TRLs, MRLs, IRLs, SRLs, PRLs: An Ecosystem of Readiness-Level Indicators

April 27th, 2017

The technology boom of the late 1990s, the accumulated annual doubling of computing processing power and storage, and the rapid growth of the internet achieved a critical mass shortly after the Millenium.  All of a sudden, a myriad of new possibilities became available to the designers of products and systems.  These possibilities most challenged the designers of mission-critical and life-or-death systems, products and industries where Murphy’s Law creates catastrophic problems.

 

Ten Years To Become A Process

If things came together in the early 2000s, that means there was a whole bunch of activity in the preceding decade that then gave rise to the boom and next-level capabilities.  Process-ware always lags technology and invention.  Companies don’t know what type of process best optimizes new capabilities until they have achieved a representative sample of experiences, then comes the process.  It is no surprise that a Technology Readiness Level assessment methodology emerged after the boom.

 

Ten Years To Become Widely Adopted

Its usage rapidly spread across the world.  Globalization was accelerating in that same time period and many international companies began doing business together.  Since 2010, hundreds of renditions of the Technology Readiness Levels figure below (a classical version) have existed, some in the public sector and many private copyrighted versions.

Technology-Readiness-Levels

Type “Technology Readiness Levels Images” into a search engine and you are sure to find a public version that has been adapted for your needs.

 

A Fleshed-Out Body of Knowledge

With so many countries and industries using and refining the methodology, it was also no surprise that a family of methodologies arose to assure end-to-end management across the places that readiness applied.  Practitioners effectively voted that “readiness assessment” was a good idea.

• Technology Readiness Levels [TRLs]
• Manufacturing Readiness Levels [MRLs]
• Interface Readiness Levels [IRLs]
• System Readiness Levels [SRLs]
• People Readiness Levels [PRLs]

And the approach enabled government, defense, systems contractors, and complex systems industries to have natural places to approve, withhold, or kill funding.  And off they went.

 

Getting The 80-20 Benefit

Like QFD’s “Four Houses of Quality,” the increasing refinement had decreasing returns.  Most use the First House of Quality and get into the Second House.  TRLs and MRLs are the most-used outside of the mission-critical environments.  The figure below (a classical version) indicates the dovetailing of TRLs and MRLs.

As with TRLs, many analogous MRL images may be found by searching on “Manufacturing Readiness Level Images.”

 

Readiness Levels Are Far From Being A Yesterday Thing

Sandia National Laboratories’ initiative is among the most active places of ongoing refinement in the USA.   Europe’s Horizion 2020 [H2020] initiative is perhaps the most active place of refinement in Europe.  TRLs and MRLs are highly embedded in many companies and industries throughout Europe and in India; and throughout the US Government and the aerospace and defense industries.

 

Technology Readiness Levels Are Widely Adopted [Machine Design – May 2017] illuminates the success of TRLs and the family of frameworks that developed around TRLs, including: Manufacturing Readiness Levels [MRLs], Interface Readiness Levels [IRLs], System Readiness Levels [SRLs], and People Readiness Levels [PRLs].

 

 

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DFI: Design for IIoT & IoT

April 26th, 2017

When major new industry trends come along that affect product design and development, many companies jump quickly to create an impression of being current and with the trend.  Marketing literature, advertising, social media, and other external-facing documents and images quickly incorporate key words and icons in their messaging.  Product developers and packaging engineers are encouraged to rapidly design-in some concrete evidence of capabilities with regard to the new trend.  While these rapid reactions work well for certain trends, those of a more limited scope or another shade of gray – “open innovation” comes to mind, other trends require a more thoughtful and systematic approach.  The latter is the case for the advent of the Industrial Internet [IIoT] and the Internet of Things [IoT] and their manifestation in the physical and soft products of the future.

Industrial Internet

Thinking IIoT, this train has been on the tracks dating back to the start of designing automated factories.  Industry has been making steady progress on automated materials handling, numerical control, robotics, machine vision, M2M communication, HMI, and numerous other technologies and approaches that will some day allow the lights to be turned out and the humans removed from many factory settings.  What has been in common so far is the focus on the use of these approaches to optimize products for manufacture and delivery.  The new frontier is to not just get leverage for the manufacturer, but to get leverage from a product’s inception that will benefit its customers and users through the product’s end of life.

