An interesting info-graphic from one of my suppliers.
Funny how many engineering solutions either stem from nature or have already been solved by mother nature herself.
In any brainstorm / thought cloud session ideas come thick and fast if you have the right cross discipline team involved from the start. The hard work then comes with filtering these ideas down, this can by done by breaking each thought / idea down into a category.
In the main ideas fall into 4 categories when relating them to business & sales;
Business Added Value – This is something that would get us more sales or reduce the cost in manpower / materials or time, but the customer doesn’t see any added benefit.
Customer Added Value – This is something that the customer sees as an improvement to the product either through design / cost or lead time, but it may cost the company more in manpower or materials.
Lose/Lose – This is something that falls into costing the business more money & reduces the customer perception of the product (Avoid at all costs)
Win/Win – This is an idea that will speed up production / reduce costs to the business, bring more sales & the customer sees the added value of the product with an improved perception (This is the ideal scenario)
There will always be certain points of cross over but as long as you aim to improve perception or reduce costs it will ultimately bring more sales & profits to the business.
I’ll start once again with an image I’m sure many of you have seen.
This with some artistic license is indicative of how a project can end up without a decent specification at the start or a specification from only one persons view.
It also demonstrates the need for a cross discipline team when starting out the innovation stage. More often than not companies place a specification into a design & development department and let them have free reign. Where as a designer this can be liberating to have all of that freedom it can ultimately lead you down a personalised design path.
By getting a cross disciplined team together at the start even down to having the customer represented on the panel, as a designer you will benefit from the combined knowledge & ideas. This will enable you to get through the “bad” ideas sooner by adopting the Fail Often & Fail Quickly approach to the early design stages. This cross discipline panel can not just bring ideas but give real life reasons why certain ideas cannot be done and save a designer from disappearing down the rabbit hole for months.
This is a big shift in mindset for many designers who like to have full creative control of a project, from start to finish, but to really avoid that first image & the image below we all need to act as one team with one goal which is making the customer happy which can only lead to more sales & profit for your companies at the end of the day.
I leave you with this final image, another one all too many designers will empathise with, but stepping back if we had the joined up input at the start we could avoid it (well most of it anyway)
With a career based around engineering and design for the last 20 years I have seen all sorts of technologies & techniques come and go. The scariest for big businesses with established models is the thought that a newcomer can come in with an idea that in the past would have been laughed out of the board room by big business is taken hold of by a start up and turned into its own big business.
We’ve all seen images like the following & if you wound back 5/10 years at any of the businesses they went up against the ideas would have seemed ridiculous.
There is a new wave of ideas coming into all of our industries and if you’re a big business you need to be prepared to not just defend but attack with your own disruptions, gone are the days of large incumbents crushing young upstart companies, these small companies are becoming the big companies of the future.
Businesses like Blockbuster & Kodak didn’t take the disruptive companies seriously enough until it was too late as they were big incumbents and ultimately paid the price.
As businesses we now have 2 choices;