How Innovation Engineering will help your business
By: John Ferris
What comes to your mind when you think of innovation?
Generally, most people define innovation as being an idea that’s creative or unique. But defined that way, an innovation could also be useless:
What’s Innovation Engineering?
With Innovation Engineering (IE), we define innovation as an idea or solution that’s meaningfully unique, which means that it’s something people or businesses need, but no one is doing it. Frankly, it’s cool stuff that matters. At the end of the day, customers will pay more for it or companies can run more efficiently because of it.
But how do you make innovation happen? Isn’t it just for someone who’s gifted, like Steve Jobs, or for the product development department?
How does Innovation Engineering work?
With IE, everyone, everywhere can innovate every day. Using education, tools and mentoring, IE teaches how to:
Generate meaningfully unique ideas that will take advantage of key opportunities in the company or will help solve a problem – this is the idea generation portion of innovation.
Clearly identify the customer, the customer’s problem, and the promises you’re making to solve that problem. These are important contributors to successful innovation.
Rigorously test ideas with math models, rapid cycles of learning, and sales projection tools before they reach the market. We also identify “death threats” that could get in the way of successfully launching the innovation and address them head on before they ever become a problem.
Each step of IE refines, evolves and strengthens the innovation.
Working with a diverse group of employees (usually 6-10), a cross functional team participates in fast-paced innovation projects over the course of a few months. The project takes them through the Create, Communicate and Commercialize stages until they have an innovation with a confident business case based on data, learning, costs, forecast and recommendations.
How National Leasing used Innovation Engineering
I’ve helped National Leasing with Innovation Engineering for the last couple of years. The company has a strong history of innovation. It created FastCredit™, its proprietary software for instant credit adjudication, but it wanted to push innovation further.
National Leasing is a big company with diverse roles. To start, we created a team comprised of experts from different departments, including the executive level. The team set out on Create, Communicate and Commercialize phases to solve a problem: how could it make equipment leasing and financing easier and faster for its equipment dealer partners?
These phases generated plenty of ideas and products but the best was an online tool that allows equipment dealers to generate equipment finance quotes in seconds and review its customer portfolios. After rigorous in-house development, the company created National Leasing Interactive, and the company’s partners are adopting the tool at an impressive rate.
The most rewarding part for us at inVision Edge, is when IE participants tell us they now see the world in a different way. They develop skills they can use in their day-to-day job responsibilities, and they’re often inspired to do things in new and different ways.
"A huge benefit we get from IE is the systems approach to innovating and how it leverages the diverse people within our organization," said National Leasing Director, Strategy and New Business Research Sandy Rozecki. "The knowledge sharing and energy gained from these teams helped spawn the idea for National Leasing Interactive, and now we’ve made financing even faster and easier for our equipment dealers."
As National Leasing uses IE to drive an innovative culture, we look forward to seeing the amazing things it will do next.
Your company’s eureka moment, more often
Innovation Engineering adds a structured approach to consistent innovation and business improvements. You’ll have eureka moments more often without the unstructured guesswork of usual brainstorming. That means an improved customer experience and a better bottom line for your business.