Innovation Doesn't & Shouldn't Require RISK TAKING

There is a general misconception that entrepreneurs who create meaningfully unique products and services take lots of risk. Successful entrepreneurs don’t have a crystal ball, a magical vision, or ability to see the future. In truth – they dissolve risk through dozens, hundreds if not thousands of fail FAST, fail CHEAP experiments. Every time you execute a cycle of learning – you build your confidence. This week’s homework is about executing three fail FAST fail CHEAP experiments in one hour!

SPECIAL SYSTEM BONUS: Here’s a link to a very interesting video from Garry Hamel that outlines a funding system for Discovery projects.


Innovation Engineering HOMEWORK for the week of May 16th

Do the Math – Three Fail FAST Fail CHEAP Experiments in 1 hour

You have one hour to do the following homework assignment.

Step 1: Identify an Idea that you have a passion for. It can be an idea for more profitable customers, markets, products, services or system. Pick an idea that you’ve had for a while for a more profitable customer, market, product, service or system. Or if you don’t have a company – an idea for a more profitable job or career.

Step 2: Worst Case, Best Guess, Best Case Estimates Do three estimates of the potential value of the idea. You can use the Innovation Engineering sales forecasting tool, a free form spreadsheet or even the “back of an envelope.” Use Fermi Estimating Process – to do the math:

A: Decomposition into A Few Key Factors

"¢ The fewest, most meaningful & direct

B: Estimate Factors

"¢ To an order of magnitude "¢ Detail your assumptions behind each estimate

C: Do Simple Math

"¢ Repeat with other approaches – keep SIMPLE

Do three estimates – the Worst Case, Best Guess and Best Case. We often define Worst Case as there is a 1 in 5 chance it could be this bad. Best Case is there is 1 in 5 chance it could be this good. Most important is to detail your assumptions.

Step 3: Review the Risk Step back and review the three estimates and associated assumptions. Reflect on how it makes you feel about committing yourself to taking action on the idea. If you are ready to go – then get started. Identify the Death Threats – develop a learning plan – Fail FAST Fail CHEAP and turn your idea/project into reality!


WANTED: Business, Government and Education Leaders who want to learn how to INCREASE Innovation Speed (up to 6X) and DECREASE Innovation Risk (30 to 80%). The first step is the three day Innovation Engineering Leadership Institute. Public program dates include:

June 13-15 New York State June 27-29 Kansas August 23-25 Vermont September 12-14 Arkansas September 26-28 Virginia October 17-19 Maine November 14-16 Washington State

More information available at For special pricing and coaching support for teams of 4 or more call Corie Roudebush Spialek at 513.271-9911.