Dear Colleagues

As you well know – many engineering companies talk about their incredibly innovative products and services; but these are often anything but innovative. Many companies avoid innovation until they are condemned to the scrap heap. And by this time it is too late.

Innovation is one of the key building blocks of a successful company. And perhaps one of the most uncertain and difficult.

Early Exposure Kills Innovation
The challenge when you try and innovate is that often early release of your idea within your company will attract the doomsayers. Many remarking that it is a stupid idea or something that has no chance of success. These comments are often unreasonable but people are somewhat jaded by the talk of innovation in terms of ideas and need to be convinced. The trick thus is to build up a more cast iron case for success of your innovation to ensure it hits the light of day and is a successful product or service.

How many times have you had a great idea for an innovation which are you enthusiastic and passionate about and then had cold water poured on it from a disbelieving boss or colleague?

You Need to Check First
So when considering releasing a particularly innovative idea for an improvement to an engineering system, you should check that:

  • You have done detailed stealth testing of your innovation. This requires you to test your innovation out extensively so that you have considerable support in terms of data and operation. But it needs to be done quietly and as extensively as possible without alerting any of the negative forces or opposition.
  • You have all the data to prove it has a good chance of working. An airy fairy idea is not an innovation. You need hard data, demonstrated research and costings.
  • Support from the middle and lower echelons of the company. This is where you will obtain the necessary resources, support base and who understand what your idea is about. It is not always likely that the top management will understand the innovation that well (apart from the financial savings you will make).

Next time; before you release your innovation consider whether you have built up a strong case for it by stealth.

Thanks to Paddy Miller, an old professor of mine, for a great concept.

Remember as Charles Lamb points out: There is nothing so nice as doing good by stealth and being found out by accident.

Yours in Engineering Learning

Steve