How To Innovate: Experiment! (It’s Not Just For Scientists)
“Innovation is creativity with a job to do.”
Creativity is an infinite adventure—especially with technology moving faster than anyone could have imagined only a decade ago.
You’ve heard this adage for decades: Time-to-market is the means to success. But these days, the windows of opportunity are decreasing—and getting close to zero.
At the same time, there are new technology and new design models that dramatically change the way businesses are innovating.
Experimentation Isn’t Just For Scientists Anymore
Prototyping—or development experimentation—is the best way to keep innovation moving at today’s competitive pace. Scientists have been using the experimental method for centuries.
But cost and time have been considered barriers to innovation. In the not-so-distant past, traditional development life cycles included research, consulting work, and numerous studies. But at what cost?
All this added up to a lot of time consumed, with large budgets to support the effort. True innovation was something that could take years.
Today, those traditional methods are quickly becoming history. What was formerly referred to as “shadow IT” experimentation—often frowned on by management—is now mainstream.
Why? There’s been a fundamental shift in development models, facilitated by flexible solutions using cloud services. These solutions not only foster creativity, but also open the door to innovation.
Being able to play out some “what if” scenarios results in agility that was unimaginable a few years ago.
Everything Is Software- And Data-Driven
Through a combination of flexible cloud services and technologies such as 3D printing, prototyping can be a much more cost effective and timely means to innovation.
But is your company culture ready for the shift? The beauty of agile software design experimentation, coupled with physical components, requires a change in process, skill and—most importantly—mindset.
Bruce Rogers recently wrote that 2015 will be the year that 3D-printing goes mainstream. Rogers shares insights into the 3D printing evolution, noting Amazon as a leading adopter, with its recent offering of a 3D printing marketplace.
Here in Europe, a great example of innovation speed and consumer reach is how Porsche outsources component design for improved performance and time to market. Traditional manufacturing of parts is taking a back seat to new, innovative approaches.
Another way Porsche is expanding its innovation portfolio is by providing consumers with the ability to create custom miniature versions of their lineup—in effect allowing them to become adjunct design engineers themselves.
This new style of innovation opens the door between traditional engineering design, and the consumers who use the products. The result: happier customers who feel they have been part of the process.
Each of these examples relies on flexible solutions and speed of delivery. And it’s the same with cloud: Cloud services offer anyone—including design teams—the ability to quickly bring their ideas to life, in a minimal investment, low risk manner.
So what’s the benefit to your business? Time-to-market can now be a matter of weeks, instead of months or years.
3 Steps To A Culture Of Innovation
What does all this mean for your company’s innovation? And how do you ensure smooth transitions, while achieving these results?
Here are three ideas:
1. Develop a culture of “fast fail.” Companies that are steeped in traditional processes are often risk-adverse, and reluctant to step outside the line to try new ideas for fear of failure.
2. Enable your teams, with a moderate budget for experimentation—just enough to allow them to explore the cloud offerings available.
3. Encourage your team, with fun game methods—rewarding those that took the most risk.
The Bottom Line
What I’ve witnessed in Europe and the rest of the world tells me innovation is a game worth playing, and we have the technology tools to play well.
Encourage your teams to have fun in this new realm of creative exploration.
Watch: Manfred interviewed in Berlin
Источник статьи: www.forbes.com