Thursday, December 22, 2011

To Innovate We Must Make

While this has a distinctive US flavour, it does reinforce the inextricable linkage between manufacturing and innovation. The post comes from John B Rogers on INC.

* * * *

One of my favorite quotations is from Thomas Edison, who said the "value of the idea lies in the using of it." I never understood it as deeply as a student, but now running a car company in America today, I see the brilliance of Edison's simple aphorism shining through.

Innovation—the art of coming up with something that, moments before, was not there—is a mercurial process. Just look around today at the country's fastest-growing companies, you see a new kind of CIO springing up. Not the "information"-warden-type CIO, but rather, a Chief "Innovation" Officer. It's a sign that corporations and governments are wringing their hands and sharpening their focus, all on the hunt for new ideas.
Click here to read the full article.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Co-creation is today's most accepted model for innovation

From Forbes online....

Innovation has been around since the early days of civilization, and the processes have evolved from lone crusaders – Edison comes to mind – to the independent teams holed up in the back rooms of medium- and large-scaled organizations, such as early adopters like Ford.  And lately, having customers actively participate in coming up with new ideas. Indeed, innovation approaches have changed and taken on many different forms very rapidly over the past 150 years.

Click here to read the full article.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

What Does the Next Generation Need to Know and Do in Manufacturing and Design?

Following is the address from Lawrence D Burns at The National Academy of Manufacturing's 2011 Design and Manufacturing Forum. It addresses some of the lessons to be learned about manufacturing by the next generation, such as:

Lesson 1:  Manufacturing is an Integrated System
Lesson 2: Manufacturers Must be Driven by Customer Experiences
Lesson 3: Manufactures Must Grow Better “Beans” in Addition to Counting Them
Lesson 4: Manufacturing Innovation Is Still Quite Young
Lesson 5: Engineers with Integrative Minds Will be the Leaders

Click here to read the full article.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Manufacturing needs big ideas, not quick fixes

An opinion piece from former Queensland Premier Peter Beattie from the Saturday edition of The Australian.

* * * *

The emergence of China has sparked an international debate on the future of domestic manufacturing.

Last week I addressed a national SmartState conference in Charleston, South Carolina, on behalf of Clemson University; it concluded that the future of US manufacturing must be centred on innovation. That is how Germany competes, despite its high wage structure.

It also became clear in recent meetings in Western Australia that if Australian manufacturing innovates, collaborates and goes global it has a strong future in servicing the growing resources sector. With global economic insecurity, everyone knows that the future of manufacturing requires a long-term strategy.

Click here for the full article.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Measuring What Manufacturers Measure

Another good post from NGM Update:

* * * *
A study of 322 manufacturers (US and abroad) by the MPI Group, identifies what operational measures manufacturers are good at, and what they are not so good at. Here is a summary:

Good = inventory, quality, safety, OEE, productivity, and supplier performance.
Bad = process sustainability, in-plant material handling, external logistics and distribution

What I describe as "bad" is actually those areas that 15-17% of respondents rated themselves as having "No Capability" in the study. Is this accurate - What do you think?

Click here to read the full article.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The extra challenges that SME manufacturers face

Good article posted on NGM Update:

* * * *

Small manufacturers have claimed for years that they have a tougher road to profitability than larger manufacturers, and new data seems to back them up. This year’s Next Generation Manufacturing Study found that while four out of five manufacturers were profitable in their most recent fiscal year, large manufacturers are far more likely to have solid bottom lines than smaller competitors.

Click here to read to full article.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Reflections on Open Innovation and Intellectual Property

An interesting post from Stephan Lindegaard at Innovation Excellence.

He discusses the link between IP and innovation and summarises a number of key points between the two:
  • Business Before Legal
  • Don’t Be Too Naive
  • Protect the Core – Stay Flexible on the Layers
  • Risk and Consequences
  • Three Characteristics for B2B Agreements
  • More Secrets in an Open World
  • Entrepreneurs, Small Companies and Inventors Get Pinched
  • Balance is Key
Click here to read the full article.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Process innovation gets APA off to a flying start

While benefits from process improvements are their own reward, it is tempting to sit back and think the job is now done. Asia Pacific Aerospace introduced a suite of Lean Manufacturing principles with tangible benefits including; improved turnaround times of 12% and increased capacity, but importantly they recognised the continuous improvement journey isn't over yet - in fact it is never over.

