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Report from the Process of Innovation -Tuesday Morning

Report from the Process of Innovation -Tuesday Morning

| On 21, Aug 2007

Ellen Domb

The chairman’s opening address set the theme for the conference:   Joe Ficalora from SBTI used Steve Jobs’ quote, “Innovation is the difference between followers and leaders” as the kickoff message for the conference.   His Six Sigma background showed through very strongly in the desire for less variation in innovation, which I have always found to be one of the benefits of TRIZ, and which IQPC’s research found was one of the unfulfilled needs of their seminar audience.   About 80 people participated in the conference, including a large group from Korea, primarily from Posco Steel, and many North American/global companies.   A sampling:  Nokia, CSX, Chrysler, BP, Carlson Hotels, Unisys, Embarq (a 100 year old new company emerging from Sprint/Nextel landlines), Motorola, Glaxo Smith Kline, Milliken, Northwestern Insurance…Real Innovation’s own Praveen Gupta surprised the visitors to Chicago with individual copies of his new book, Business Innovation in the 21st Century, which was just released. 

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Tim Watts, Master Black Belt from BP kicked off the technical program with “What is Innovation:  Develop a Clear Understanding of What Innovation Is and What It Means to Your Business.”  He emphasized the difference between innovation and invention, and the need for techniques to challenge established mindsets, and replace them with innovation mindsets.   Many in the audience are interested in reward systems (see yesterday’s report), so Tim’s discussion of the Helios awards, recognizing improvement in Production, Green, Innovation, and Process attracted quite a bit of interest.   The recognition component and the pride elements of recognition/reward seemed dominant, echoing the discussion from the Focus session on Monday.   The awards ranged broadly from reducing the salt in water used for petroleum processing to reducing infant death by 20% by sharing communication methods from the corporate environment with community health workers.  Tim’s formula for systematic innovation is Mine, Generate, Incubate, Experiment, and Implement—nothing radical in the list, but radically impressive in the execution.   He challenged the audience to consider what they regard as a core competency, that might actually be a core rigidity, and to take that challenge home before preaching the need for innovation.  

I introduced Anthony Carter from Motorola to you yesterday.  His conference presentation was “Obtain Complete Management Buy-In to Fully Support your Innovation Efforts and Embed Them Across your Organization.”   The audience enjoyed a vigorous discussion of communication, fear, and psychology in dealing with executive management. 

To be continued this afternoon….