Stop the BLAME Game - and start Leading SYSTEMIC Change

Last week I taught the last Innovation Engineering Leadership Institute of 2010. As I taught it Dr. Deming’s proclamation that “94% of failures are due to the system, 6% are due to the worker” rang more true in my mind than ever. Today’s Innovation Engineering is easier than ever to teach, learn and apply. And the reason is not: 1) smarter teachers or 2) smarter students or 3) smarter coaches in the evenings. The reason is that we have continuously improved the system of learning. We’ve found smarter ways to teach the core concepts.

Just after the first of the year – we will be doing a series of webinars on the improvements.

The improvement in teaching systems really came to life recently as we taught the first class of Innovation Engineering Black Belts. As we were working with a more experienced and “willing” group we were able to try new methods of teaching. From this we discovered new methods that will be incorporated into next year’s Innovation Engineering Leadership Institute.

And friends, that’s what it’s all about – continuous learning.

This Week’s HOMEWORK Assignment – Your homework is to step back look at your “systems”.

1. Mindmap the Never Ending Problems and Frustrations: Take a sheet of paper and in the middle of the sheet write “My problems and frustrations that haven’t changed in a YEAR.” Then Mindmap out from the center. On the first spokes from the center list all those things that are recurring problems that haven’t changed in a year. They can be little problems that happen frequently – or big fears that don’t happen often but you are concerned that they could…for example: losing a primary customer.

2. Identify the Bigger System and it’s parts: In the second spoke out from the problem identify what’s the “Bigger System” that it’s a part of. What are the root causes of system failure? What causes the system to have variation in performance?

3. New Years Resolution Action Plan: Step back and look at the bigger system. Think what can you do – to “dissolve” the problem or frustration. Then create a 30 Day “New Years Resolution” action plan to improve your system.

Innovation Engineering Leadership Institute Dates

Doug is taking the month of January off to work on a book about Innovation Engineering.

The dates for Innovation Engineering 2011 Edition – public programs include:

February 14-16 Vermont
March 7-9 Kansas
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
December TBD

Sign up information is available at

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 13 Virtues Postings: Ben Franklin identified a set of 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 I post a writing on one of the 13 Virtues of Innovation Engineering. The goal is to provide practical ideas for helping you take action this week – every week – on thinking smarter and more innovatively about your life and career.