“Innovation is the specific tool of entrepreneurs . . . It is capable of being presented as a discipline, capable of being learned, capable of being practiced.”
When Hank Shaw and I started writing The Perpetual Innovation Machine, colleagues would ask us why we chose to call the management methodology we describe in the book as “innovation”. After all, the way many companies innovate today is by:
- waiting for an Aha! Moment to arrive
- engaging in pure research and spending a small fortune discovering fascinating things that may or may not have any impact on your business
- stealing a page from leading-edge corporations by copying their innovations, or
- acquiring innovation by buying another company
But we viewed innovation as something that could be built into a corporate culture. As an engineer by training (and a fan of Peter Drucker), I believe in objective truth, the scientific method, and disciplined data driven processes that produce predictable results. That’s the intellectual framework that gives ordinary human beings the ability to close the gap between the earth and moon or construct a building that rises a half mile in the sands of Dubai.
That same intellectual framework can be applied in any business setting to improve performance by better than 20% on an annual basis. In The Perpetual Innovation Machine, we share a streamlined management methodology based on daring goals, skillful data analysis, highly focused innovation development, dynamic leadership, and an inspiring approach to employee engagement. It’s not a theoretical model. It is based on an approach that has helped me achieve breakthrough results in a variety of settings: a union factory, a multi-billion-dollar business services organization, a regional division of a national homebuilder, and one of the largest banks in the country.
- The Factory Case Study, we improved our profitability and delivery times while reducing the ten percent injury rate to zero.
- The Business Services Leader Case Study, we saved thirty of thirty-one at-risk accounts and increased our overall retention rate to ninety percent. At the same time, we inspired our employees to adopt a new sense of professionalism that raised employee satisfaction to the highest level in the company.
- The Bank Case Study in the country, we helped lead a customer-focused cultural transformation that resulted in four million net new checking accounts and billions in new deposits.
- And The Homebuilder Case Study, we found new ways to reduce construction costs while unleashing the full potential of a long overlooked market . . . a market that would eventually account for sixty percent of nationwide sales.
So if you truly want to move to the head of the pack and stay there, you need to find a reliable engine of innovation that can help you make one breakthrough after another. When that engine is running at full speed you can reach that gratifying moment when, instead of chasing others, you will know that others are chasing you.