The Evolution of an Innovation Engineer
Over the past 25 years, I have developed a data-driven management methodology that I call innovation engineering.
It is based on a simple idea.
You set an ambitious, sky-high goal. Then you systematically engineer a way to achieve it.
This approach has helped me achieve breakthrough results in variety of settings—from a union factory and a multi-billion-dollar business services organization to a regional homebuilder and one of the biggest banks in the country.
Four (4) Real World Case Studies
- In the factory, we improved our profitability and delivery times while reducing the 10% injury rate to zero. [The Factory Case Study]
- In the services organization, we saved 30 of 31 at-risk accounts, preserved $86 million in annual revenue, and improved our overall retention rate to 90%. 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 Business Services Leader Case Study]
- For one of the biggest banks in the country, we helped lead a customer-focused cultural transformation that resulted in four million net new checking accounts and $77 billion in new deposits. [The Bank Case Study]
- And for a regional division of a national homebuilder, 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 60% of nationwide sales. [The Homebuilder Case Study]
In each tour of duty, I faced a different set of challenges and an entirely different industry. And in each assignment, I learned new tools and techniques that helped me crystallize my ideas and evolve as a leader.
Rock Solid Foundation
Of course, much of my approach is built on a rock-solid foundation: the great quality movement that has produced revolutionary programs like Leadership Through Quality, Just In Time Manufacturing, Lean and Six Sigma.
That’s why I place a high value on data analysis, benchmarking, predictive lift modeling, Pareto Charts, balanced scorecards, decision tree brainstorming, and the identification of the specific factors—the key drivers—that have the biggest impact on results.
But my approach also emphasizes decisiveness, levelheaded pragmatism, and a true commitment to the principle of employee engagement.
The simple fact is, the best data-driven strategy and tactics in the world don’t go very far unless you have inspired and empowered the people who run your business to put them into action each and every day.
All of these elements have an important role in innovation engineering. And the stories in this case history compilation—which is an excerpt from my book in progress—show how they come together to produce the targeted innovations organizations need to generate breakthrough results.