I had a chance to interview Doug Hall, named one of America’s top innovation experts, about his new book, Driving Eureka! Problem Solving with Data Driven Methods & the Innovation Engineering System. He explains that very few eureka moments come out of the blue, and that businesses can put a process in place to increase innovation, decrease risk and streamline application.
Why are so many businesses missing the mark on innovation?
Business leaders miss the mark on innovation for three reasons…
1.Focusing on working harder versus innovating. Business leaders think that by getting their people to “work harder,” they can transform their “commodity offering” into something that their customers will pay more money for. This is delusional. The reality is the same old offering will always sell for the same old price. It’s only by transforming your offering into something that is meaningfully unique that you will realize above-average profitability.
2.Seeing innovation as an “event” versus a never-ending journey. Many business leaders have the old worldview of innovation as a brainstorming event. Ideas are created and then executed and made real. The new worldview is that innovation is a never-ending journey of small and large improvements. Creativity is applied to create the original idea and to problem-solve during the journey from idea to reality.
3.Going backwards instead of forward. More and more business leaders feel that if they return to what they did 10 to 30 years ago, they can regain their growth momentum. This is absurd. The digital marketplace, Millennial consumers — even the average age of Baby Boomers — mean that today is not yesterday.
What does Innovation Engineering do to create a culture of innovation in an organization?
Innovation Engineering provides a reliable and reproducible system for increasing innovation speed while decreasing risk. It does this by implementing a System Mindset towards innovation. Examples of what this mean include:
– Random idea generation is replaced with a strategically focused system of idea creation driving by stimulus, diversity and fear-reducing methods.
– Random decision making is replaced with data-guided decision making. This is fueled by the world’s fastest and most reliable of customer research methods.
– Random guesses on innovation sales and profitability is replaced with advanced risk adjusted forecasting technology. The new tools make the science of innovation forecasting accessible by all organizational innovators.
What propels the discovery of innovative ideas?
The energy source behind innovation ideas is always a person with a passion to make a difference. Or, said in reverse, “nothing great ever happened because a boss assigned someone to work on a project.” Commercializing an innovation is a journey of ups and downs. It’s only when we have a deep personal passion for an idea that we have the energy to see the innovation from idea to reality.
How does Innovation Engineering accelerate the time by which new ideas are developed or put into practice?
Speed is realized through three things:
1.Reduced rework. Innovation projects are prone to start and stops. The root cause of this is a lack of alignment between the organization’s purpose and the idea. Innovation Engineering adapts the military’s “Commander’s Intent” system of project mission to drive for greater alignment.
2. Smarter project management. Innovation Engineering uses the Deming cycle of Plan, Do, Study, Act to bring discipline, learning and speed to agile development. The “Plan” step sets the purpose with clarity, the “Do” step defines the hypothesis behind the solution, the “Study” drives deeper thinking about why something worked or didn’t work and the “Act” phase causes us to confront reality as a team.
3. Rapid research. Quite simply, the faster and cheaper you can get quantitative feedback on ideas the faster you get from failure to success. Innovation speed is all about cycle time — from idea, to experiment, to learning.
Learn more at Doug Hall’s website.