Internet of Things

Thinking IoT, this train is a couple decades younger.  Its domain is nearly infinite – a blue sky if there ever was one.  And, traditional norms of design that have always focused on the relationship between the customer and the producer will be blown apart as customer expectations transform to expect that all their “internet appliances” will work together and share with each other regardless of the company that designed and produced the appliance.  Before too long, both B2B and B2C customers will come to expect that a product’s history and “experiences” from birth will bring additional value to them as owners of the product.

Design Thinking

The massiveness of the possibilities, and the decisions on the avenues to choose that will maximize customer value while maximizing return to the product/appliance designer, are already challenging product planners and designers.  How many sensors should my product have?  How many transmitters?  Will those sensors/transmitters focus on optimizing producibility or serviceability for the manufacturer, or should they focus on optimizing customer experience or value?  After all, each sensor/transmitter increases a product’s cost which affects its price and margin?  What cloud capabilities must be in place?  Should the cloud capabilities be proprietary, open, or a mix?  What protocols should exist to maximize sensing and transmitting?  With whatever approach we choose, how will we assure that customers have uniform experiences regardless of where the products are used around the globe?  Phew.  Not easy.

Systems Approach

It seems logical that a systems engineering approach will be needed.  Designing capabilities into products in an ad hoc manner seems short-sighted when the range of possibilities is so large.  Just like companies have been concerned for years that their portfolio of product offerings will largely enable “one stop shopping” for customers, companies are soon to be equally concerned that their portfolio of product offerings will enable “one ecosphere” for customers.  Ad hoc design approaches cannot result in competitive advantage product portfolios.

 

Industrial-Internet-of-Things

 

 

DFI: Design for IIoT & IoT [Machine Design – April 2017] puts forth an initial business model and framework for design thinking that can help to focus and constrain the nearly unlimited choices that face product planners and designers whose products must integrate with the internet and then leverage it.  This 600-word piece is not a solution by any means, but hopefully conveys a vision for how one might approach the mother of all design challenges.

 

Industrial-Internet-of-Things

 

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GGI Tweets content from our primary and secondary research,

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The 5 Risks of Product Development

April 2nd, 2017

The number of risks associated with setting an R&D and product development strategy and budget are large.  Choosing the projects, and the balancing of the resultant company product portfolio, has even more possible risks.  Then, too many to count, come all the risks associated with developing, testing, and launching each project investment. Lastly, there are the commercialization risks before one gets to close the loop; and actually validate if the initial investment decision was correct.  Oh, don’t forget the risks incurred with numerous “corrective actions and changes of the original decision” that are incurred as the project investments make their way from concept to the customer.  Where does one start?

If one looks at the research on Corporate Risk, aka Enterprise Risk Management or ERM, since the era of globalization, a number of studies put “strong practices”  at around 30-40% of industry.  That may be an accurate number for “best process practices,” but when one looks at the confidence in the possible monetary values of risk – or the ability to identify an imminent risk – one gets more sober.  In reality, only a few companies really have a clue about their individual risks or their collective risk.  Now, let’s go back to “R&D and Product Development Risks.”

R&D and Product Development Risk is tough subject to tackle in 600 words.  Rather than parsing the subject too finely and develop a list of ten or twelve and writing a sentence about each, you will hopefully think this is a more cerebral approach to select five “key risk types” and argue that they cover the bulk of the key business risks of product development.

1. Strategic Risk
2. Product Portfolio Risk
3. Technical Risk
4. Supply Chain Risk
5. Talent Risk

“Supply Chain” and “Talent” are new to what one might have described as the historical list.  The list one would have constructed up until the era of globalization and the advent of the software-connected world.

