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The reason I am hopeful about the future.

Friends, In a world of war, chaos, political theater, summer temperatures in December.... I am hopeful for the future. I'm hopeful because over the past year as I've taught Innovation Engineering on campus and off  around the world I've observed that   a spirit... a spirit of good, of discovery, of innovation. This spirit is driven by a curiosity to define, discover, develop and deliver innovations that make a meaningful difference to our organizations, ourselves and our world. The curiosity is enabled through the wonders of science. In April 2015, the astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson accepted the National Academy of Science's most prestigious award. His brilliant acceptance speech makes the argument for ensuring that science plays a big role in policymaking. Inspired by the short and eloquent Gettysburg Address, Dr. Tyson makes his case in just 272 words.   It's just  over three minutes... enjoy! You can see by clicking here.  Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Years to All Doug  

By |December 23rd, 2015|9 Comments

The Real Reason America Is Losing Competitiveness

The presidential election in the USA is a time where much debating goes on about the state of the nation. There is evidence that much of American industry is facing unprecedented pressure on profitability.  People believe that things are just not as good as they used to be.   Facts support this conclusion... "Invented in America" is indeed declining as today more USA patents go to people who live outside or were born outside of the USA. A possible root cause is a shift from a culture of people who innovate to one that manages. In working on my next book I found the graph below.  It's from the National Center for Education Statistics.  It indicates that since 1970 the percentage of bachelor degrees in the USA doubled for business and declined by 50% for engineering. Business management doesn't create profitability.  Innovations that are Meaningfully Unique creates profitability.   Proprietary breakthroughs - that the competition can't offer creates profitability. If you're not Meaningfully Unique you Better Be Cheap. Interestingly - despite declining by 50% Engineers are still more likely to achieve the CEO position in companies.  According to Spencer Stuart 33% of S&P 500 CEO's undergraduate degree was in engineering and only 11% in business administration.  The Harvard Business [...]

By |December 4th, 2015|6 Comments

Innovation Metrics – A State of the Art Advancement

A week from today on December 10 at 11:00 AM I will be presenting a webinar on a state of the art advancement in innovation metrics. Metrics can be invaluable in helping us improve our innovation system.  They can also destructive to employee motivation and project success rates if used improperly. The Eureka! Ranch and Innovation Engineering Institute teams have just completed an intensive research project on what drives innovation success as well as innovation culture change. The result is singular metrics for measuring and improving your Innovation System and Innovation Culture change efforts. The system has been researched, back tested and shared with members of the Innovation Engineering Community. On Thursday December 10 as part of the monthly Brain Brew University broadcasts - that provide Continuing Education to Innovation Engineering Black and Blue Belts we will review the thinking behind it as well as how to implement these advanced metrics. Normally Brain Brew University webinars are private.  We are opening this one to anyone given the high level of interest in the subject of Innovation Metrics.   AND, because frankly, we'd love to have your feedback to help us make it smarter. FAIR WARNING - I will be contradicting [...]

By |December 3rd, 2015|4 Comments

The secret to success is system leadership by the LEADERSHIP

The Innovation Engineering movement defines a system as Dr. Deming did, “two or more independent parts with a common aim.”  In the case of an organization this means two or more departments that are working together towards the common aim of the organization as a whole. Sadly, the average organization realizes “less than the sum of their parts” - together they realize less than what each department delivers independently.  This is because the departments first priority is on delivering their departmental metrics no matter what the consequences are to other departments or the organization as a whole. Good organizations are the “sum of their parts” - they realize an additive impact from the interactions of their departments.   There is cooperation and collaboration between departments.  The management of each department reacts to issues rapidly.  They are willing to sacrifice short term department results for the accomplishment of the overall aim of the organization. Great organizations are the “product of their parts” - they realize a multiplicative impact from the interactions of their departments.  This is because they have a proactive innovation culture.   Employees anticipate customer needs and the needs of other departments.   Good organizations innovate to problem solve [...]

By |November 24th, 2015|8 Comments

Life is short – do something that matters today!

Late last night I read this quote “These days I think you’ve got to talk about your value proposition - why are you so proud of your product?  And you’ve got to communicate that pride in ways that add up to a young generation that’s very well informed and very idealistic.  The young care about where products come from. They care about what the company that makes the product actually odes in the world - or not. But you an’t fake it.  You have to say, screw business as usual and just do it.” This from Richard Branson founder and CEO of Virgin What this means is..... ....we need to trust the value of the truth. ... we need to trust the value of doing cool SH#t that matters! We need to stop the marketing, the hype, the games and focus on making a meaningful difference in the world. So what are you waiting for? Get up, get out, do something that matters today!

