Innovation Engineering Fundamentals

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Companies competing with Innovation as their primary business strategy have an average 3-year profit margin that is over 50% higher compared to the profit margins of companies using a primary strategy of low cost, quick delivery, voice of the customer or high quality. Innovation Engineering provides a system that transforms innovation from a random art to a reliable system that delivers increased innovation speed (up to 6x) and decreased risk (30-80%).  VMEC Innovation Engineering workshops provide a sampling of the key basics of the Innovation Engineering mindset on how to CREATE, COMMUNICATE & COMMERCIALIZE Meaningfully Unique Ideas.

Check out this Innovation Engineering recording from our summer 2021 Noontime Knowledge series. 

The Innovation Engineering workshops are taught using the Cycles to MasteryTM teaching system.  It’s a proven system of learning that has been found in new University of Maine research to be 4 times more effective than classic methods of teaching. This Innovation Engineering workshop covers 6 of the 48 Skills that make up the Innovation Engineering Body of Knowledge.   You will learn innovative thinking skills that can be applied in your daily work with problem solving, process improvement, and new product or service offerings.

CREATE:  Here you learn the new mindset that creates a 6x increase in the number of high quality ideas versus classic “brainstorming.”  It features a special focus on how to enable active learning from customer insights, marketplace benchmarking, technology and future mining.  And, how to leverage a collaboration mindset to create an exponential increase in effectiveness.

COMMUNICATE:   Innovation Engineering Communicate skills are a new “outside in” thinking approach that doubles your odds of success by turning sales and marketing into a customer pull system.  It also provides a simple way for focusing and clarifying ideas so that everyone – from front line worker to the CEO – can speak the same language.

COMMERCIALIZE:  Innovation Engineering Commercialize skills are a transformation in how to reduce innovation risk.   Instead of attempting to “plan, study and study away risk” you learn the new Fail FAST Fail CHEAP™ approach.  It’s a modern and accelerated version of the classic Deming learning cycle of “Plan, Do, Study, Act” applied to innovation.

Read below what a few IEF attendees stated about their experience: 

“In my day-to-day work and personal life, I would consider myself a thinker. I am constantly thinking about how to make something simpler or easier to use, or how to improve something. My brain is often just a mess of ideas and thoughts.  Since the Innovation Engineering course, I have begun to write some of these further developed ideas and thoughts down on paper, a sticky note, or even a note on my phone. I think I really got the most out of the Mind Mapping portion of the course. To be able to take one simple idea and sit down and brainstorm other ideas and watch that initial idea grow and become something unique is rather eye opening. Even if this initial idea is not the idea you run with in the end, it plays into that end goal of a wildly unique idea.  In the engineering world, more things remain ideas and thoughts than become a reality. With these tools, I hope to be able to push more of these ideas to become wildly unique reality.”
– Colin Derby, Manufacturing Engineer, Mack Molding (referring to his December 2021 Innovation Engineering Fundamentals with Blue Belt certification training experience)

“What I found surprising is that there are environments, which not only allow, but also encourage “Fail Fast, Fail Cheap”. In my engineering schooling and work experience, it has always been the mission to be slow and methodical in our approach to solving problems. Speed was seldom the end goal. I see now that just because we were going slowly, it did not necessarily mean we were going to get the correct answer right every time. Instead, with the “Fail Fast, Fail Cheap” methodology, we are able to have multiple rounds of learning and stimulus mining to come up with the best idea sooner than traditional methods.”
– Tyler Wright, Manufacturing Engineer, Mack Molding (referring to his December 2021 Innovation Engineering Fundamentals with Blue Belt certification training experience) 

“There are many things that surprised me about this course, and about taking the tools back to my product development group. I found when using the blue and yellow card process for projects both big and small, we ended up with ideas that people were really excited about, because they knew the mission, and they understood how each idea could solve a problem. I was surprised at every turn that what seemed like more structure actually gave us more freedom. We all had fun mind mapping, and learned a lot from stimulus mining in unexpected and unrelated fields. It gave these projects a sense of purpose and helped everyone understand our goals better. Thank you for a great class!”
– Kate Brown, Innovation + Product Development Manager, Lake Champlain Chocolate Company (referring to her December 2021 Innovation Engineering Fundamentals with Blue Belt certification training experience)

“When I was told about this class by my boss, I was skeptical at first. I had never heard of Innovation Engineering before. Once I showed up to the first class, I did not know what to expect. After completing the class, I was more than surprised.  The Plan, Do, Study, Act section of the class was what stayed with me the most. Before, I would tend to act first on things without actually planning out what I was going to do. I would act, and then plan out what to do once I saw what my actions had done. Now, I plan out what I want to do before anything else, which helps me with the bigger picture of the problem.  All in all, this class has helped me take a different approach on things in life, whether it be planning out a project that I am working on at work, or even what my upcoming weekend plans look like.”
– Caleb White, Manufacturing Engineer, Mack Molding (referring to his December 2021 Innovation Engineering Fundamentals with Blue Belt certification training experience)

The workshop concludes with a brief presentation and discussion on how to bring it all together using the Innovation Engineering Management System.  Please plan to bring a laptop, tablet, or smart phone to the workshop, as you will need to conduct searches on the internet.