Historically, one would have called out Manufacturing Risk as a top five in the days of vertically integrated industries.  This risk is now subsumed into Technical Risk and Supply Chain Risk (which is also more consistent with industry’s “DevOps” direction).  The other risk that would likely have made the historical top five is Market Risk.  In a global world with product and sometimes technology life-cycles of a few years, Market Risk approaches being synonymous with Technical Risk plus the planned duration of the product in the Product Portfolio Risk.

Meanwhile, the company Supply Chain now accounts for near 80% of product costs; and the influence of that percentage on product and business success or failure. A good deal of a company’s innovation process is now at risk to the outside, including invention, execution, commodity, and currency risk.

As for Talent’s rise to a top five, the importance of Talent has been on a steady rise since the advent of the industrial revolution – and just keeps rising.  It is especially important for R&D and Product Development as it is (still) people that invent products and those people typically account for near 80% of company R&D budgets.  People used to stay with companies for years.  Now, the near stable asset that was reflected in 80% of all costs is one that must constantly be maintained or the consequences are great.

The 5 Risks of Product Development [Machine Design – March 2017] outlines some of the primary parameters of each risk area and the author’s reasons for selecting these five specific topics from among the myriads of risks.

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TWITTER

GGI Tweets content from our primary and secondary research,

140-character summaries of good articles in trade publications,

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The 54th R&D 100 Awards & 2nd Annual Technology Conference

January 12th, 2017

54th R&D 100 Awards Dinner

The 54th R&D 100 Awards & 2nd Annual Technology Conference was held on November 2-4, 2016 at the Gaylord National Convention Center, just south of Washington, DC, in Oxon, Maryland.

 

R&D 100 Awards

The R&D 100 Awards are considered the most globally prestigious awards for invention and innovation.  Each year, for the past 54 years, people arrive to the awards ceremony from all over the world in hopes of winning an “Oscar of Invention.”

The leaders of R&D Magazine, the flagship publication of Advantage Business Media’s 10-magazine Science Group, coordinate the Awards contest and dinner each year. This year, 52 judges from industry, academia, and government reviewed a gazillion submissions and determined there were 275 Finalists.  Then, they culled-out the 100 Winners.  Plus, 15 Special Recognition Awards are part of the ceremony each year.  In all, some one-hundred fifteen winners are presented awards at an engaging black tie dinner event.  Every innovation professional should witness this at least once in their career.

There are six categories:  Analytical/Test, IT/Electrical, Mechanical/Materials, Process/Prototyping, Software/Services, and Special Recognition.

Examples of Special Recognition Awards include: Corporate Social Responsibility, Green Tech, and Market Disruptor.

Awards Dinner Agenda

 

54th R&D 100 Awards Winners

The full list of 2016 R&D 100 Award Winners is available here:  www.rd100conference.com/awards/winners-finalists/year/2016/.

It is hard to keep track of it all during the dinner.  The individual inventions are fascinating and fully captivate your attention, one after the other, and all of a sudden the evening is over.  So, here are some observations at fifty-thousand feet from putting the table from the URL in the preceding paragraph into Excel.

1)  Several organizations won four or more awards.  The following entities may be strong sources of global innovation:  Taiwan’s ITRI, MIT Lincoln Labs, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, and “the Dow companies.”

2) Other than Dow, the only other industrial or high-tech company to win more than one award was PPG Industries which won two.

3)  USA’s National Laboratories also deserve comment.  Approximately 30 of the awards went to one of the National Labs or to a dedicated USA government lab.

4)  Not enough industry and high-tech companies are competing.  I’ve recommended to our clients over the years that it is really inexpensive to compete in this contest and one can’t beat the visibility, free marketing, and brand value.  If you are a big company, there is real bang for the buck to be a Finalist – never mind winning.  If you are a start-up, the visibility could accelerate the company by 3-5 years.

 

Innovator Of The Year Award

The Innovator Of The Year Award, this particular year, recognizes a technology that might benefit us all.  Dr. Anthony Atala, Director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, and his team are making great progress on growing human organs that work.

Innovator Of The Year Award

The more vessels and “piping” that is in an organ, the harder it is to grow.  But, some major organs (such as the liver) have large areas of very similar cells that perform the function of the organ.  Dr. Atala is now within sight of being able to consistently grow the “mass areas” of several organs, possibly within this decade.