Click here to read the full article. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

A new sense of calm

Recent process innovations implemented at MAS Mechanical have enabled the business owner Max Smith to do the enviable - take a step away from the business and allow it to function independently based on the sustainable implementation of proven practices. Now there is a new sense of calm.

Click here to read the full article.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Manufacturer curbs electricity costs

Woven fabric manufacturer Beaulieu Pacific Pty Ltd spent two years trying to find ways to reduce carbon emissions and electricity consumption, but with little success.

General Manager Steve Bamford said the Acacia Ridge, Queensland-based manufacturer wanted to implement more sustainable processes. “We knew electricity costs needed to be reduced, but couldn’t identify what was causing the high costs. We didn’t know where to start.”

Fortunately, Beaulieu Pacific was introduced to QMI Solutions, which conducted a very thorough study of its electricity usage and were able to reduce consumption such as:
  • peak costs by up to $1000 p/m
  • supplier demand costs by 22%, or $34K annually, after renegotiating its contract
  • peak kilowatts per hour (kWh) charge from 10.517c to 5.335c
  • off-peak kWh rate by about 40%, from 4.024 cents to 2.471c
  • average peak demand from 335 kWh to 280 kWh
Click here to read the full article.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tools of the Green Manufacturing Trade

Environmental Leader has run a series of articles on greener manufacturing, or as I prefer to call it 'Sustainable Manufacturing'. This is Part 1 of that series. Author David Dornfield argues 'sustainability' is the destination and 'green manufacturing' is the journey. Certainly in our experience with SMEs, the term 'green manufacturing' has more of a stigma than 'sustainable manufacturing'.

This article mentions two key obstacles to implementing sustainable manufacturing initiatives: the business model and in-house capability and then identifies some useful tools, as recommended by the OECD, in approaching the sustainable manufacturing challenge.

Click here to read the full article.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Reinventing Manufacturing - Germany’s Fulfilling Future

An article from Pierfrancesco Manenti posted on Manufacturing Executive details how Germany (The China of Europe) emerged from recession more robust thanks to progressive manufacturing policies such as increased labour flexibility and an overall focus on manufacturing as a base for competitive advantage. Significantly, as operations efficiency and customer fulfillment increasingly dominate the German manufacturing agenda, sourcing from lower-cost countries is ranked as less important.

Click here to read the full article.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Santa's Supply Chain: Best in the World?

Forbes comments on Gartner's list of the Top25 Supply Chain list, bemoaning the fact that Santa's supply chain was left off the list. They argue it is the greatst supply chain of all time, who could argue against:
  • a laser focus on the target market – Children of all ages
  • 100% perfect order rating, on-time delivery and fill rates
  • a global distribution channel that spans the world in 24 hours
  • direct Door to Chimney Delivery Model
  • a committed workforce with zero turnover
  • the very first known supply chain to run “in the cloud”
The article describes why Santa has the best:
  • manufacturing and distribution
  • customer service
  • order processing
  • supply chain networks
  • supply chain planning
  • transportation and logistics
  • inventory management
  • tracking and tracing
Click here to read the full article.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Food for Thought - Transforming avocado/mango production with process innovation

Knowing that productivity can be improved is one thing, but where to start is another.

Based on the findings of a process benchmark tool, Simpson Farms identified areas for improvement within their manufacturing processes, enabling the reduction of lead times by 15% and increasing productivity by 10%.

Within a year, Simpson Farms implemented a range of process improvement tools such as Value Stream Mapping, Visual Performance Measurement, 5S, Leading & Managing Change and Standardised Work.

Click here to read the full article.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

For Toyota, Patriotism and Profits May Not Mix

This is a great and insightful article from the Wall Street Journal reporting on Toyota's overcapacity, desire to protect Japanese jobs, the importance of 'monozukuri' (manufacturing skills), export reliance, possible off-shoring to North America and losing $5 billion a year.

