The data is so rich, that IE courses are offered for credit at accredited colleges and universities. The curriculum is so significant our founder Doug Hall has received two honorary doctorates for his pioneering work transforming innovation from a random gamble to a reliable and reproducible science.
  • VALIDATED in the REAL WORLD: Unlike most education programs Innovation Engineering has been optimized in real world application. Today over $14 billion worth of innovations are in process using the Innovation Engineering mindset, methods and digital tools. When it comes to real world application our learners consistently see three points of difference that matter to them:
    • COMPLETE SYSTEM from Idea to Reality: Yes Innovation Engineering gives you methods for creating big ideas. But learners point to the fact that Innovation Engineering doesn’t “abandon them” with just a raw idea. The curriculum provides data driven methods and tools for helping them communicate / sell their idea and to commercialize / accelerate their idea into reality.
    • PATENTABLE Products / Services PLUS Systems for Busting Bureaucratic Work Systems: Learners of Innovation Engineering learn how to think faster, smarter and more creatively. And this involves not only close in “CORE” Innovations but also breakthrough, patentable “LEAP” ideas for products or services.. It’s also the only innovation system that provides step by step methods for improving your work systems and business processes as well as products.
    • Step by Step DOCUMENTATION: Innovation Engineering is the world’s only innovation system that comes with step-by-step documentation. This means you can spend your time learning during class rather than madly scribbling notes. We do this because we believe that if you can’t write out the steps of a method it’s likely that no one else will ever be able to replicate it.
  • COST EFFICIENTLY SCALABLE: Unlike “boutique” innovation training companies Innovation Engineering has been designed to be scaleable in a cost efficient manner. The Innovation Engineering network of providers provide train the trainer programs where your team teaches and certifies your executives and employees. Recognizing the unique needs of each company culture – we also make it easy to customize the courses so that they can be deployed across any size organization through any and all Learning Management Systems.

About Innovation Engineering

The idea for the Innovation Engineering Field of Academic Study and Leadership science was sparked by Eureka! Ranch founder Doug Hall on a 5 hour drive from his home in Springbrook Prince Edward Island Canada to the University of Maine in Orono Maine.

Doug was visiting campus to receive an award as an outstanding Chemical Engineering alumnus. He was extremely frustrated during the drive. He was coming off a series of Eureka! Inventing projects with multi-national corporations where the best ideas were shelved – and sub optimized selected – because of a lack of confidence in the client company’s ability to execute true innovations.

At a stop for gas Doug scribbled down the name Innovation Engineering meaning in effect “the science of applied innovation” basically “how to” actually innovate. As an example the study of “Chemistry” is about molecules and theory – “Chemical Engineering” is about application of those molecules and theory in the real world.

As he drove further he began to think about what the content would be. His first conclusion was simple – the need to approach innovation as a system of interconnected parts. System thinking was the foundation of Doug’s life. It was how he had shipped a record 9 innovations in 12 months at Procter & Gamble as the leader of the P&G Invention Team. It was also what his father M. Bradford Hall had taught him from his pioneering work with Dr. W. Edwards Deming – the legend that reinvented Japan after World War II and the western world’s approach to building quality, cost efficient products. 

Next he very roughly defined six courses:

  • IE FUNDAMENTALS – An overview of how to create, communicate and commercialize ideas
  • IE Advanced CREATE – A deep dive into every validated creativity and problem solving system
  • IE Advanced COMMUNICATE – A deep dive into persuasively gaining engagement by others
  • IE Advanced COMMERCIALIZE – a deep dive into how to go from idea to reality
  • IE SYSTEM LEADERSHIP – How to diagnose and reinvent human work systems
  • IE REAL WORLD – Direct hands on application of the learning

When he reached the University of Maine Doug was beside himself with excitement. Fortunately the University President Bob Kennedy along with Hemant Pedse, Renee Kelly and Jake Ward connected on the vision. And thus the idea for a new field of study was born.

Within a year – the first classes were taught, receiving very positive reactions. Concurrently the Eureka! Ranch team lead by Maggie Nichols began conversations with corporations about the need for executive education. The reaction was as positive as on campus. And thus a unique academic / industry collaboration was born.

Courses were developed and refined. A set of on-line tools for creating, doing research quickly, writing patents, gaining strategic alignment, improving ideas and even doing risk adjusted forecasting were created. Later as projects became complex a new form of project management was crafted that enabled never ending innovation during projects or Fail FAST Fail CHEAP cycles of learning as they became to be called.

