Innovation Engineering Conference Announcement

We are proud to announce the first Innovation Engineering International Conference.It will be held April 28 to 30 at the Eureka! Ranch in Cincinnati Ohio USA.

You can attend in person or virtually via internet simulcast. As a "new field of study" we (Ranch and U Maine) have long felt that a free standing Innovation Engineering conference would help us accelerate the movement.   It will bring together members of the community from around the world - from Big Companies, Small Companies, Universities and Governments.  The topic will be Growing Cultures of Never Ending Innovation With Increased Speed and Decreased Risk. 

The format will follow the Cycles to Mastery teaching technology we use on campus and in the new IE Black Belt and Green Belt training programs. We have about half the presentation slots scheduled.  If you would like to present - or you have a topic you'd like to see a presentation on let us know.  You can either call me directly at the Ranch - e-mail or post a response to this blog post.

The conference will also be when we do our "big introductions" each year of new tools, alliances, business models and technologies.   This year will be filled with new news - as we have a really robust collection to introduce.    A team of pioneers from around the movement have volunteered to do beta testing on the new stuff - so to get the first Fail FAST Fail CHEAP cycles of learning complete before we release to the broader community.

In addition, to the new stuff - that will all be "ready to go" - you will  participate in an industrial strength create session designed to spark ideas for future development. Further details on the conference will be released in the next few weeks.


Pasted below is a blog post by Jesse Bechtold - IE Black Belt and the regular Saturday Blogger on the Brain Brew Black Belt Blog.   I found it inspirational. I hope you do too.


When we read Benjamin Franklin's famous quote "They that give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." it often brings to mind the heroic actions taken against great odds by the Revolutionary War heroes at Lexington, Concorde and those many other great places in our Nation's history.

Those bold men and women could have looked at the odds and done the easy thing.  They could have provided the English with their resources, markets and taxes in return for the safety of Empire.

Juxtaposing "liberty" and "safety" suggests Dr. Franklin equated liberty with risk taking.  By extension we can say liberty thrives with a certain amount of failure.

A football team might choose to be safe by "playing between the hash marks" as a way to reduce turnovers and minimize losses on busted plays.    Of course, by limiting their risks in the short term they will deserve very few wins and the tactic, while improving a few (wrong) metrics, will not do much for the long term success (safety) of the coaching staff.

I don't think such a coaching staff is looking for a failed strategy but they probably make the error of thinking safety is a long term strategy.  It's not.

Businesses often trade liberty for the higher risk of playing it safe.

  • It feels safe to sell the same products to the same customers, let them "pull" our product...until someone "educates" (pushes?) our customer about a new product with even greater benefits than ours.
  • It feels safe to talk about the same services you have been delivering for the past twelve years...until you see three more consultants lined up behind you to talk about the same thing.
  • It feels safe to study, study, study your offering so you know every possible answer to every possible question...until someone else talked to your client while you were studying.
  • It feels safe to let the client tell you what he wants...until you both eventually realize it wasn't what heneeds.
  • It feels safe to think the client will always stay with me because I have a good relationship with him...until he says "We can still be friends, but I have hired..."

It certainly does feel safe to talk to clients about things they already understand.  But if we are talking about things our clients already understand, as does our competition, we are not bringing meaningfully unique knowledge or skills to the table.

Real liberty in business is the freedom to take risks, accepting failures as the price of finally succeeding.  Liberty is the freedom to find meaningfully unique knowledge and to use that knowledge to create wealth and opportunity for ourselves and others.

In the words of Russell Ackoff, "If an organization is not unique, there is not a good reason for its existance."  (Russell Ackoff, Re-Creating the Corporation, 1999).

And paraphrasing Benjamin Franklin, failing in liberty is a better predictor of success than succeeding in safety.

 * * * * *

If you feel uncomfortable talking to people about innovation engineering because you don't know all the answers to questions they might ask, you are seeking a false safety.  We can't know all the answers, sometimes we have to exercise the liberty to say, "I don't know, but we can learn the answer by working the process and let's see where you and the questions take us."