Click here to read the full article.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Nine awesome interviews

The 99% is Behance's research arm and think-tank. One of blog posts focuses on interviews with nine creative visionaries including:
  • Ernest Hemingway (1954)
  • Apple's Steve Jobs (1994)
  • Industrial Designer Dieter Rams (2010)
Blogger Jocelyn K. Glei says there's nothing so useful for demystifying the creative process as hearing an artist or entrepreneur speak from a very personal perspective about how, and why, they do what they do. This weekend, I combed through my archive of epic and inspiring interviews and came up with this shortlist. Straight talk from Ernest Hemingway, Dieter Rams, Patti Smith, Steve Jobs, Ansel Adams, Tina Brown, Chuck Close and more.

Click here to read the full article.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Products Chinese Consumers Want

A great post from HBR.

China's urban consumers are spending - 20% more than in 2010. This is where companies nurturing the demand for new or unfamiliar products are succeeding. Fabric conditioners, fruit juices, vitamins and mineral supplements are all increasing market share.

Cities that have been tagged for development by government has more potential for growth than the larger, established cities. Milk company Mengniu tripled its revenues to $4.5 Billion by chaning its slogan from "one cup of milk a day" to "three cups" as well as introducing new specialised products and premium products.

Click here to read the full article.  

Innovation Makes Things Cheaper

Another great post from Innovation Excellence via Jorge Barba. Here's an excerpt....

* * * *
Believe it or not I’ve heard business owners tell me that if they’re innovating, they want to charge a high price. First of all, a truly innovative ideas makes it’s benefits accessible to as many people as possible. This means the cost of entry for the customer is lower, not higher.
Again, a lot of focus is placed on product innovation. Technology alone isn’t necessarily going to take your company up-up and away. What you can charge a premium for is a great customer experience.

There is also this belief that because you added more features to your offering, then it makes it the best. Therefore the consumer should pay more for these features. Not so. If anything, having the most important features that the customer really values is what really matters.
Click here to read the whole post.

* * * *
QMI Solutions has realised the power of helping companies implement innovative solutions that meet the needs of price-sensitive and has developed a product sourced on a successful version that has comes from Germany's Fraunhofer IAO. It is called Cost-Focused Innovation.

Fraunhofer IAO’s approach to CFI is centred on identifying new price sensitive customer groups and then designing products that meet the absolute needs of that group. A great example is that of IKEA’s innovative approach to affordable living for young families. Formule 1, Accor’s budget hotel brand, is another CFI example targeted at a specific customer group - travelling sales representatives.

Click here to read more about Cost-Focused Innovation.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Can India's National Manufacturing Policy create 100M jobs?

Sourced from the Manufacturing Executive - this is an interesting post that outline India's plans for manufacturing up to 2025.

* * * *
As proposals for its
National Manufacturing Policy continue to move through India’s government committees, industry groups are expecting a potentially massive impact on employment and a substantial boost in manufacturing - up to 25% of GDP by 2025.

Chandrajit Banerjee, director general of the Confederation of Indian Industry commented: "It aims to create 100 million jobs and put the manufacturing sector into a high growth trajectory, making India a favored destination for manufacturing."

Currently the manufacturing sector contributes 15% to India's GDP,compared to other emerging economies such as China with 34%, 40% in Thailand and 26 to 30% in South Korea, Poland, Turkey and Malaysia.

* * * *
Click here to read the full post.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Better process means better innovation

This excerpt is part of a larger post by Dr Tim Kastelle from UQ.

It is from Chess Champion Gary Kasparov commenting on the winners from a 2005 Chess tournament which allowed human and computers to enter as hybrid teams. The winners were amateur players using modest equipment with a superior process. He said:

"Weak human + machine + better process was superior to a strong computer alone and, more remarkably, superior to a strong human + machine + inferior process."

Click here to read the full article.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Top five trends for food and beverage market during 2012

Sourced from Australian Food News.

International research body, Innova Market Insights, has identified five key trends that it claims will impact the Australian food and beverage market through 2012 and beyond.