 

The Global R&D Funding Forecast – The Year Ahead

The 2017 Global Funding Forecast was presented in DRAFT form after the Awards Dinner concluded.  Only the DRAFT form is currently available.  The final version should be out later this month or in early February.

2017 Global R&D Funding Forecast

2017 Global R&D Funding Forecast Pie Chart

R&D Magazine is one of the best sources of R&D Spending information presented in a global business context.  Each year, a preview of the coming year is presented.  Historically, this was developed by R&D Magazine in conjunction with Battelle Laboratories.  As of last year, this is now developed in conjunction with the Industrial Research Institute [IRI].  This was a natural alliance as the IRI has been developing a similar set of spending information each year.

 

2nd Annual Technology Conference

Last year R&D Magazine brainstormed what else they might do, given all the accomplished people that come to the Awards each year, and they decided to wrap a “technology and technology management conference” around the Awards dinner.  The first conference, in conjunction with the awards dinner, was last year.  I was invited to speak at the inaugural conference last year at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

This year, I was invited back to give two presentations.  In my mind however, I didn’t think the location would be as much fun.  But, I was wrong.  The Gaylord National Convention Center is a specially created oasis just south of DC, right on the Potomac River.  Many government and military conferences are held at this giant convention center.  A small community thrives around this all-in-one facility/town, with plenty of entertainment for traveling spouses.

 Oxon Maryland Ferris Wheel

Like McCormick Place in Chicago, this is perhaps another location that professionals should attempt to experience at least once in their career.

The table of contents of my two presentations at the 2nd Annual Technology Conference are directly below.  There was standing-room only on the Breakthrough Innovation topic.  The highlight of the 12 Trends topic was GGI’s roll-out of the upcoming 8th generation of product development processes.  Folks that have been to our presentations will recognize the seven generations slide being projected in the picture below, and I verbally explained the 8th generation.  [The 8th generation was officially published in Machine Design in December 2016.]

 

10 Techniques to Achieve Breakthroughs Through Innovation

2015 marked the 20th anniversary of Christensen’s work on disruptive innovation. In 2016, GGI researched disruptive, radical, and breakthrough innovation. It was time to take a snapshot of how the body of knowledge had evolved over two decades.

10 Techniques To Achieve Breakthrough Innovation

Goldense Breakthrough Innovation Presentation

Our work found ten distinct breakthrough strategies. They vary greatly, from competing on business-models to specific market or business strategies to technology mastery to commercialization execution. There is no common root to them, except that your company and industry will know they are experiencing a breakthrough from a new or a changing basis of competition.

 

12 Trends in the Science of Managing R&D and Product Development

After my presentation on Complexity at the 1st Annual Conference, R&D Magazine asked me to build off it and to make recommendations on how to manage in the decade ahead. I presented this work for the first time at a conference in Poland in April 2016 and further refined it for R&D Magazine.

12 Trends In The Science of Managing R&D and Product Development

Goldense 12 Trends Presentation

Directing and overseeing science, materials, technology, software creation-to-commercialization activities is already a good bit more challenging this past decade. Well, not to disappoint, we have another tumultuous decade to go. There will be another reset around 2025, once there are 100 billion connected devices and that becomes the new normal.

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ANNOUNCEMENT

GGI’s next Metrics Summit is February 28 to March 2, 2017

A quick note to let you know that our 21st R&D-Product Development Metrics Summit is coming up.

It will be held in Norwood, Massachusetts.

Our conference facility is equidistant between the Providence and Boston airports,

and a comprehensive renovation was completed last fall.

The place is beautiful, the food is great, WI-FI is throughout.

 Metrics Summit 21 Twitter Icon

Our content is stimulating, our discussions are lively,

and the teamwork during the Workshop makes for lasting relationships with colleagues

who deal with many of the same professional issues and challenges.

Please join us.

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TWITTER

GGI became significantly more active on Twitter in 2016.

No chit chat.

GGI Tweets content from our primary and secondary research,

140-character summaries of good articles in trade publications,

and announcements and recaps on GGI events and presentations.

