Feeling the Pain

Last night I watched Waiting for Superman the movie about the US School System.  The movie exaggerates it's depiction of Charter School effectiveness and teacher unions as the evil empire.  That said, it's still a fantastic movie because of how effectively it depicts the problems with our schools from the perspective of children. The line that made me stop and think hard was when the producer talked about how it was easy to look at the US Education challenges from afar.  It was easy to look at students as a group.

He went on to explain how it was much harder to look at them one by one – to feel their individual pain and frustration.  At this point he flashed back over the pain points of the five or six students documented in the film.

Despite an intense and exhausting week – and beating back a sinus infection – watching the film – feeling the pain – renewed my energy.  As I watched – I found myself personally motivated to work harder at helping students.  Motivated to help all of the now thousands of Innovation Engineering Students – on university campuses, in the high school programs that are being piloted and those in the Leadership Institute program.

Getting close to individual children – looking in their eyes – feeling their pain – will renew your energy – and fuel your teams to do great things.   Bill Conway, the Fortune 500 CEO who brought Dr. Deming back to the USA calls it “getting close to the work.”   He says that management has become disconnected with the challenges of the front line workers and customers.

Fred Carl the inventor of the high end kitchen equipment industry, founder and CEO of Viking Range – that makes all it's products in Greenwood Mississippi calls it "feeling the pain."

Homework for the week of March 21: Insight Mining to Feel the Pain

Your assignment this week is to feel the pain of 10 customers. You don't need to "turn in" this assignment (in the future you will be encouraged to) – but you are expected to write down what you found in a personal journal – either on paper or your computer.

Your task is to connect with customers to see, feel and experience the pain they feel about your product or service.  If your customers are an internal department – for example if you create marketing materials for sales people – connect to sales people.

See, feel, experience their pain.  Watch them doing their work.

You get an "A" on the homework if you do it in person. You get a "B" if you do it by phone or video conference. You get a "C" if you do it by e-mail. You get an "F" if you don't do it.

Good luck.   Till next week.

Innovation Engineering Leadership Institute Dates

The dates for Innovation Engineering 2011 — the "Way to Wealth Tour" – public programs include:

April 4-6        Washington State April 11-13        Wyoming May 2-4            Louisiana May 23-25        Missouri June 13-15        New York State June 27-29        Kansas September 12-14    Arkansas September 26-28    Virginia October 17-19        Maine November 14-16    Washington State

Sign up information is available at www.InnovationEngineering.info

For details on special Institute packages where your team can have a PRIVATE coach to work with you in the evenings of the Leadership Institute contact Corie Roudebush Spialek at 513.271-9911.

Background on Innovation Engineering Weekly Homework: Research indicates that it takes 10,000 hours to really master a subject.   The weekly Innovation Engineering homework assignments provide a clear and focused task each week – to keep students focused on learning.    The tasks are built around what we call the 13 Virtues of Innovation Engineering.  The inspiration for these weekly homework assignments was Dr. Ben Franklin's 13 Virtues for Living.  He found that working on all of them at one time was too difficult.  To address this he created a plan where he worked on each virtue once a week.  In 52 weeks he could complete four cycles of the 13 virtues.  In the same manner,  each week you get a homework assignment to work on one of the Innovation Engineering Virtues.