According to Innova, the top trends for 2012 relate purity, authenticity and sustainability, as consumers continue to look for products with added value, despite the ongoing economic uncertainty.

Click here to read to full article.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Willing to be weird?

A post from Dr Tim Kastelle:

I think that to successfully innovate, we have to be willing to be weird. We must be prepared to succeed unconventionally, namely:
  1. Reward people that come up with the weirdest ideas
  2. Be extra vigilant for conventional failures
  3. Make it risky to not test out new ideas
Click here to read the full article.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Roma company sharpens up for CSG work

After learning of the assistance available to manufacturers through QMI Solutions, Sharpe Engineering first used the QMI team to conduct a Benchmark exercise, then an enterprise resource planning (ERP) selection process and, most recently, to implement the 5S system. “We knew what we had to do to improve the business, but QMI Solutions prompted it,” says CEO Peter Sharpe.
As a result, Sharpe Engineering benefited by increasing its business by 50% and selected an ERP system specific to the business's needs.

Click here to read the full article.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Why doesn't Britain make things any more?

This is such an interesting post by Aditya Chakrabortty in The Guardian. It reflects on the decline in manufacturing - de-industrialisation -  in the UK, which by any comparisons is significant (66%). It particularly focuses of the past glories industry in the north-east and the angst and uncertainty of what has replaced these industries. Some quotes from the article to whet your apetite:

"There is a popular argument which holds that all the rot in the British economy began in 1979. I don't believe that. Nor am I spinning a tale of leonine industrialists being led by Westminster donkeys. Pearson Engineering's Tom Clark has a good story about how the firm's previous owners used to handle industrial relations. Every time the workforce went on strike, which was often, one of the Pearsons would buy a new Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud and drive through the picket line, waving two fingers at his own staff."

"The real charge against Blair and Brown is that, rather than focus on this problem of underpeforming managers and shareholders, they chased the fantasy of the knowledge economy. In their wake trailed a whole phalanx of propagandists."

"Last year, we British bought £97bn more in goods from other countries than we sold to them – the biggest shortfall since 1980."

"..or you hear American economists arguing that free trade may have reduced salaries for blue collar workers in the west, but they can now buy cheaper Chinese imports. In other words, you may have lost your factory workshop – but at least you've got a pound shop."

Click here to read the full article.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The value of programs supporting manufacturing SMEs

Released in September by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation is a research report into the effectiveness of various Government programs from around the world that support manufacturing SMEs.

Programs from Argentina, Australia, Austria, Canada, China, Germany, Japan, Korea, Spain, and the UK and USA are analysed to determine effectiveness and return on investment for governments. NB: Enterprise Connect is the program analysed on behalf of Australia.

The report is quite extensive but in essence it comes to the conclusion that SME manufacturing support programs need to explicitly respond to the specific current challenges, needs, skills, and capabilities of a country’s SME manufacturing base, while at the same time charting a path to help SME manufacturers acquire the next generation of engineering, innovation, and product development and commercialisation skills.

Because SME manufacturers have to continually adapt to a changing landscape, the report argues that support programs must be as responsive. It suggests that analysing the composition of a nation’s manufacturing base, in terms of the "technological intensity" of its manufacturing sectors as either "low-technology", "medium-low technology", "medium-high technology", or "high-technology" is one way to do this.

When comparing Anglo-American programs with those of Germany/Japan, it is possible that German and Japanese SME manufacturers may be enjoying the benefits of the more advanced technical and engineering apprenticeship training programs these countries are renowned for (particularly Germany’s famed Technische Hochschules), meaning that their SME manufacturing support efforts have historically been able to focus more on the "front-end" of innovation, R&D, and new product development and introduction, instead of having to invest as much effort in assisting manufacturers with adopting lean manufacturing principles, improving process techniques, and adopting new technologies.
Click here to download a PDF of the full report.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Redmond Gary Elevates its Performance

Redmond Gary initially worked with QMI Solutions for six months, focusing specifically on introducing Lean Manufacturing practices. “We did a benchmarking exercise to see where the business sat compared to the rest of the industry,” says Managing Director Andrew Danks.

