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A Study of Innovation
• It’s the new wonder word
Noun - a creation (a new device or process) resulting from study and experimentation
Verb - the act of starting something for the first time; introducing something new
• But can’t we get more targeted than that?
• Rapid Prototyping
These are your Knowns and Known
Building Capabilities is often the most
challenging part of the process.
Diverse Capabilities are key to a successful
Be Careful not to center on a single
EDDIE Robotics Research Platform
Kinect Game Sensor
Windows 8 Alpha SDK
Phidgets Hardware Interface System
• “I need a…”
• “I want a…”
• “Wouldn’t it be cool if…”
• “I read about a…”
• “I saw a movie about…”
• Key parts of Brainstorming are
understanding the scope and
• This is where the mapping happens
• How do you use Capability X/Y/Z to get to Brainstorm A/B/C?
• Quickly throw out the impractical or the improbable.
• Decide on at least the general feature set
• Don’t get too detailed yet
• Build your list of questions
THIS is where you want to spend your time
Rapid means many things – ideally you want to have a cycle time of about 24
Hardware is actually easier to break down into rapid chunks than software
Let your answers guide your path – a “It won’t work” result is the second best
answer you’ll get. “Not sure” is the worst.
When working with hardware – budget for failure (3x requirements are
• At some point you’ll have to decide what will make the first cut
• Remember that it should be just the first cut – waiting for production quality
on everything leads to paralysis.
• Finalization will often take as much time as prototyping did.
• Things that don’t make this cut go back into the idea pile for Rev Next.
• Never let there be a final Rev (or at least always act as if there is a Rev Next.)
Nothing’s done until the paperwork is in.
Seriously – you’ll need to push out the information to others. If you can’t, you’re
stuck with it.
Documentation is also your QC – this is where you find all those obvious problems
before you go out in public.
Build it as a hand-off packet – and a budget justification for that Rev Next.
Bring the lawyers in at this point – this will likely be when the patents and
Part of the Innovation process is the presentation - what kind will depend on the
goals you started with
Press – Pretty clear
Process – Internal leads
Inspiration – Internal and external
Product – Production people first, and then release
This is also why communications skills are an important part of an innovation team
This is the payoff – where teams get to gather mindshare for their innovations
So how do YOU do it?
Build the right team
Give them the support and budget to explore
Give them cover from Bureaucracy
Give them a time limit
Give them a target
Give them the authority to get it done
Get out of the way