If you’re a “lead” Innovation Engineering Management Coach or Black Belt in your company - and likely the “champion” that advocated for Innovation Engineering - you probably get this question a fair amount. “Hey, I heard you’re doing a new innovation thing. What’s the next Billion dollar idea?” Or, “You know, we know how to do our business already. I don’t know why you bother trying to put new systems in. What’s the point?” Or even just, “Rumor has it your group/area/team is doing some new innovation thing. What’s that all about?” If you’re an Innovation Pioneer others are bound to be curious and interested and watching how things “turn out.” Because even though you know Innovation Engineering is a system and a mindset that doesn’t end, others don’t. They’re looking for news - any news - to understand it and hear how it’s going. That’s a large part that happens when you use the “waved approach”. So you have to be ready with news - which is an easy thing when you do your regular monthly learning and check-in meetings. It’s also important that you can clearly see the “wins” throughout the process and share them with others. As a great example, I’d like to share with you a note that Jaime Matayas, COO of the National Wildlife Federation (and Innovation Engineering Black Belt), sent out to her team to communicate clearly to all just what exactly was going on with Innovation Engineering. -------------------------
Fellow Innovation Engineering Accelerators,
Have you heard the cheering from your colleagues? As you may remember, last time we left the Ranch we channeled our inner competitive spirits and set a high bar for ourselves with the first two projects put into through Discovery Phase.
With Geralyn and Jen leading the XXX project, Ed as process coach, me as management coach and Maggie playing shadow coach, this project transformed from words on paper to a proper business case and ready for development in 5 cycles!
According to Maggie that's the best of the best timing for all their clients. Go Jen and Geralyn, our IE newbies!!!
The second project, XXXX, lead by Schelli with Britt playing second seat, Maggie as the process coach and me as management coach also successfully overcame all their death threats and made it to Development in just 6 cycles.
Both efforts are worth celebrating. Geralyn, Jen, Schelli and Britt reinforced for me that with focus and attention from a project lead and coach this innovation methodology works.
In 5-6 cycles Geralyn, Jen, Schelli and Britt:
developed whole new product and built a prototype - here at the ranch live and on paper got real live feedback from focus groups on what's great/needs work got market research done to estimate trial and interest from real customers did financial analysis to understand if they could make money
The system for innovation is about increasing speed and reducing risk. At the start of both projects risk was high - we didn't know if customers would care, if we could make money, if we could make it at all. Now we've dramatically increased our confidence because we've tested for all those things.
Plus we've increased speed on two projects making amazing strides in under 7 weeks. Truly amazing!
So, what’s next?
Geralyn and Jen are putting the XXX project on hold until they complete a current assignment and are able to free up the necessary time to lead a team through Development. Schelli is moving into Development. XXX, the next project on deck is now ready to begin Discovery Phase. Britt will be the lead with Meri-Margaret in second seat, Schelli will process coach and I will be the management coach. Tim and Annette, since I don’t believe either of you have had experience on an IE project team, if you are interested to join Britt’s team to assist and learn let her know. We will start the fourth project once XXXX either moves to Development or is killed.
Congrats to all involved! Jaime ------- Today I encourage you to pen a similar note to your team - to write down and celebrate the wins you’ve had on your journey - no matter how big or small. And next time someone asks you, “Hey, how’s that innovation thing going?” tell them, “I just sent out a note to the team with an update, I’ll forward it to you.”