In just a few years – amazing progress has been realized – $14 billion in active projects – over 45,000 taught and research that finds that the Innovation Engineering mindset can increase innovation speed up to 6x while decreasing risk up to 80%.
During 2020 – we will be expanding the reach and impact of the IE Network of colleges, corporations by making the content available for LMS eLearning platforms for all employees and through Train The Trainer programs.

In simple terms Innovation Engineering applies the system thinking of Dr. W. Edwards Deming to innovation, strategy and how organizations work together. For those who don’t know of Dr. Deming here’s a quick overview from Doug’s latest book Driving Eureka!.

Dr. W. Edwards Deming

Click Here To Read The Dr. Deming Story

In the early 80’s the western world was under stress because of the invasion of higher quality products from Japanese manufacturers.  The rise in Japanese quality was a result of applying systems thinking to the manufacturing of quality products.  They learned the systems thinking mindset from Dr. W. Edwards Deming, a statistician from Powell Wyoming.  Japanese industry was so thankful for Dr. Deming’s contribution to their economy they named their national quality award, the Deming Prize.  The Japanese Emperor awarded him the Second Order of the Sacred Treasure in recognition of his contributions to Japan.  Shoichiro Toyoda, the first president of the Toyota Motor Corporation described Dr. Deming’s impact on Toyota this way:  “Everyday I think of what he meant to us.  Deming is the core of our management.”

In 1980 the NBC television special “If Japan Can Why Can’t We.” featured Dr. Deming and the story of Nashua Corporation where the CEO, Bill Conway, had hired Dr. Deming to help him transform his company.   The TV special discussed Nashua’s success with applying Dr. Deming’s mindset to the company’s Carbonless Paper division.  It was a story I knew well, as my father, M. Bradford “Buzz” Hall,  had helped lead that project as Director of Central Engineering. 

Dr. Deming’s teachings are classically packaged today under brand names such as Total Quality,  6 Sigma, LEAN and the Toyota Production System.  Each has had, and continues to have, a transformational impact on factories.  

However, the factory was and is but a small part of Dr. Deming’s vision.  In his book The New Economics Dr. Deming wrote that the factory represented just 3% of the opportunity for company improvement, “the shop floor is only a small part of the total.  Anyone could be 100% successful with the 3 per cent, and find himself out of business.”    He felt that 97% of the opportunity for improvement from applying system thinking lay in applying it to innovation, strategy and how we work together.  

Just as Dr. Deming taught leaders how to transform manufacturing quality from a random act to a reliable science.  Innovation Engineering teaches how to transform innovation from a random act to a reliable science. 

Applying system thinking to innovation struggled because of a lack of system data.  In a factory it’s easy to gather data from production equipment.  Innovation is more difficult because it involves the interactions of “human systems.”

For over 30 years client projects at the Eureka! Ranch served as our a “laboratory” for conducting quantitative innovation experiments.   Two PhD’s and three statisticians measured people during the act of innovating.  We researched what separates successful from unsuccessful innovations.  The result is the largest quantitative data base on innovation system inputs and outputs in the world.  It’s real data, from thousands of real innovation projects, for the best of the best:  Walt Disney, Nike, Procter & Gamble, AT&T, Hewlett Packard and thousands of other companies large, medium and small whose names are not as familiar.  It is this quantitative database that makes the application of Deming’s work to innovation possible.

WHY THE NAME INNOVATION ENGINEERING?

The name Innovation Engineering precisely defines our purpose and mindset.

Innovation is about ideas that matter.   Creativity is the creation of the new and novel.  Innovation is about ideas that make a difference.  The difference can be new products/services, how we do our work or even how we ignite social change in our communities.

Engineering is about applied science.  There are many books and classes that preach the virtues of innovation.  Innovation Engineering is different – it’s a Blue Collar “hands on” collection of training, internet enabled tools and step by step methods for innovating. 

What We Offer

eLEARNING COURSES for LMS Platforms:

 The complete curriculum of 107 classes that make up the Innovation Engineering movement. It’s available as a collection that enables employees and executives to receive just in time learning in how to create, communicate and commercialize new ideas. It available by license to corporations, academic institutions, government and non-profit organizations.

