Innovation Engineering Overview
Purpose: Innovation Engineering transforms innovation from a random event into a reliable system, a scientific system, for profitable growth. It accomplishes this by creating a culture of never ending innovation within organizations that delivers increased innovation speed (up to 6x) and decreased risk (30 to 80%).
What it is: Innovation Engineering is a new field of academic study and industrial practice based on a body of knowledge comprised of 48 skills. It is a multi-disciplinary field blending the humanities, engineering, business, and patent law. The program is lead by the Innovation Engineering Institute, an alliance between the Eureka! Ranch and the University of Maine.
Results & Reason for Optimism: We recognize that it will take time to create the transformation of mindset required to flip companies, colleges, and countries from a culture of “reactive” cost cutting to one of “proactive” technology and driven profitability. We also recognize that we are just starting the journey and have had a number of “firsts” in the past twenty years. The first quantitative research project to turn innovation from an art into a science was conducted in 1991. During the fall 2005 semester, the University of Maine taught the first Innovation Engineering course. Four years later, the first Innovation Engineering course was taught at additional colleges and universities. The first Innovation Engineering Leadership Institute, a three-day executive education program for companies, was in January 2010. Finally, the first Innovation Engineering Black Belt certification was held during the summer of 2011. Over the past two decades, all of these “firsts” have led us down a path of creating a program designed to reignite a culture of innovation.
Innovation Engineering is a new field of study and there is much to learn. With that being said, data from the past few years gives us reason for optimism. Our primary metric for evaluating effectiveness is the valuation of the projects, both generated and in process, within the innovation pipeline. Pipeline valuation is used because, as the Journal of Product Innovation Management and others report, it takes an average of 24 months for an innovation that represents a 50% change versus existing offerings to go from development to launch. The total timeline from idea discovery to one year of sales increases timing to 3.5 years.
The Innovation Engineering movement has the advantage of real time data and marketplace feedback that has never before been available for academic review. The Innovation Engineering Labs online portal data, pertaining to the innovation pipeline, includes documentation of: customer, problem, benefit promise, product/service proof, the sales forecast (with documentation of assumptions), key death threats and learning plans. Analysis of current data from IELabs.com gives us reason for optimism for the Innovation Engineering field of study.
Innovation Engineering has helped accelerate $4.1 Billion worth of ideas into Innovation Pipelines for Companies
This data is from client projects in Innovation Engineering Labs.com This represents approximately 70,000 jobs based on a model developed by the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness from US MEA, US Economic Census and Economic Modeling Specialists Inc. Most importantly, according to research by Georgia Tech University, innovation driven jobs are value-added, paying up to 50% more per employee.
250% Improvement in Innovation Success Curve
The most encouraging data on improvement is that which we are seeing in the “innovation success curve.” Stevens and Burley detailed in Research and Technology Management the benchmarks for current industry. Comparing these benchmarks against the project distribution in Innovation Engineering Labs we find a 250% improvement in the development success rate with the Innovation Engineering system. This is consistent with the 300% improvement predicted by Robert Cooper of McMaster University, when there is clarity of the innovation before the start of development – which is exactly what Innovation Engineering is designed to do.
15,000+ Managers Taught & 70,000 Engagements Each Month via IELabs.com:
Over 1,500 companies and 15,000 managers have been educated in all or part of the Innovation Engineering system. Among the core community of Innovation Engineering Black Belts (350+), over 10,000 times a year they are helping each other through the Innovation Engineering Labs request platform and Black Belt blog. Collectively, the IELabs.com website gets 70,000 page views a month by IE Black Belts and innovation project teams.
The Innovation Challenge & Opportunity
A survey of 7,000+ company leaders found that 85% spent their time primarily on “reactive” actions and only 15% were proactive focused on innovation. Innovation Engineering surveys find that companies that are proactive in orientation are significantly more successful.