A quick look.

@GoldenseGroup

Please consider Following GGI on Twitter.

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54th R&D 100 Awards & Technology Conference 2016

October 10th, 2016

54th R&D 100 Awards & Technology Conference LinkedIn

The 54th R&D 100 Awards & Technology Conference is coming right up, November 2-4.  The conference, now in its second year, will open at noon on Wednesday and continue through noon on Friday.  The Awards Dinner, where 275 Finalists are now eagerly waiting to see if they will be one of the 100 Winners this year, will be Thursday evening November 3.

Last year, at the inaugural conference, we enjoyed great learning from top scientists, engineers, managers, and thought leaders from all over the globe – and a bit of fun at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.  Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway, and the other keynote speakers participated in the conference as colleagues from beginning to end. R&D Magazine did a great job inventing a concurrent conference that complimented their renowned R&D 100 Awards. I was pleased to be invited to present at this first annual conference.  My talk was on “R&D Complexity Increases In the Decade Ahead,” the areas that will keep us on our toes from increasing complexity.

This year’s conference will be held just south of Washington, DC.  R&D Magazine guessed the place would be hopping a week before the presidential election and they were right.  It should be great fun again.  I am pleased to be invited back for the second annual conference, this time to talk on two different subjects.


10 Techniques to Achieve Breakthroughs Through Innovation

Earlier this year, GGI researched disruptive, radical, and breakthrough innovation.  2015 marked the 20th anniversary of Christensen’s work on disruptive innovation. It was time to take a snapshot of how the body of knowledge had evolved over two decades.

10 Techniques To Achieve Breakthrough Innovation

 

Our work found ten distinct breakthrough strategies.  They vary greatly, from competing on business-models to specific market or business strategies to technology mastery to commercialization execution.  There is no common root to them, except that your company and industry will know they are experiencing a breakthrough from a new or a changing basis of competition.


12 Trends in the Science of Managing R&D and Product Development

After my presentation last year on Complexity, R&D Magazine asked me to build off it and to make recommendations on how to manage in the decade ahead.  I presented this work for the first time at a conference in Poland in April of this year.  Subsequently, some areas have been refined and shored up.

12 Trends In The Science of Managing R&D and Product Development

 

Directing and overseeing science, materials, technology, software creation-to-commercialization activities is already a good bit more challenging this past decade.  Well, not to disappoint, we have another tumultuous decade to go.  There will be another reset around 2025, once there are 100 billion connected devices and that becomes the new normal.


Pleasant Surprise At The 2015 Conference Last Year

At the 2015 R&D 100 Awards Dinner last year at Caesars Palace some eight or ten different people, that had participated in either GGI’s Innovation or Metrics Summits or had been our clients, walked the red carpet to receive their individual or team member R&D 100 Award.


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Please Don’t Forget

GGI’s 20th Metrics Summit is October 18-20

A quick note to let you know that our 20th R&D-Product Development Metrics Summit is coming up, October 18-20 in Norwood, MA.

Our conference facility is equidistant between the Providence and Boston airports, and a comprehensive renovation has just been completed.

The place is beautiful and the food is great.

20th Metrics Summit Icon LinkedIn

Content is stimulating, and our Summit discussions and Workshop are great fun too.

Please join us.


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Recent Twitter Postings on Innovation & Metrics

GGI has become significantly more active on Twitter in 2016.

No chit chat.

GGI Tweets content from our primary and secondary research and publications; and about GGI events and presentations.

There are a number of substantive Tweets that went out October 7-9 regarding our recent work and near term plans.

A quick look.

@GoldenseGroup

 Please consider Following GGI on Twitter.

Innovation & Impact

August 9th, 2016

Innovation & Impact Logo

“Innovation & Impact” is new scientific and business journal being launched by De Gruyter that focuses on “exciting high profile case studies concerning the process of innovation and its impact on society and markets.”

“The aim of the journal is to inspire researchers and entrepreneurs by exchanging practical examples of innovation. In particular, the journal focuses on case studies presenting routes of scientific ideas to the market. It also contains articles describing frameworks or institutions that are supporting the process of technology transfer.”

