I’ve lauded Country Home Products (aka DR Power) a number of times when it comes to Innovation and effort. Let me give you some stats on their experience with Innovation Engineering under their CEO's, Joe Perrotto, leadership.
It used to take them about 18 months to create an idea and get it launched. Now, it takes them about 6 months. They used to launch about 1 new product per year. Now they set goals for 3 launches, but end up launching between 4 and 6.
Here are just a couple things (of many) you might find interesting that Joe’s doing as an innovation leader.
Setting the Direction, and then letting go. Joe’s made some very simple goals and objectives for his team as they get going with innovation - that they need to do 48 experiments, take 24 concepts into learning cycles, market test 12 and ship at least 3 new products a year.
Then, the innovation team starts running. They do a ton of technology mining and open innovation rather than invention from the inside. They do ugly tests fast, they fail a lot, and learn even faster.
And it’s working big time.
Check out this recent development from Michael Johnson, one of the Innovation Engineering Black Belts at Country Home Products leading the charge:
Good afternoon! Fail Fast Fail Cheap (FFFC) has me all fired up. I saw this crazy idea on line (something made in Spain) and I ran a Create session with a group of engineers...Three days later I had an amazing prototype from existing components. This stuff works! Within days we shot a short video and sent it out for feedback from our DR Advisory group (DR owners). I also had it out in the store and engaged several customers in a show and tell. They clearly recognize and understand the problem associated with cutting small pieces of wood. In the survey, its rating as a unique item is the highest we have had to date. So far so good. Now it is time for a market test. We cleaned up the prototype and reshot the video (all with internal resources), including voice over. We will send out two emails that will lead them to an online link for more information or drive them to call to place an order. The email will have a special introductory offer.
The video is well worth a watch: [vzaarmedia vid="1225628" height="252" width="448" color="black"]
Innovation Engineering Black Belt Candidates are shown this video as a great example of a very clear and direct communication to the customer. Can you spot the promise and proof? How about the problem and point of difference?
Making Innovation about More than Country Home Products. Joe’s been an ambassador of innovation and Innovation Engineering to other companies. He’s the biggest single reason working in community based businesses has become a personal passion of mine. He’s the icon of recognizing that he and his company are piece of a whole that’s bigger than one company. While a single company’s success is wonderful, we all need to raise the game in innovation to win. It’s a small world, and no one can afford to go at it alone. Joe wants inventors to come up with cooler stuff so he can license it. He wants business partners and suppliers to innovate with him. He wants his customers to love and be willing to pay more for innovative things that are meaningfully unique.
To do that, Joe goes out and talks to others about what they’re doing with innovation.
[vzaarmedia vid="1225627" height="336" width="448" color="black"] Joe’s helping advance the movement - in fact, he’s at the center of it. His folks are on the front lines of it. Joe pays it forward...and it’s coming back to him in spades.
Congratulations Joe on your continued success with innovation. So happy to have you as a leader of the Innovation Engineering movement.