Customized COURSES for LMS Platforms

We have seen ab exponential impact in engagement when we customize the example and language for specific industries and corporate cultures. The guiding principles remain the same. However, by “translating” to familiar language it becomes easier for employees, managers and leaders to learn and adopt. Special technologies make it very cost efficient to customize the courses and tools.

CERTIFICATION &/OR ACADEMIC CREDITS

The 107 Innovation Engineering Classes are organized into curriculums that lead to your choice of industry certification and / or academic credit. On campus and off they are taught both on-line and live in a classroom using our Cycles to Mastery® system that guarantees that all that are willing will learn how to innovate faster and with less risk.

TOOLS for INNOVATION ACCELERATION

This is a collection of over 50 digital tools that compliment the course learning. Tools range from: a) digitally enhanced versions of classic creativity tools such as check lists and matrix mixing to b) cutting edge tools like Triz, PICL and Spark Decks®, c) to artificial intelligence enabled concept writing tools, d) to point and click five year – risk adjusted forecasting tools, 6) to market research tools that cut time and cost by up to 90% to 7) a project management system designed to help accelerate the speed of innovation projects.

EVENTS KeyNotes and Workshops

A wide range of customizable options for education + entertaining lectures to interactive IE Workshops are available. In fact, each of the 107 classes can be delivered as a live event for your team or group.

Proof It Works

What makes Innovation Engineering different is that it’s clear that the methods and tools taught are crafted by people who’ve actually done it. It’s clear, it’s documented, it’s reliable, it works.

Mike Sirois

Chief Innovation Officer, High Liner Foods

Our speed to market has increased over 40% and our pipeline has been enriched by over 50%.

Mark Lerner

President & Chief Operating Officer, GOJO Industries

Since we’ve done (IE) we’ve been able to see improvements on our factory floor and in our product development.

Bill Matthews

Chief Executive Officer, Worksite Lighting

We’ve worked with a variety of companies ranging from Fortune 100 down to small local businesses.

Below are two case studies, one for a larger company and one for a small business.

Cintas shares 3 Lessons Learned on Innovating in Commodity Markets

Like every business, Cintas knows well that in commodity markets it’s important to innovate.  And now it was time to turn the focus to a product line we walk all over, mats.

“You might be thinking, ‘What can you possibly do to innovate mats?’  Well, it turns out, you can do quite a bit.” says Innovation Engineering Blue Belt and Innovation Leader for the Mats Category, Rich Bing.

With a strong start already, the internal excitement for the products and the category is growing.  “Mats has some real buzz.” says Rich.  “ We’re innovating in a category that most would think is impossible.  But with stimulus, fast rounds of experimentation and being flexible and adaptive with our idea as we learn – we’re winning in the marketplace.  And that’s exciting.”

Polymet Applies Innovation Engineering to drive $5MM of Value

Polymet decided to engage with TechSolve (an Innovation Engineering Network Partner) to help them implement the Innovation Engineering Operating System. Initially they created alignment by identifying the Very Important Opportunities and the Very Important System Issues that existed within the company. Next, Create Sessions were conducted to develop meaningfully unique ideas to address the opportunities. A few ideas were picked to go through the Fail Fast, Fail Cheap Innovation Engineering Operating System. Each idea was supported by a Project Leader, Management Coach, and Process Coach. Innovation Engineering addresses the commodification challenge by applying the systems thinking of Dr. W. Edwards Deming to innovation, strategy, and how people work together in the organization.

The impacts of this initiative were outstanding:

  • Polymet had Increased/retained sales of $2.9MM
  • They had Cost Saving of $900,000.00
  • They also added $2.8MM worth of new products in their product pipeline!

Our Team

Maggie Nichols

Maggie Nichols

CEO & President

 

 

 

Doug Hall

Doug Hall

Founder & Chairman

 

 

 

Renee Kelly

Renee Kelly

Director

 

 

 

John Ferris

John Ferris

President - Innovation Engineering Canada

 

 

 

Maggie Pfeifer

Maggie Pfeifer

Director of Education

 

 

 

Brad Hall

Brad Hall

Brand Manager

 

 

 

Scott Dunkle

Scott Dunkle

VP of Technology

 

 

 

Greg Lemmon

Greg Lemmon

Statistician

 

 

 

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Stay In Touch

In the USA: 513-271-9911
In Canada: 204-290-7110

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