Innovation & Impact

My colleague, Dr. Grzegorz Liskiewicz, Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the Lodz University of Technology in Poland, is the Journal Editor. Dr. Liskiewicz asked me to join the Editorial Advisory & Scientific Board earlier this spring at an R&D conference in Warsaw. I am pleased to participate on the board alongside a number of innovation and technology transfer thought leaders in the European Community and the United States.

Initially the journal will focus on case studies in Poland and the wider European Community, but issues are planned for 2017 that will feature innovation and technology transfer in the United States and North America.

Please take a minute to visit De Gruyter’s home page for Innovation & Impact. I encourage all my colleagues to submit papers and case studies for consideration, whether they be from Europe or the USA – or spanning both geographies.

Thank you all for taking the time to give Innovation & Impact a closer look! Please let me know if you have any questions and I will do my best to answer them. Or, I will put you in directly in touch with Grzegorz (Greg) or another member of the editorial staff depending on the nature of your inquiry.

Impact of Breakthrough Innovations on Design for Manufacturing and Assembly

June 27th, 2016

The first systematic breakthrough innovation technique was introduced to the world in the 1970s, but it was not until the 1990s that the body of knowledge began to take off.  Last year, 2015, marked what numerous people have called the twentieth anniversary of disruptive innovation – introduced to the world by Clayton Christensen in 1995. During the past two decades, many companies and makers have targeted the creation of new-to-the-world products. These efforts have resulted in a number of systematic approaches that are all disruptive in their own way.

GGI performed secondary research and identified nine techniques that have emerged in the past twenty years. Our scan covered a number of notable periodicals including: Harvard’s Harvard Business Review, The Economist’s Chief Financial Officer, MIT’s Sloan Management Review, IRI’s Research & Technology Management, IEEE’s Engineering Management Review, IEEE’s Transactions on Engineering Management, ASEM’s Engineering Management Journal, PDMA’s Journal of Product Innovation Management, PWC’s [formerly Booz’s] Strategy+Business, and other publications.

Breakthrough Innovation: Nine Techniques [Machine Design – May 2016] gives a one paragraph description of each technique and provides active links to selected sources and writings for the reader to explore.  Please note that since the May issue was published, we have added “Lead User Analysis” to the list of breakthrough techniques.  Lead User Analysis preceded Clayton Christensen’s writings by fifteen years, but it is nevertheless a breakthrough innovation technique.

In this article, published in the July 2016 issue of Machine Design, GGI researchers went a bit deeper to explore the impact(s) of these breakthrough innovation techniques on the time tested practice of “design for manufacturing and assembly [DFMA].” DFMA has been integral to the effective launch of most industrial and consumer products for the past five decades.

Our goal was to learn which breakthrough techniques might increase the importance of DFMA practices during development versus those with a neutral or lessening effect on this important body of knowledge.

Impact of Breakthrough Innovations on DFMA

This article is probably not a high priority read for most folks.  But if you are involved with the design and development of “new-to-X” products, and/or the transition of these products into manufacturing and then the marketplace, there is likely something of value to be derived from taking a few minutes to consider these thoughts.

Impact of Breakthrough Innovations on Design for Manufacturing and Assembly [Machine Design – July 2016] examines the differing effects that radical, disruptive, and breakthrough product initiatives may have on DFMA over time.

Breakthrough Innovation: 9 Techniques

April 20th, 2016

Last year, 2015, marked the twentieth anniversary of disruptive innovation – introduced to the world by Clayton Christensen in 1995.  Over the past two decades, many companies and makers have targeted the creation of new-to-the-world products.  This has resulted in a number of approaches that are all disruptive in their own way.  At this time, nine different techniques for achieving breakthrough innovation exist.

Breakthrough Innovation:  Nine Techniques

GGI performed secondary research to identify these nine techniques.  Our scan covered a number of notable periodicals including:  Harvard’s Harvard Business Review, The Economist’s Chief Financial Officer, MIT’s  Sloan Management Review, IRI’s Research & Technology Management, IEEE’s Engineering Management Review, IEEE’s Transactions on Engineering Management, ASEM’s Engineering Management Journal, PDMA’s Journal of Product Innovation Management,  PWC’s [formerly Booz’s] Strategy+Business, and other publications.