By |November 10th, 2015|0 Comments

Jeff Bezos – on being bold

“One of my jobs is to encourage people to be bold.  It’s incredibly hard.  Experiments are, by their very nature, prone to failure. A few big successes compensate for dozens and dozens of things that didn’t work.  Bold Bets - Amazon Web Services, Kindle, Amazon Prime, our third-party seller business - all of those things are examples of bold bets that did work, and they pay for a lot of experiments.   I’ve made billions of dollars of failures.  You might remember pets.com or kosmo.com.  It was like getting a root canal with no anesthesia.  None of this things are fun.  But they also don’t matter.   What really matters is, companies that don’t continue to experiment, companies that don’t embrace failure, they eventually get in a desperate position where the only thing they can do is a Hail Mary bet at the end of their corporate existence.  Whereas companies that are making bets all along, even big bets, but not bet-the-company bets, prevail. ” Jeff Bezos - Founder/CEO Amazon.com from an interview for the web site Business Insider

By |November 9th, 2015|0 Comments

INNOVATION – Whose Job is It?

When you start in a new job you quickly learn the boundaries.  You learn them from fellow employees and your boss. The boundaries are set based on the beliefs of the functional department you work in.   In most cases the foundation for these boundaries were first established when you were studying at college - finance - engineering - management departments. In most cases the "Aim" of the boundaries is to reduce chaos and mistakes.  "Smart Management" means no drama.   This can create challenges when it comes to innovations that are Meaningfully Unique. I do believe that 99% of managers understand that the company needs to innovate.  However,  also believe they feel it's not their job - it's not within their boundaries.  It is the job of specialists. The consequence of this view is that when the innovation team comes to a department with a NEW IDEA that requires the department to change, adapt or adjust - the innovation is rejected as it conflicts with the boundaries that the department has grown to accept. The net result is innovation stagnation - rework, redo and the slow death of innovations from bold innovations into incremental nothingness. To vaporize this stagnation the leadership must redefine the [...]

By |September 24th, 2015|0 Comments

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 Labs.com 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 [...]

By |September 2nd, 2015|1 Comment

How Wall Street Chaos Killed Innovation Courage Last Week

Good Morning Pioneers, For 30 years we've measured the mindset of business leaders as they prepared to innovate in Eureka! Inventing or Innovation Engineering CREATE sessions. Each time the stock market took a big dive - 1990, 2000, 2008 the data showed significant declines in "courage to take action" on innovations.  I fully expect that based on last week's stock market gyrations we will see a similar reduction in courage as we track data this fall. My theory on the reason for the decline in courage is that it ignites a fear reaction.   Most  business leaders have their retirement invested in the stock market. When the market goes into chaos it causes them to become unreasonably conservative.    This theory is supported by psychology studies that teach  us that "prevention of a negative" is often more motivating than the "promise of a positive."  What the leaders don't understand is that by not innovating they are actually increasing their odds of failure. Stock Crashes are the best time to innovate.   When the stock market is in chaos is actually the best time to innovate.  In my career the best years for growth have been.... 1990, 2000 and 2008.  Each time I doubled down with our investment [...]

By |August 31st, 2015|1 Comment

The Edge of Uncertainty

Good Morning Innovation Pioneers, This summer I've been deep into writing my 6th book.  This one is focused on Innovation Engineering.   Taking inspiration from Hemingway I write each morning.   In the afternoon and evening I do something not connected with the book to give my mind time to process my thinking. This has included working on some client projects, some sailing and cooking.  My latest adventure in cooking is wood fired cooking as is done in Argentina.   This new passion was fueled by Argentinian Chef Francis Mallmann.   His book Seven Fires: Grilling the Argentine Way opened up a whole new way of cooking for me. I've become so fanatic -- I invented and had welded at a local job shop a new type of wood grill.  And yes - before you ask I'm preparing a patent application on it :) And here's a photo of some local Canadian Lobsters being cooked on my grill last month.  This type of cooking is not for the faint of heart.  It involves high heat and lots of courage.  Last night we had friends over and I tossed the tomatoes and cheese in a cast iron grill pan over the fire - they quickly [...]

By |August 13th, 2015|1 Comment