Profitability increased by 20%, productivity by 25%, production has risen from three vehicles a month to one a week and the accident rate has significantly reduced.
Click here to read the full article.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Three business lessons to learn from Steve Jobs

To date many have blogged (debated) about Steve Jobs and his achievements to date. Here's an interesting post from a ReadWriteWeb blogger, having recently read the Jobs autobiography, stating the three key lessons to learn from Jobs's success - intuition, reinvention and focus.

More interesting to me was the theme that emerged from the autobiography about the creativity that occurs when combining the humanities and science.

Click here to read the full blog.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Snatching innovation from the jaws of a problem

I found this article on Associated Content where it provides a few examples on how innovation can be the silver lining to a problem. Two interesting examples including bottling water seepage from a train tunnel and turning tents into trousers.

Click here to read the full article here.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Innovation Excellence - Slow Down So You Can Go Fast

The Innovation Excellence website provide a range of thoughts and trends on innovation. On the site, Holly Green posted an interesting article regarding the biases that exist within an organisation and hinder its decision-making capacity and therfore its innovation capability. Some key points from the article:
  • Actively seeking out contrary data to ensure that key decision makers had all the information they need to make the best decision
  • Allowing people with conflicting points of view to openly express their opinions
  • Thoroughly reviewing the business case for the decision, even when senior executives strongly supported the decision
  • Establishing processes and lines of communication to ensure that truly innovative ideas reach the senior management level
 Click here to read the full article.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Tom Peters interview: Excellence NOW

The link to Innovation Excellence's interview with Tom Peters is below. In it, Tom Peters talks about the importance of innovation permeating every "nook and cranny" of an organisation and how SMEs are the backbones of innovation in our economies.

Click here to read the interview.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Innovation is the key to life after resources boom

Interesting article in The Australian (1/11/11) by Anthony Wong discussing Steve Jobs, Branson and the Future Jobs Forum specifically in reference to setting up an Innovation framework to prepare for the inevitable bust post the resources boom.

Click here to read the full article.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Second Most Powerful Word in Innovation

by Roy Luebke

The second most powerful word in delivering new economic value (aka innovation) is effectiveness. Peter Drucker wrote extensively on effectiveness and the subject is worth reflecting upon when determining how and where to find growth opportunities an embarking on any innovation program.

Let’s begin by clearly stating what effectiveness is NOT:
  • Efficiency
  • Cost reduction
  • Time management
  • Automation
  • Any other number of words describing task-oriented business
Read the full article by clicking here.

Roy Luebke is an innovation expert focused on discovering new, customer-driven opportunity areas to help define the future of a company. He is inspired by knowledge and learning, and applying structured tools and methods at the crossroads of strategy and innovation to achieve business growth.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Does manufacturing have a future in Australia?

Following is an article taken from The Conversation - and provides some great insights into the importance of the industry as a generator of R&D and expertise and a key enabler for other industries.

* * * *

Does manufacturing have a future in Australia?

This question has now been brought sharply into focus, as industry leaders and unions pressure the Federal Government to consider new measures to safeguard Australia’s struggling manufacturers, and a pessimistic outlook takes hold.

In addition, recent downsizing and closures of major facilities such as BlueScope’s export operations at Port Kembla raise the further question of whether a amanufacturing decline matters to us anymore.
The current squeeze on manufacturing is seen by the Productivity Commission, Reserve Bank and financial market commentators as inevitable “structural change” by which productive inputs are reallocated to the resource sector to achieve a higher return.

Read the full article by clicking here.

The Conversation is an independent source of information, analysis and commentary from the university and research sector – written by acknowledged experts and delivered directly to the public. As professional journalists, we aim to make this wealth of knowledge and expertise accessible to all.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The cuckoo clock vs Michelangelo

“For 30 years under the Borgias Italy had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love, they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.”

…or so Orson Welles says in his movie “The Third Man” but does this translate to how we innovate locally – does a combination of diversity (and unrest) drive innovation or can we still innovate effectively in a peaceful, but potentially dormant, environment.