Breakthrough Innovation: Nine Techniques [Machine Design – May 2016] gives a one paragraph description of each technique and provides active links to selected sources and writings for the reader to explore.

South Korea & China Will Dominate TRIZ Practices

April 3rd, 2016

TRIZ is an innovation technique that professionals systematically apply according to a defined set of principles. Originally developed in Russia by Genrich Altshuller in the 1940s, TRIZ took a number of years to cross the ocean and become available in English. By the early 1990s, TRIZ gained a foothold in the U.S. and slowly began spreading globally from its Russia and USA “centers of excellence.” TRIZ is now practiced in at least 50 countries.

TRIZ is likely the most powerful innovation tool on the planet, and has been for the past twenty-five years. Altshuller set out to identify the common inventive principles that run across patents.  After examining a sample population of forty-thousand patents, he identified “76 Standard Inventive Solutions.”  As well, he found there are only “39 Characteristics That Technologists Seek To Optimize” and only “40 Inventive Principles To Optimize Characteristics.” Altshuller reduced many of the acts of innovating to a systematic process.

Rubbish you say?  Over the past twenty-five years others have analyzed larger sample sizes of up to two million patents. The new findings were not significant enough to change Altshuller’s published works.

Why hasn’t TRIZ become more prevalent at this time?  There are several possible reasons, and the answer is likely a combination of them.  With origins in Russia, and most of the world’s original experts coming from Russia, TRIZ didn’t hit western civilization with a running start.  The methodology is also complex.  Few westerners look at a rule-driven 39×40 matrix and want to dive in.  There is also a significant amount of time to learn the process to reasonable proficiency, about the same time it takes to become a six-sigma black belt.  And, until the past ten years, the priority across industries was supply chain optimization and operational excellence.  Innovation, in the big picture of time, is only recently at the top of the list – except for a blip in the late 1990s.

TRIZ is still not catching fire with western companies, but it is catching fire with eastern companies.  Very quietly, over the past decade, South Korean companies are rapidly adopting TRIZ.  Chinese companies are not far behind, and both groups are growing rapidly.

TRIZ Moves To South Korea and China

There are a handful of companies in the USA that each have hundreds of people practicing TRIZ.  That is a huge number.  Why haven’t we heard anything about it?  Because TRIZ is giving them a tremendous competitive advantage. Employees are discouraged to discuss the subject outside of the company, never mind to present their work at conferences.  TRIZ does not have a Jack Welsh that is going to get his company ahead first, then bring his best practices to the world.  Absent a Jack Welsh, TRIZ risks being just another tool in a long list of tools – except in Asia where its value is quickly being understood.

There are TRIZ-inspired designs all around us, but no one talks about it for competitive reasons.  If you have held one of those new water bottles that has a waistline and a much smaller cap, and uses half the plastic, you are holding a TRIZ-based design.  It seems a bit flimsy because we have become used to sturdy water bottles, but it stands the drop test like the cylindrical bottle with twice the plastic.  Imagine the cost reduction if you are a bottle manufacturer.  And, less water bottles slip out of one’s hand.  This thought process is now making its way into laboratories where dropping bottles can be a real problem.  The old fashioned cylindrical beaker, with the single lip at the very top, may eventually go the way of the dinosaur.

GGI has been following TRIZ, and its several manifestations in processes and logic engines for software, since the early 1990s. By the early 2000s, enough of Altshuller’s work had been translated and TRIZ became generally available to western companies.  In 2008, GGI researched the penetration of 67 innovation tools and included TRIZ.  Next to the usage of the USPTO web site and the use of internal wikis, TRIZ was the third most used technique of the 67 techniques we researched. The CTO of Invention Machine, one of the software companies with TRIZ underpinnings, had been speaking at GGI’s Summits since 2005 which continued until IHS in England purchased IM.

