Biggest Mistakes Companies Make with Innovation Engineering

I know it's a great new year when mid way through January I'm already learning .... 532832137

Since January 1 I have had the honor of spending time with 4 different companies that have been using Innovation Engineering for multiple years.

In each case, the Innovation Leaders at the companies have FULLY embraced a culture of Confronting Reality and Never Ending Learning.  We have had honest, ego free, blame free conversations about what is working and what is not.


As quick background, the transformation from a cost cutting, command and control mindset to an entrepreneurial growth and innovation cultural mindset is hard.  It's really hard.   As I reflect on all four conversations it's clear that there are three clear "mistakes" that are important "watch outs."

 1.  Lack of REAL Management Coaching Wisdom:  Project teams will waste time, create rework and mistakes without weekly coaching wisdom from someone who has: 1) Education in the tools and techniques 2) The bigger picture understanding of leadership's vision, quirks and biases, 3) Broad understanding of capabilities across the organization, and 4) The self awareness to be able to admit that they don'd know, they need help and they make fail.     #4 is the one that is non negotiable.  If they have #4 then it makes up for weaknesses in #1, #2 and or #3.

The Innovation Engineering movement has made Management Coach education a priority - creating a new Innovation Engineering Blue Belt training and certification to aid development of the skills and wisdom needed.

2. Lack of Vertical "Strategy to Tactics" Alignment:  Without clarity of the leadership's vision in a form and format that is easily understood by everyone - there will be massive waste of time, energy and money.

The Innovation Engineering movement provides a Strategy Activation workshop - that translates the strategic intent into a clear Mission, Project Narrative, Strategic Exclusions, Tactical Constraints and Focus Areas.

3. Lack of Horizontal "What, Why, How" Alignment:   Without clarity, across the departmental silos, on how ideas are made real i.e. WHAT we do, WHY we do it and HOW we do it.... there will be massive waste of time, energy and money.    The reality is most "burger flippers" at fast food restaurants have greater clarity on What, Why, How then corporate innovation teams.

The Innovation Engineering movement provides a Business Operating System through education, tools and mentoring to help companies define the WHAT, WHY, HOW - for complex projects, simple projects, new products/service, marketing projects, system improvement projects, etc.

What is NOT a problem!:  Interestingly,  what is NOT a problem is the workers. The project teams, leaders, front line workers and managers are HIGHLY MOTIVATED to create, communicate and commercialize wicked cool ideas.

As Dr. Deming, the founding philosopher that is at the heart of Innovation Engineering famously said, 94% of the problem is the system, 6% is the worker.   And only the management can change the system.

Without Active Management Engagement, Vertical and Horizontal Alignment - the organization's return on it's investment in education, tools and mentoring will be lower than it can be by an order of magnitude.  Sadly, it will still be "good" and in many cases the leadership will see it as being "good enough."   What they don't know is HOW HIGH IT CAN BE!

To learn more about the revolution that is underway in how companies are being managed and lead, join me tomorrow for a free webinar….Out of the Crisis II – How to Increase Speed to Market & Decrease Risk.  TOMORROW  at 1:00 EST.

It’s free if you enter the passcode PIZZA.  I selected Pizza as passcode because… well… it’s my favorite food.

SPECIAL WEBINAR BONUS :  During the Webinar I will be doing a LIVE Demo of some advanced (and yes patent pending) Innovation Tools for increasing speed and decreasing risk.

Here’s the link to sign up for the Webinar.


Special Opportunity:  We have updated our BOS Profiler (Business Operating System).  It's a quick survey that quantifies the "pinch points" that SLOW Down Innovations and INCREASE Risk.

Click Here To Participate in the 2015 Survey.     Feel free to forward this blog to others as well.   The collective results of the 2015 Survey will be posted on this blog along with ideas and advice for how to confront the challenges of today.

If you’d like to have a private survey done of your organization,  to see where it stacks up versus over 100,000 other responses, then simply email me at to get a link.