UQ's Dr Tim Kastelle is currently in Italy and in his latest blog, he discusses the Welles quote and the innovations lessons to be learned:
  • Geography still matters
  • New innovations crowd out old technologies
  • Diversity drives innovation
Click here to read the whole blog.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Inventory and natural disasters

by James McIntosh, Performance Improvement Manager - QMI Solutions

In Queensland, Australia, we experienced widespread and severe flooding in January. Thanks to good town planning, houses are often on high ground and businesses in nice, flat, low lying flood plains, so many businesses were affected.

We've noticed that the companies with less inventory and good 5S recovered from the immediate impact of the floods much more quickly, as there was less junk to clean up. In fact, some un-lean companies were so overwhelmed that they weren't able to face the prospect of cleaning up, and just walked away.

Also, the companies with lower inventory and generally good Lean practices have returned to production quicker and more effectively, because they have been able to work on both "business as usual" and "manage by exception" much more quickly.  Through our network, I have heard of companies which had large amounts of inventory and have spent a lot of time trying to figure out what they could make with it, given the parts which were damaged and needed to be replaced.

Of course, this is a case where global supply was still available. Japan's crisis is different, as it affects global automotive supply chains. In that case, people are making the point that large amounts of inventory might buffer against these occurrences - and there is a real impact when people shy away from reducing inventory levels because of this belief. Complex assemblies such as automobiles rely on a vast variety of components, sourced from around the world due to price pressures. Also, each single item is required - you can't make the car without the badge, just as you can't make it without the wheels.

To maintain a meaningful buffer, you must buffer every single component. The storage and capital investment required would be so vast - imagine trying to buffer against a 6 month interruption at a small to medium sized plant by storing 200,000 cars or so.... at $15,000 per car that's 3 billion dollars tied up in inventory. Even if the buffering worked, a plant producing 400,000 vehicles a year carries a burden of $750 per car, if the cost of money is 10% and any other costs of storing, insuring, handling, obsolescence and shrinkage are ignored. This makes the plant unable to compete due to the cost and is the very reason why Lean companies outcompete others.

Globalisation means exposure to risks, globally - an earthquake in Japan that knocks out your transmission plant impacts you, as well as the event in Germany that knocks out your ABS module plant, and the event in Malaysia that halts your injection moulded the frequency of major events which might affect you is increased. This leads people to think about local sourcing, to reduce the exposure frequency - however you have reduced your pool of possible suppliers so it is likely that won't be able to access world's best producers. Again, if the cost/quality/service penalty on your $15,000 of components is 5%, that's a burden of $750 per car, with the result that you're unable to compete.

So maybe the answer is diversification of your suppliers - gearboxes both from Mexico and Japan, or diverse model production at a given plant. These options also have a cost.

The reality if of course that you choose a strategy, each of which comes with benefits and drawbacks. I feel that the current costs of transport are so low, economies of scale so large, benefits of sourcing world's best so great, and major interruptions like the current one so infrequent (and shared by our competitors) that the only sensible strategy for the automotive industry and many others is world's best sourcing, with low levels of inventory. However, I can not back this up with data, and the answer is different across industries, markets and products.

High inventory levels are used where the capital investment in operating equipment is very large, such as aircraft and minerals processing plants.

Local sourcing is used in specialist flexible areas such as service and custom fabrication.  Diversification is used in risk sensitive areas such as defence.

My fear is that manufacturing and assembly, which should use world's best sourcing with low inventory, will change strategies due to the current Japanese crisis and suffer because of it.  What do you think?

Through his role as Performance Improvement Manager at QMI Solutions, James McIntosh extensive experience in Lean process improvement, including supply chain and inventory optimisation across mining, automotive, transport industries.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

How to unlearn - a key to innovation

Once again the Blogging Innovation site has come up with another gem. This time the topic emphasises the importance of the 'unlearning' process to innovation. Blogger Dennis Stauffer is an award-winning author of Thinking Clockwise, A Field Guide for the Innovative Leader but in this blog he discusses the need to be able to 'unlearn' what we already know and believe to be able to free up creative, and therefore innovative, thinking.