The Altshuller Institute for TRIZ Studies (Worcester, MA) found out about our research and our long-time interest in TRIZ about a year ago.  They invited us to keynote the annual USA TRIZCON2016 conference which was just held March 3-5, 2016 in New Orleans.  To prepare for TRIZCON2016, we performed original research on the global adoption of TRIZ since its translation into English twenty-five years ago.  We were told at the conference that our research was new-to-the-world, and was previously only anecdotally understood by a handful of people.

TRIZ Is Now Practiced In 50 Countries [Machine Design – April 2016] focuses on the rapid global adoption of TRIZ, which grew at a compounded annual growth rate of 40%, during the past decade.

Innovation For VUCA Times: 14th Summit

January 26th, 2016

While the VUCA global economy still presents challenges on a regular basis, North America and Europe are becoming more predictable and hence stable.  This past year, companies have regained some moxie to attempt higher levels of innovation.  If you have not yet been able to participate in our Innovation Summit, 2016 is likely a good year to consider doing so.

Incremental For A Decade

Robert Cooper’s research showed that spending on “New To-The-World/Market” was down 43.7% and spending on “New Product Lines” was down 30.1%, while spending on improvements and modifications was up 80.1% this past decade.  Bottom feeding will not go on forever.  Soon, your company will be increasing the risk of its new product portfolio spending.  Year-over-year cost reductions and productivity gains are no longer putting up enough numbers on Wall Street.  And, some of the new product directions will be surprising.  It is the internet age.

Last year was a banner year for the development of new metrics aimed at measuring overall levels of innovation.  New measures in this area are an indicator of the demand for innovation.  R&D Productivity and R&D Efficiency were introduced, and Research Quotient gained some momentum.  RQ is focused on measuring the right level of investment, versus measuring the results of investments.  Another good sign.

Disruptive Forces Grow

Since our first Summit in 2005, GGI has constantly refreshed our curriculum.  As we wrote you last year, only a few pages of our original course book remain today.   We were pleased that several of our long term colleagues, who attended our original Summits, registered again for our Summit last spring.  All went well.

Let’s pick one example of keeping current.  2015 marked the 20th anniversary of Clayton Christiansen’s first publication on Disruptive Innovation.  Back in 1995, we looked at cascading s-curves to describe the science of disruption.  We were left to figure out our own mechanics on how to get there.  Last year, GGI researched the evolving “how to disrupt” methods that are starting to take shape.  We don’t think every one of these techniques makes for winning products, but they all have backers and most have the potential to do so.  If an executive asked you to define a product that innovates from the bottom of the pyramid, are you ready to take the lead on that project?  How about one that produces a big bang, or a digical outcome?

•  Reverse Innovation
•  Bottom of Pyramid Innovation
•  Trickle-Up Innovation
•  Disruptive Innovation
•  Emerging Technology Innovation
•  Big Bang Innovation
•  Digical Innovation
•  Sustainable Innovation
•  Design Thinking
•  Ambidextrous Innovation

Managers Migrate Practices

Our Summit always maintains its focus on management’s ability to fund, deploy, train, implement, measure, and to get a financial result from the subjects that comprise each of the eight modules.  While we do discuss tools and tactics and the like, it is always from the perspective of a manager being able to direct and/or lead innovation initiatives.  If you manage budgets, departments, functions, people, or projects our Summits are quite useful.

Dick Power and I continue to lead the Summit.  Adam and Bill address a large module on intellectual property, focused on the ability to create the best offensive and defensive positions and on how to assess their value in dollars.  Richard takes us through the possibilities of TRIZ, perhaps the most powerful single innovation tool available.

Please join us, or suggest that a colleague join us, for an unbiased articulation of the innovation and intellectual property capabilities that are available to corporations today. Some have said, “GGI’s Summit is an executive MBA on Innovation in three days.”

Companies That Have Participated *** Comments From Summit Alumni

We hope you will join us, Tuesday to Thursday, March 29-31!  There is a Reception on Wednesday evening.  Thank you for considering our Summit!

Early Bird Rates for the 14th Innovation Summit end Friday January 29, 2016 at 8:00 PM EDT.

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