The old world way to lead innovation projects is a relay race – where projects move from one department to the next —- from R&D to Product Development to Manufacturing To Marketing and Sales. The new Innovation Engineering way involves playing "whack a mole." It involves Simultaneously optimizing your Customer Concept (Problem, Promise, Proof) as well as your Math Game Plan. We call the process Simultaneous Engineering. It involves taking the wisdom from Fail Fast Fail Cheap cycles of learning to optimize the total proposition.
Simultaneous Engineering is best done when you and your team have a deep understanding and respect for each discipline. As I say during Innovation Engineering Institutes…
Marketing is too important to be left to marketing people. Product development is too important to be left to product developers Finance too important to be left to accountants Legal too important to be left to lawyers Sales too important to be left to sales people.
The good news is you and your team don't have to have all the knowledge at the start. Understanding can be gained through simultaneously engineering solutions to innovation projects. All that's required is a natural curiosity for learning. It means asking questions about the consequences and tradeoffs involved in changes to innovation concepts.
HOT PODCAST: Here's a link to a great podcast by Terry O'Reilly. Listen to the one titled Dynamic Duos released 4/4/11. It tells why small teams of people – are the key to great innovations. In this case it's stories of how partnerships have lead to great marketing campaigns.
Innovation Engineering HOMEWORK for the week of April 11
Developing cross department knowledge by you and your team is the purpose of this week's homework. The method of developing it is to examine the tradeoffs between problem, promise and product/service proof for a series of innovations.
Two weeks ago you created 50 Ideal Benefit promises. If you didn't do that homework – create at least a dozen right now – before you go forward. Specifically you are to write at least a dozen Ideal Benefit Promises. By IDEAL I mean – if you were to take away all constraints and simply promise the ideal what would you promise. You can write them on your computer or by hand I don't care. But you MUST put them in writing. Make the promises bold – brave – exciting – meaningful – unique…you know the story.
Then, gather your team and spend an hour or two playing "whack a mole" with the benefit promises. Trade off the "ideal promise" – with the realities of product/service feasibility, with insights into customer problems and rough estimates of the math game plan (pricing, profits, sales potential). To help with the Math Game plan use Fermi estimating and/or the on-line forecasting tool inside InnovationEngineeringLabs.com.
Your specific homework assignment is to identify 3 new offerings – that are both technically possible and make a meaningful difference to customers. Note, I didn't say "technically feasible" I said possible. The ideas may well require some Fail FAST Fail CHEAP cycles of learning to translate from "possible" to "feasible."
Good luck. Till next week.
Innovation Engineering Leadership Institute Dates
The dates for upcoming Innovation Engineering 2011 — the "Way to Wealth is Innovation Tour" – public programs include:
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
Sign up information is available at www.InnovationEngineering.info
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 Weekly Homework: Research indicates that it takes 10,000 hours to master a subject. The Innovation Engineering homework assignments provide a clear and focused task each week – to keep students focused on the Way to Wealth through Innovation. The homework assignments are built around what we call the 13 Virtues of Innovation Engineering. The inspiration for these weekly assignments is Dr. Ben Franklin's 13 Virtues that he focused on one at a time, each week completing four 13 week cycles over 52 weeks.