He has a 'stop doing' list to become more creative:
  1. Stop immediately passing judgment on our ideas to allow ourselves the freedom to use our imagination as a child does.
  2. Stop inhibiting ourselves, by becoming more playful and finding the fun in the task at hand.
  3. Stop using prior knowledge to reject new ideas. Our knowledge is a powerful source of possibilities to explore and pursue but too often we use our knowledge to reject possibilities that don’t fit our prior assumptions and beliefs. The effect is that our knowledge slows rather than enhances innovation.
  4. Stop looking for the one right answer (as we were taught to do in school) by making a point of considering multiple interpretations of what we observe and experience.
  5. Stop avoiding risk and start managing it. It’s essential to achieving innovation.
  6. Stop trying to always get it right, by testing the boundaries instead. As we learn what doesn’t work, we gain a clearer understanding of what does.
 Click here to read the full story.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The myth of quick innovation adoption

Tim Kastelle is a Lecturer in Innovation Management at the University of Queensland Business School and on the Blogging Innovation site he outline some of the myths of quick innovation adoption. He uses the example of email which most of us would think emerged in the 90s once the Internet was well established and argues that the first recorded email was sent in 1971, and therefore the innovation takeup was a lot longer than what is generally thought.

QMI Solutions was originally set up to lead technology diffusion in the manufacturing industry and there are many parallels between what we have long illustrated as the technology 'S' curve and what Tim Castelle refers to as the Innovation 'S' curve.

Especially interesting is his explanation of the 'Long X', namely the period of time that an innovation experiences rapid adoption (usually because it is new), which then wanes and subsequently grows again (if it is a good idea) more sustainably.

Read his latest blog here

Friday, April 1, 2011

Seven technologies that will change the way you manufacture

The Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) recently unveiled a list of “Innovations That Could Change the Way You Manufacture.” Its annual compilation showcases emerging technologies that are making a difference in manufacturing, such as graphene, programmable magnets and Super Velcro.

Assembly magazine give a description of seven technologies that will change the way you manufacture. Click here to read the full story.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Great Innovation Lie

Part of the challenge with supporting (and implementing) an innovation framework is how do you put systems around what seems to be a process that thrives on freedom from such systems. Jeffrey Baumgartner on the Blogging Innovation website writes about the prevalence of innovation consultants wanting to place systems around innovation and he outlines the basics required to maximise innovation such as:
  • trust
  • management buy-in
  • budget
  • tools
  • evaluation methods
  • facilities
  • time
Click here to read the full blog.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Why failure drives innovation

Attached is a brief article from Professor Baba Shiv of Stanford School of Business. He has an interesting take on the approach to failure within the innovation space and even highlights rapid prototyping as an essential part of the process.

* * * *

Silicon Valley is populated with people who fear only sitting on the bench while someone else scores with a great idea, says Professor Baba Shiv. How people approach failure is a key to success, he argues.

STANFORD GRADUATE SCHOOL OF BUSINESS—"Failure" is a dreaded concept for most business people. But failure can actually be a huge engine of innovation for an individual or an organization. The trick lies in approaching it with the right attitude and harnessing it as a blessing, not a curse.

I've coined two terms that describe how people view failure: the type 1 mindset, and the type 2 mindset.

Click here to read the full article.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

IBM's 100 years in 100 seconds

IBM is turning 100 in 2011 and the company is having an awesome time celebrating its longevity.  From technical advances, the Apollo program to blazing trails through race and gender equality, IBM has and IS doing the job for all of the world.  The company has changed in so many ways and has to adapt in ways only IBMers can but we have survived and thrived. 

Find more information about our centennial celebration

Click here to see 100 second video of all IBM's achievements over the last 100 years.
To see the longer versions detailing each achievements over each of the 100 years click here.

Decline in US manufacturing attributed to 'killing' schools

Wow what an interesting article. The article highlights the demise of trade schools in the US that were key enablers in feeding an engaged and sustainable manufacturing workforce.
Also very interesting is the embedded ABC discussion on "Made in America" drawing comments from journalists and industry on how to fix America's manufacturing woes.