Monday, 23 June 2014

5 Specific Forces Powering Innovation Not Just in Creative Firms

Crayons and Whiteboards aren't enough with distributed teams all investigating with the intent to demonstrate creative efficacy. What are the forces for creativity? Here's 5. And a few more. 

Recently Fast Company detailed 5 basic steps for innovation (very much tied to New Product Development) to be grown in a firm. The Article "5 Forces that Power Exceptionally Creative Companies" leverage part of the work done at W.L. Gore, the makers and researchers behind Gortex. R&D at Gortex can be seen as the classic model of moving R&D to commercialization products in rapid succession and much like most firms focusing on this. What is interesting is how the 5 Forces model above focuses more on the advertising model. Regardless the suggestions seem appropriate if not an organizational blueprint - what a firm might be looking for in establishing divisions and output from R&D efforts. 

1) Gravity: restoring and maintaining
2) Tension: Embracing and Maintaining
3) Heat: Applying and Maintaining
4) Speed: Increasing and Maintaining
5) Generosity: Instilling and Maintaining. 

Oddly these are very reminiscent of an industrial factory model and not connected to the R&D models that are implemented by large scale enterprises able to produce 40% returns on 10% gross revenue investment in R&D. So how are they valuable? 

By understanding the core structures of the firm and the output expected, we see, as very well defined in Define[ing] A Creative Agency the types of firms and how they approach powering innovation: Thinking & Researching, Defining and Developing, Manufacturing and Communicating about the previous steps.

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Wednesday, 11 June 2014

£0 to £6B deisgn powerhouse in 20yrs? How? £500K every day in R&D !

Juggling Design, R&D, New Product Development & success is a constant struggle. How can you formalize and secure success? Spend 10% of gross revenue on Skunks. Skunk works to be specific. 

Pfizer does it. Alessi does it. Dyson does it. Dyson the vacuum design juggernaut spends 500K a day in R&D, has whole design teams that do nothing but experiment and are able to full commercialized what they are learning. In a recent article on Dyson Core77 digs into the process and learning systems created in successful R&D and Design teams. More specifically we see via Fast Company the basis for advanced Skunkworks teams

1) Complete control of the works: no outside influences with the head reporting to the CEO
2) Small project teams of no more than 3-5 per project (1 pizza to feed the entire team model) 
3) small number of connections with project: only necessary ancilliary team members
4) very simple drawing and drawing release system - design is at the heart of the process
5) minimum reports required as paperwork, emails, tracking limits doing the work
6) project must work in the field with users: else team rapidly loses competence to design alternatives
7) Access by outsiders to the project and its personnel must be strictly controlled by appropriate security measures including IP as well as no publish or perish alternatives

This combined with innovation models that engage design teams and design thinking models spell success for any type of firm. And most likely without the smell of skunks at work.

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Monday, 2 June 2014

How did democratic & disruptive design create +1B units sold for one product in a firm from 1647? Here's how.

Innovations, breakthroughs and game changers: every co. wants it - and cheaply. Not possible. But thanks to experimentation & democracy since 1967, one firm has sold +1B units of just one product this way. Here's how.


Fiskars, a firm you probably never even heard of has been making a simple yet carefully designed product since 1967 when a simple color error and a democratic vote helped to generate more than +1B units sold. The story of Fiskars told from the perspective of the design team resonates with another great article detailing how growth by design can be the core of any innovation lead firm. Detailed very solidly by Maneesh Mehta who is the Deputy Managing Partner, Global Clients & Markets, at Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu and further investigated in a recent article by McKinsey called "Grow Fast or Die Slow" we see the steps necessary. However the McKinsey article ignores the physical product side as this article focuses on the digital technologies. Still a very good primer.

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