The Facts of Enabling Versus Controlling

Research reported by Forrester Research finds that Project Portfolio Management Software increases innovation cycle time by 10%. This is for the industry standard project management software that is designed to improve innovation ROI and to manage projects. Innovation Operating System Software that sets ENABLING teams as the priority over Controlling such as Innovation Engineering increases innovation cycle times by up to 600%.  And, the lowest increase in speed we've seen is 40% - and that from a company that only uses it on the front end - not during development and delivery where 90% of the cost and time is.

Control software and work systems are designed to prevent failure - however what they really do is demoralize and destroy value.   Enabling software is different it details:

1. It defines What to do plus WHY each milestone is important and HOW to do them.

2. It makes it possible to collaborate with one click.

3. It makes it possible to do research on ideas with one click.

4. It automatically does patent searches instantly.

5. It makes sales forecasting 100% painless

6. It provides a different operating system for different types of projects - incremental core versus disruptive leap innovations - internal system projects versus sales building customer opportunities.

Basically - it enables teams to easily create, refine, reinvent and improve WICKED COOL Innovations that generate excitement within the company,  with customers and with employees.

Sadly, this type of culture is a rare event.  The Chief Technology Officer of a Fortune 50 company told me last month that innovations lose over half their forecast sales potential from when they enter development to when they exit.   This research confirms an independent survey we did of business executives.   Interestingly the Forrester Research didn't report on innovation value improvement :).

The root cause of  the slow development speed and decay in value is an old world management mindset.    Instead of a mindset of Never Ending Innovation the corporate focus is on prevention of failure.  Instead of a mindset of never ending learning and improvement the project mindset is focused on "declare and defend" the idea.  Changes in the core idea or sales forecast are seen as a sign of weakness and managerial incompetence.

As it turns out this is not the first time the business world has faced this type of mindset shift.   It was taught to Japanese companies in 1950 and to the Western World in the early 1980's.   The teacher both times of what has been come to be known as System Driven Leadership was  Dr. W. Edwards Deming.

The good news is that companies around the world have adopted to varying degrees the "enabling" ideas of Dr. Deming in their factories.  I say varying degrees because most have kept the mindset as a specialty department instead of training everyone,  everywhere in the organization.

Sadly, Dr. Deming  explained that only 3% of the opportunity for company improvement from System Driven Leadership lay in the factory.  97% was in applying it to strategy, innovation and how we work together.

That my friends is the aim of Innovation Engineering... to enable innovation by everyone, everywhere, everyday resulting in increased speed to market and decreased risk.

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Doug Hall