Two Types of Innovator

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I work with a wide range of fast moving, innovative organisations and I’m often struck by the different ways that companies with serious product-led innovation objectives execute their strategies. Broadly, at the risk of oversimplifying the situation, I see two main categories of innovator:

1. The first group relies heavily on the (often considerable) market, product and technology expertise they have available to them. When faced with a technology road-block or product development problem, these companies make use of both internal and external knowledge and expertise to address the problem. They will brainstorm a range of possible options and will then go through a process to select the best option. Unfortunately, as the problem to be solved becomes more difficult and unusual, the solutions generated are often what I call “trade-off” fixes; that is, when we improve one aspect of a system’s performance, another aspect gets worse. For example, if we set out to design a new car which has increased passenger space, it is likely to be heavier and more expensive to make. These “trade off” situations can them become long standing and, even worse, accepted as inevitable.

2. The second group also makes use of market, product and technological expertise but additionally employs systematic innovation techniques such as TRIZ (Russian acronym for the Theory of Inventive Problem Solving), allowing them to target stronger solutions and to access a far broader body of knowledge than the first group. Some companies, such as Samsung and Intel, have trained large numbers of their employees to use TRIZ as a strategic innovation tool, enabling them proactively to identify “trade off” situations in their current and future products and processes so that they can break through complex problems faster than their competitors.

Guess which group is turning out to be the more successful over time?

If you would like to learn more about TRIZ and find out how to move your organisation into the second group, radically boosting your organisation’s return on innovation investment, I’ve teamed up with a world leader in the area of Design Quality Training, SCB Associates to offer you a one day “Introduction to TRIZ”, in Cambridge on the 30th September.

Book into this course by the 30th of July to qualify for what I think is a very tempting early bird price of just £295. Click here for more details of the Introduction to TRIZ training course. Contact us to reserve your place.